Nobody's Perfect - There's an (accessible) app for that

Written by Sister Karen Zielinski, OSF. Posted in Taking Care of Your Life

What did we do before technology helped us do so many things? We order food, read books, listen to music, and do a number of daily activities using the apps on our smartphones. Besides medical apps, which manage our blood pressure and help us keep track of our steps and diet, there are a few more that help with our everyday lives.

Many of us have had virtual medical appointments. I met my doctor on my iPad. I was satisfied with the appointment, although I looked forward to the time I could meet her in person at the office. I missed having her check me out physically. Although meeting with our healthcare professionals in person is the best (we need to get our teeth cleaned or our toenails clipped at the office), many health conditions can be handled through technology.

Several phone apps help with maintaining our health. We can check our steps, diet, glucose levels, and heart status. The apps are quite accurate and amazing, and the information collected from them can be stored and shared with our doctors, too.

But there are other apps that help make daily living a little easier for those with mobility challenges. Phone apps can help find handicapped parking at restaurants or stores, identify accessible bathrooms, or help managing medications. Although the apps are not perfect and might not contain all the updated accessible information, users are encouraged to add current updates as they experience them. If a person sees that a restaurant has accessible bathrooms that were not on an app, they can tell the app what they found. Gradually, the app gets better through the updates.

The following are a few accessible apps. Try them out.

Wheelmate

This free interactive app helps users locate accessible restrooms and parking. The app offers users an overview of the nearest resources to help plan their day. It currently has 35,000 locations across 45 countries.

WheelMap

This interactive map helps users find wheelchair-accessible locations. Just like Wikipedia, anyone can contribute and mark places that are accessible. It offers a color-coded scale:

Green—fully wheelchair accessible

Yellow—partly wheelchair accessible

Red—not wheelchair accessible

Gray—location not yet rated

AccessNow

This app is designed to share accessibility information on businesses all over the world. Users can filter a map by categories such as a restaurant, hotel, or store. There is color coding for accessibility:

Green—accessible

Yellow—partially accessible

Red—not accessible

Be My Eyes

This free app connects blind and low-vision users with sighted volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call. Through the call, the user and volunteer are able to communicate directly and solve a problem.

FuelService

This app tell users which nearby fuel stations have assistants who can help refuel their car. The app is able to call and ask the station if they can help. Once the user has arrived, FuelService informs the attendant that they are there.

MediSafe Pill Reminder

With Medisafe, users get reminders for each medication to keep them safe and in control. It helps users manage and take their medication on time. Users are also able to give family, friends, and caregivers access to be alerted if they miss a medication.

Mobility Works

Mobility Works is a nationwide leader in adaptive solutions, accessible vehicles, and mobility equipment. The app allows users to find accessible rental vehicles, products, hotel rooms, and events when traveling.

iAccess Life

iAccess Life is a handicapped-accessible phone app that allows users with disabilities to share their experiences at businesses. Ratings are given on the entrance, bathroom, interior, and parking. Users can rate, review, and search based on their accessibility rating from other users.

There are more apps available. Some are just being developed and get better as users add their experiences. Most are available on iPhone or android format. Try a few—some might really be helpful.

Sister Karen Zielinski is the Director of Canticle Studio. Canticle Studio is a part of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, OH’s overall advancement effort and has a mission of being a creative center where artists generate works, products, and services in harmony with the mission of the Sisters of St. Francis. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 419-824-3543.