Know Your Rights! The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) & Older People

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Why is the ADA important for older people?

Getting older offers both opportunities and challenges. While you may have more free time than ever before, you may also start experiencing physical changes that can make it harder for you to get around or enjoy activities like you used to. Fortunately, ADA laws have brought about changes in the last 25 years that help people take part in all aspects of life regardless of their age or physical condition.

How does the ADA help?

Run into a problem?

While the ADA and other civil rights laws give people with disabilities rights and create obligations for organizations. They don’t always get implemented the way that they should. The ADA National Network provides information on how and where to file complaints when someone refuses to accommodate your customers either in the community or while at work.

Accessible parking means that you can reserve your energy for the fun stuff once you get to where you are going.

Clear, wide paths without stairs ensure that no matter how you get around these days (a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair), you can easily get where you want to go with more confidence.

No more heavy doors mean you can more easily open a door if you have arthritis or use a cane for extra balance.

Older people represent 14.5% of the U.S. population, or about 1 in every 7 Americans. By 2040, this age group is expected to increase to 21.7%. Administration on Aging, 2016

Going to a show? If you can no longer hear as well as you used to, theatres offer assisted listening devices to help! A percentage of these devices must be hearing aid compatible so you can still enjoy the show.

Entrances and aisles have to be wide enough so that you are less likely to run into stuff due to overcrowding in stores when you can’t see as well as you used to.

Precise directional and informational signage in high contrast colors with clear, large type and good lighting is easier to navigate in today’s giant stores.

"Accessibility allows us to tap into everyone’s potential.” Debra Ruh, CEO Ruh Global Communication

Accessible printed materials that use large, clear type, in high contrast colors on solid backgrounds means that you’ll be able to read them even if you don’t see as well as you used to.

Websites designed to be visually accessible and easy to understand means enhanced comfort level and improved online shopping experience for web users.

Want to know more about how the ADA can support full participation in the community?

Contact the ADA National Network at | 1.800.949.4232

Content was developed by the Northeast ADA Center and is based on professional consensus of ADA experts and the ADA National Network.

Yang-Tan Institute at Cornell University

The contents of this factsheet were developed under grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant numbers 90DP0088 and 90DP0086). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this factsheet do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

© Copyright 2017 ADA National Network. All Rights Reserved.
May be reproduced and distributed freely with attribution to ADA National Network (