When I worked as a Program Director at a summer camp, I dreaded the moment during a staff meeting when someone started talking about how bad the bathroom was (usually the boys) when THEY found it or it was THEIR turn to clean it. It only prompted someone else to be ‘inspired’ to tell their experience of how bad it was once for THEM….and you can only imagine!
What I am reminded of again and again is how difficult it can be as a family caregiver who is of the opposite gender to find a bathroom in public that allows them to be in there together. Have you had this experience?
I know of a caregiver whose loved one wandered off into a parking lot after they had both used the bathroom at a large box store - large store, small town - and someone said they had seen him in the parking lot and she found him quickly.
Recently a caregiver told me she had told her husband, after he asked her to come in the men’s room with him at an event - “you know I’m not allowed in there, you will have to come out with your pants undone if you need help.” She did NOT mean to be cruel; I think she felt helpless in the face of imposed ‘rules’ on bathroom usage.
Recently, when discussing this with a colleague she told me this was her favorite sign related to bathroom use:
Have you figured out how to do this? Do you know which of your favorite stores and restaurants have family bathrooms? What would you suggest to a business or company - especially a place you frequent or would like to frequent - to make things easier for you? (As they say with a wink on social media, asking for a friend…)
What sign would you post? Do you care if you are using the bathroom and someone of the opposite gender is in there?
YMCA’s are known for a family locker room - everyone is fully clothed in the public areas, and changing rooms and showers are available in individual locking rooms. BIG rooms. Many places are adding changing tables in men’s restrooms to reflect that so many Dad’s are out and about with their kids. Many businesses do regularly have Family restrooms, and restaurants being savvy about their small spaces are using gender neutral/all gender bathrooms. (Any woman ever crash the men’s bathroom at a concert/sporting event because of the LINES????)
I encourage you to ASK the business you frequent for help for yourself and your caregivers in making bathrooms accessible to you! And honestly, give me your bathroom testimonial and let’s see how we can work together to make this world a better place for all of us!