Journal of the American Medical Association study reveals new consumer attitudes
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – June 20, 2013 – According to a study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in March 2013 (http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1568518), baby boomers are twice more likely to use assistive walking devices than the generation before them. These individuals, who may have disabilities or simply be “slow walkers,” also make up a significant part of the $13.6 billion per year accessible travel segment and $192 billion mature adult/slow walker segment, the fastest-growing market segments in travel.
“Today, the ability to use an assistive walking device is easier than ever, and it’s accepted more than at any other time in history,” said Andrew Garnett, president and CEO of Special Needs Group www.specialneedsgroup.com . “These devices can not only help travelers to realize their travel aspirations, but tremendously enhance their ability to enjoy life in general. Most importantly, individuals who once thought travel was only a dream can now turn their dreams into realities.”
With the help of organizations such as Special Needs Group, SATH (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality), and CLIA (Cruise Line International Association), the travel industry has made great strides in accommodating individuals who use assistive walking devices. Baby boomers, whose travel dreams may not have reached fruition had they been part of the previous generation, now have the ability to travel the world without barriers, thanks to these devices and advancements:
· Advancements in technology. During the years when baby boomers’ parents started developing walking disabilities due to age, etc., the technology/products available today simply didn’t exist. Comfortable and easy-to-use scooters, wheelchairs, powerchairs, beach wheelchairs, Rollators and more assistive walking devices have been introduced only in the past few decades.
· The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law just 23 years ago in 1990. This law, which established a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability, has allowed American society to change its mindset with regard to special needs.
· Since the ADA’s inception, there have been significant changes within the travel industry including accessibility across the fleet for cruise ships, including foreign-flagged vessels carrying U.S. passengers; plus more ramps, railings and grab bars in public venues. A deepening respect and higher level of acceptance for all forms of ability differences have occurred.
· The “stigma” of using assistive walking devices is disappearing. Today, with advanced technology and wider acceptance of individuals with disabilities, the use of assistive walking devices is a normal, every-day occurrence.
Over 1,200 travel professionals worldwide are certified SNG Accessible Travel Advocates™ and are equipped with knowledge and resources to effectively serve travelers with disabilities and special needs.
Information on the SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate™ program can be found at https://www.specialneedsatsea.com/certification-program . Registration and the Certification program are free.
About Special Needs Group, Inc.
Special Needs Group, Inc. is the leading global provider of wheelchair rentals, scooter rentals, oxygen rentals and other special needs equipment rentals. It also offers a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase. Recommended by the world’s major cruise lines for superior service and value, Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. Special Needs Group is the only mobility and oxygen equipment supplier that is approved to deliver to all major cruise lines.
Special Needs Group is the travel industry’s only total special needs travel solution. It is located at 302 NW 1st Street, Dania Beach, FL 33004. For more information, visit www.specialneedsgroup.com or call 1-800-513-4515.