July 26 is National Disability Independence Day. On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. One of the most important civil rights bills ever passed, this landmark law prohibits discrimination against people who have a disability. The law guarantees the right of persons with disabilities to access transportation, employment, education, buy goods and services, and participate in programs and services run by state and local governments. The law is important because it allows people who have disabilities to participate more fully in American society.
While the passage of the ADA did a lot to ensure equity and social justice for people with disabilities, there is still work to do to reduce the barriers that people with disabilities face. While some disabilities are evident just by looking at someone, many disabilities are invisible. It is important that we recognize that not all disabilities are obvious and that we support those in our lives with obvious and non-obvious disabilities.
Disability Independence Month and the ADA are particularly important for the older adult community because so many older adults in our community have disabilities. Approximately 46% percent of older adults worldwide have a disability. Contra Costa Senior Legal Services supports seniors with disabilities. From July 2021 to June 2022, 352 out of 800 (44%) seniors that we served, had a disability. We prepare Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directives to help seniors plan for the future, including for their medical needs. We can also help seniors request reasonable accommodations from their landlords to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to use and enjoy their rental unit. Contact Contra Costa Senior Legal Services at (925) 609-7900 to learn more about our services.