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#8 Handicap Parking Permit and Restaurants

Millie and her friends love to go out to eat. Millie can’t drive, but she carries a handicap parking permit. Any time she is in the car, her friends can hang the permit on the rear-view mirror and park in the handicap spaces.

The procedure to get the permit varies from state to state. Either ask your doctor or check with the local police department to find out how to obtain an application in your state. Some doctors have the applications in their offices. The Department of Motor Vehicles also has the applications. It is necessary to ask the doctor to fill out and sign the portion that certifies disability. Then submit the application by mail or in person.

In restaurants, (as well as at home), well lit tables work the best for Millie. When helping Millie navigate to a table, it is best to offer your elbow for her to hold. This is easier than holding her arm and trying to steer her in the right direction.

Millie carries a magnifying glass for the menu. It’s helpful to ask what she’s hungry for and then read the available selections. She often orders finger food. This is the easiest to manage. By the way, magnifying glasses with lights are helpful.

If Millie knows her food will need to be cut (salads especially), she sometimes asks the server to bring her food already cut up. When out to eat with Millie, it helps her if you  identify where her food is on the plate. Using the image of a clock, “Your beef is at 12 o’clock, your potatoes are at 4 o’clock, and your beans are at 8 o’clock. The small white round dish to the left of your plate is the gravy on the side you ordered.” With this kind of help Millie doesn’t have to take a bite of food and guess what she’s eating.

I must insert a little joke here that Millie likes to tell. We had stopped at a restaurant on an interstate to get something to eat and make a potty stop. Millie was walking with one hand on her white cane and the other holding my husband’s elbow.

As we approached the car, in a loud voice Millie asked, “Is it my turn to drive?” Those people around us who heard her looked in amazement and shock. I told Millie people were wondering if she might be serious. You wouldn’t believe the laughter this produced.

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