Priority for people with disabilities and the elderly at banks

Starting from next Monday, September 25th, people with disabilities and individuals aged 75 and older will be served with priority at the bank branches’ counters.

Special signs for this specific change are already in place at the bank service areas, and this adjustment will come into effect next week through legislative regulation.

In particular, it is noted that the member banks of the Association of Banks in Cyprus, in compliance with the provisions of Law 9(I)/2023, which stipulates priority service in customer service areas for specific population groups, will provide priority service to individuals with disabilities and individuals aged 75 and older in their branches. Relevant informational signs have been posted prominently in the customer service areas of the member banks’ branches.

It is further reported that the aforementioned legislative provision applies to both public and private businesses serving the public and requires a designated waiting queue. At the same time, it is noted that most banks have already implemented this measure for some time, in an effort to provide better and more immediate service to vulnerable population groups, for whom waiting can be detrimental to their health.

Source: Φilenews

Talking to children about disabilities

The chapter on “disability” is large, and it might be challenging to explain to children. It requires patience and delicate handling. Why someone is disabled, what this means for them and those around them, how it happened, and why, how they feel, and how different their life is – these are all important questions to address.

And ultimately, how should we behave towards them, differently or “normally”? Children have a natural curiosity and often express thoughts and words without filtering them. It’s important to discuss the topic of disabilities with them and help them better understand that there are people around us who speak, behave, or move a little differently.

People with special abilities. This could even apply to our own child who might wonder why they are not like the other children. It’s important to recognize and emphasize that being different is not a bad thing; quite the opposite. However, we should teach our children not to use words that belittle, single out, or target a person to describe their disability. Apart from being impolite, it lacks understanding and empathy. Just as our child is hurt when they are teased, spoken to rudely, or targeted, the same goes for other children and adults.

The points to emphasize when explaining to your child what a disability is or what it means are:

  1. Some people are born with disabilities, or they may experience an injury or accident during their lifetime and may not return to their previous state.
  2. A physical disability does not automatically mean a cognitive disability! Make it clear to children that someone’s body may be different, but their mind, thoughts, and emotions remain alert.

People with disabilities are not sick, and in no case is this “difference” contagious.

Explain to children that sometimes people with disabilities may use special equipment. They might have a wheelchair, crutches, wear hearing aids, etc.

Show them the designated parking spots, specially designed sidewalks, and support bars. Teach children that we should respect these places a little more, and in no case should we exploit them, violate them, or block access with our bicycles or vehicles.

Source: Φilenews

Six months in waiting for the disabled

Without the necessary means to lead a more normal life, people with disabilities are left for months. Some, who are even in specialized centers, complete the first stage of their rehabilitation but are unable to return to their homes, because the competent state department needs, in the best case scenario, six months to approve their application for the appropriate aids.

There are many examples, as stated to ‘Ph’ by the President of the Cyprus Paraplegic Organization, Dimitris Lambrianidis, supporting that “the plan for technical means, of the Department of Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities, is currently the plan with the most significant delays. The waiting time reaches six months, the department receives about 200 applications each month, and the responsible officials cannot respond quickly or within a reasonable timeframe to their obligations towards citizens due to understaffing.”

The applications submitted concern “individuals who need, for example, wheelchairs for bathing, specialized cushions for pressure sore prevention, mattresses for bedsores, electrically powered beds, etc. For a person with a disability, to secure a good quality of life under the circumstances, these aids are necessary, and certainly their cost is such that not anyone can afford them out of their own pocket. For people with disabilities, these are the tools that allow them to live in their own homes and not somewhere else.”

As OPAK, he added, ‘We are very well aware of the current situation. Recently, a case came to light involving a child with cancer who applied to secure such assistance, yet unfortunately, the child’s request was not approved. Not even such incidents seem to move certain technocrats in certain Ministries. Proper staffing of government departments responsible for serving citizens must be a priority for the Government.’

“For this reason,” said Mr. Lambrianides, “the relevant department of the Ministry of Social Welfare needs personnel reinforcement to be able to cope. And we are not talking about highly paid public servants. It is necessary to hire low-paid individuals who will take on the challenging task of evaluating and processing applications from people with disabilities.”

“I find it unacceptable that every citizen is forced to go to the media, to voice their problem and their hardship, in order for us to rush to provide them with what they need,” said Mr. Lambrianides and added, “We have once again been informed that the request of the Ministry of Social Welfare for approval of positions has been rejected. This means that the applications of individuals in need of these technical aids will continue to pile up every six months. We expect from the Government to send a message to those who handle certain matters, that priority must be given wherever the responsibility involves health, social integration, and the well-being of citizens. Also, it is unfair to demonize government departments that cannot efficiently carry out their tasks quickly due to being understaffed, with the responsibility lying with other departments.”

Source: Φilenews