Institute "Dr Simo Milošević" Igalo – Importance of Accessible Beaches

By , 24 Aug 2019, 23:31 PM Lifestyle
Institute "Dr Simo Milošević" Igalo – Importance of Accessible Beaches Igalo Spa Beach, photo by Biljana

Institute Igalo is situated on the most western point of the Montenegrin coast, at the entrance to one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the Bay of Kotor, in Igalo which belongs to the municipality of Herceg Novi.

Herceg Novi is a city that nurtures health tourism. The existence of Dr Simo Milosevic Institute, or the Igalo Spa and mild Mediterranean climate make a significant factor for many people around the world to spend a part of the year in Igalo. Some of the patients are people with disabilities, as well as children with special needs. Their Spa kingdom is on the ninth floor, with a beautiful view of the bay, but summer brings them their greatest joy on the beach. Not much difference for the grownups, everybody enjoys beaches, if they can reach them.

A custom physical environment is especially important for patients with disabilities, as well as for people who have walking difficulties.

The amount of disability is not determined by levels of pathologies, impairments, or functional limitations, but instead is a function of the kind of services provided to people with disabling conditions and the extent to which the physical, built environment is accommodating or not accommodating to the particular condition. Having in mind that disability is not inherent in an individual but is, rather, a relational concept—a function of the interaction of the person with the social and physical environments, any improvement in them improves this person.

An important accessibility segment is accessible beaches. One of the few beaches adapted for disabled people along the Montenegrin coast is the beach in front of the First phase of Dr Simo Milosevic Institute (Old Spa) in Igalo.

During the tourist season, assistants are available on the beach, who help wheelchair users to make the best of their stay there. There are also toilets adapted for persons with disabilities. The beach was modified in 2007.

One of the users, NGO “Ray of Sun” (Zrak sunca) president Ljilja Krstić speaks for TMN about the importance of accessible beaches: “Ever since my daughter started using a wheelchair, it was difficult providing her a good bathing place and we all know how valuable swimming and bathing is for everybody, especially for children with disabilities. She is in her twenties now and thanks to this beach, she can spend many nice hours enjoying the sea with her friends. A customized beach is certainly important because we finally have a place where our children can bathe and enjoy the sun, sea and life.  Accessible sidewalks, intersections, facilities and outlets, institutions, homes are important segments of a continuous chain of motion, which lead to the creation of the universal design.  It is certainly important to note that all questions about the needs and rights of persons with disabilities must be a priority in the making of important documents, strategies and laws. We are aware that our struggle for equal participation of persons with disability in all social streams is a long process, but it is important that we started it and that we persist in it."

At the beginning of 2018, Meljine Local Community in Herceg Novi municipality, assisted by PE Sea Property – JP Morsko dobro Budva, also adapted one of the beaches for the disabled. Adaptation of physical environment following European standards is important for all and developed democratic societies need to enable a "continuous chain of motion" for disabled people.

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