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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Proposal seeks installation of family bathrooms in commercial establishments

Rep. Víctor Parés Otero

By The Star Staff

With the aim of improving the quality of life of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as well as their caregivers, Rep. Víctor Parés Otero filed a resolution Monday to investigate the implementation of family bathrooms in all applicable commercial premises.

“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating diseases a person can face. It not only attacks the patient, it also impacts their family and friends in a way not seen in other conditions,” the District 4 (San Juan) lawmaker said in a written statement. “One of the aspects that tends to be forgotten is that when a person with this condition is in public places, such as shops, and needs to use the bathroom, it regularly requires the assistance of a family member and/or caregiver. That is why they use the so-called family bathrooms; however, they have brought to our attention that many businesses do not have this type of sanitary facility. This resolution is aimed at investigating that and how we can help meet that requirement.”

The resolution seeks to investigate the implementation of Law 168-1949, better known as the “Law to Order the Adoption of a Building Code in Puerto Rico,” as well as its subsequent amendments, including Law 186-2011, among others.

“The businesses to which the laws on assisted and/or family bathrooms apply have to comply with them, as well as other facilities, both public and private,” Parés Otero said. “The concept of assisted bathing is not a luxury, it is a reality given the demographic factor of Puerto Rico. There are businesses that do not comply with this law and we are going to summon them to a meeting. Similarly, there are many businesses that are exempt from the law, either because of their size or other factors, which, however, and aware of the new reality, have made arrangements to have these family bathroom facilities.”

Alzheimer’s disease, also called senile dementia of Alzheimer’s type (DSTA by its Spanish initials) is a neurodegenerative disease that manifests itself in marked cognitive impairment, as well as behavioral disorders. According to the available medical literature, the condition is the most common form of dementia in the world.

Dementia is a general term used to detail the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities so severe that it interferes with the individual’s daily life. Currently, Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases globally.

According to data from the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Association of Puerto Rico, there are at least 116,000 people diagnosed with the disease on the island.

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