Although I have been blessed with an active and satisfying life but one aspect of being disabled keeps rearing its ugly head. I still have some problems getting services for things I want. I am a woman who is into fashion, makeup, hair styles, skin health and more. At times, maintaining a moderate but substantial beauty profile requires visits to businesses that in most cases do not cater to or have any contingency for people in wheelchairs.
Finding a New Stylist
About ten years ago, I switched to a short, easy-to-maintain hairstyle that required me to go to a barber or a stylist who could cut my hair in several different styles. Once I became disabled and adjusted to a power wheelchair, I found it increasingly hard to find a barber or stylist who has the space, inclination, and skills to cut my hair while I am in my power wheelchair. I have a difficulty transferring from my iLevel® Power Chair to a barber’s chair. Luckily, after some trial and error, I have found a dependable professional who uses the many different positions of my Edge 3 Power Wheelchair with iLevel to give wonderful haircuts that keep me looking marvelous!
Finding Accessible Businesses to Meet My Needs
Many places that I used previously for services are not accessible to me. It’s just not finding a good nail salon, spa, aesthetician or stylist (for color treatments), but finding a business that offers the extra assistance I need to have a quality experience. Many places simply say that they do not have the facilities or accommodations to service my needs. This can be extremely frustrating for myself and my husband, who has diligently been searching for businesses that offer services to disabled people. I have watched him become upset after Googling and calling business after business to inquire about specific accommodations, which they do not offer.
Missed Opportunities to Reach New Customers
According to a 2018 BBC News story, businesses are losing trillions per year by not catering to or even ignoring disabled consumers. That’s a lot of commerce that all global economies need, now more than ever. It is estimated that approximately 15 percent of the world’s population experience some form of disability. It seems that many businesses and business owners are not factoring in what they are losing, as well as what they are failing to offer.
Services That Come to Me
I have found several independent providers that will come out to your house to offer services. Most charge a premium just to come out to your location. Several informed me that they charge mileage if you are outside their area of operations. I really want a full-service pedicure but not for almost $200! Also, I’m still apprehensive about letting people in my house who may not have been vaccinated or take precautions with COVID-19.
A Positive Experience
I am still on the hunt to find services who can cater to my needs. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised when I called the wonderful ladies of the Amazing Lash Studio. I wanted to have some lash work done. I called with my questions ready.
- What are your prices for various services?
- What are your COVID-19 precautions?
- Can you provide services to someone in a wheelchair who cannot transfer to your examination table?
Soon, I received a call from the manager who told me that the Amazing Lash Studio could accommodate me and would be more than happy to have me come in for services.
My appointment was great, and my Edge 3 Power Wheelchair allowed me to lay flat just like the exam table! I was so comfortable in my chair that I slept through a long stretch of the appointment. Being able to raise and lower my power chair as well as adjust the back portion of the chair independently allowed my technician a closer view when it was needed to get my lashes perfect.
My experience at this lash studio restored some hope that I will be able to find services that can accommodate me. Without my Edge 3 Motorized Wheelchair with iLevel technology, this experience would not have been possible.
About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility and lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.
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