This month, an exciting opportunity arose in the world of accessible technology as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid opened up a thirty-day comment period where people could submit public comments for why they believe Medicare should cover power seat elevation. While I’m relatively new to the game of power chairs, assistive technology and seat elevation, I’ve quickly learned that this is so much more than a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity. While I’m using my Quantum Power Wheelchair, changing my elevation height has become so second nature, I don’t realize I’m doing it half the time.
Cooking and Reaching Things in the Kitchen
Seat elevation on my Quantum Power Wheelchair has made many things in my life not only more accessible, but safer and more comfortable. For example, while cooking something with hot oil that typically splatters and pops, I can easily elevate away from this and adjust myself to cook at a comfortable and safe angle, vs the oil splattering onto my face and forearms.
When I’m washing the dishes and moving them from the washer to the cabinets, I always find myself shifting my height for the entire process so that I can safely unload them, safely put things back into the cabinet and reload the dishwasher. I can see where I’m putting everything, so it’s not only more efficient, but prevents dishes from breaking.
Transferring from My Quantum Power Wheelchair
Power seat elevation is such a help with transfers. Not all seats are the same size, such as going from my power chair to my bed. Having the ability to raise and lower myself keeps transfers on a more equal level and makes it far easier and safe.
Using Power Seat Elevation in Social Situations
In social situations, it’s particularly difficult to connect with clients, customers, and colleagues when you’re at drastically different heights. When you’re sitting in a power wheelchair with no elevation at an event where everyone else is standing, you miss the fundamental experience of making eye contact with people you’re working hard to connect with and develop a professional relationship. Often, people have to squat or sit on the ground next to you, which is just uncomfortable for everyone. It’s much easier to be dismissed or not taken seriously in these moments as a person with a disability. I’ve had many interactions where I’ve been written off entirely as a valuable entity in my career, as people feel that getting down to that level is similar to that of a child, especially when people haven’t interacted with disability before.
Recently, I took my Quantum Power Wheelchair to a business event where I was elevated at iLevel. I discovered the astronomical difference of being able to participate in a conversation. I didn’t have to tune out because it was happening literally above my head. I could assert my knowledge and opinions at the same pace as everyone else.
I can’t fathom not having access to a power seat elevation system, like iLevel. Seat elevation is a great equalizer, a confidence builder, a tool for safety, a tool for comfort and a pivotal part of creating quality of life. I’m ecstatic this conversation has opened up, and I truly hope CMS sets a precedent to cover it.
About Jill Moore White: Jill is an inclusive play specialist, bringing accessible playgrounds to local communities. She volunteers with disability organizations, including the Disability EmpowHER Network. Jill enjoys music, sketching and playing video games. Click here to learn more about Jill.
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