The 2020 Word of the Year

Pandemic. It’s a word that has dominated our lives this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has truly impacted everyone’s life in one way or another, so it’s no surprise that Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com have declared “pandemic” the Word of the Year.

For electric wheelchair users and individuals with disabilities, the pandemic has changed many aspects of their daily lives. Working from home has suddenly become the norm. Accessibility has expanded in ways never thought possible. Masks are worn in all public spaces and for electric wheelchair users, cleaning and disinfecting power wheelchairs has become a lot more involved.

Working from Home in a Pandemic

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been mandated that any individuals who can work from home should do so. This is a great step forward for the disability community. Individuals with chronic illnesses, disabilities or narrow electric wheelchair users often request remote work due to transportation barriers, medical appointments or other health reasons. Unfortunately, people with disabilities have often struggled to win the reasonable accommodation to work remotely. No longer! Today, everyone is encouraged to work remotely and it has proven that people are able to be productive when working from home. Furthermore, it has demonstrated that working from home can occur on a long-term basis.

Wheelchair Accessibility Problems Turn into Solutions

Because the pandemic requires all individuals to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19, this mandate has solved many accessibility problems for narrow electric wheelchair users or people with disabilities. In terms of socializing, we utilize video chat programs such as Zoom or FaceTime to connect with loved ones. This new way of socializing has taken a lot of the stress off narrow electric wheelchair users, who don’t have to worry about accessibility when going to a friend or family member’s house or eating out at a restaurant. For many states, mail-in voting has become the norm due to the pandemic, and individuals with transportation barriers or chronic illnesses can exercise their right to vote easily with a mail-in ballot. These are just a few examples of how wheelchair accessibility problems have become solutions in 2020.

Disinfecting Wheelchairs and Wheelchair Cleaning Checklist

Due to the coronavirus, narrow electric wheelchair users must take greater precautions beyond washing their hands for twenty seconds. As an extension of their bodies, individuals should clean and disinfect their power wheelchairs daily. When disinfecting power wheelchairs, individuals should use EPA-approved wipes that contain an alcohol solution of at least 70 percent. If you don’t have wipes, the CDC recommends a spray bottle with one quart of water and four teaspoons of bleach. For electronic components on your power chair, we recommend silicon-based cleaners to avoid causing damage to the electronics. Check out our wheelchair cleaning checklist for more tips. While all this extra cleaning has certainly been challenging, it’s necessary to make sure that individuals with power chairs stay safe.


Wheelchair Accessories for the New Year

As the year 2020 winds down, everyone is looking toward 2021 with anticipation and hope. A new year means new year resolutions and new possibilities. As a narrow electric wheelchair user, you might consider making some important purchases for your narrow electric wheelchair. There are many motorized wheelchair accessories available: from storage options to LED lighting. Get the lowdown on each and decide whether you need some motorized wheelchair accessories to make 2021 the best year yet!

Power Wheelchair Backpack

Power Wheelchair Backpack

Quantum Rehab® knows the importance of having plenty of storage space available. Wheelchair storage bags are a great choice. If you have a Quantum® Power Chair with TRU-Balance® 3 Power Positioning Systems, consider purchasing the Quantum glove box, which attaches easily to the arm of your power chair. The personal item hook is another storage option and a great way to keep your purse or backpack within easy reach.

Speaking of backpacks, have you seen the new Quantum power wheelchair backpack? Made from extremely durable material, this backpack offers an insulated cooler pouch and plenty of volume to store all your possessions that you need to take with you when on the go. Each zipper on this backpack is equipped with a pull hook, perfect for individuals who have limited dexterity.

Wheelchair Safety Lights

Wheelchair Safety Lights

Why not light up the new year with some front and rear LED fender lights on your narrow electric wheelchair? Each switch-operated LED light is mounted to the fender above the drive tire on each side of the power chair. Quantum’s LED lights are ultra slim, delivering excellent compactness and durability. Seeing and being seen has never been easier. Now you can travel around at night with peace of mind and know that cars, pedestrians and cyclists will see you coming.

Motorized Wheelchair Backup Camera

Motorized Wheelchair Backup Camera

Many narrow electric wheelchair users understand the struggle of seeing what’s behind them when reversing. The motorized wheelchair backup camera from Quantum removes the guesswork! Whether you are reversing in your kitchen or at the mall, the Quantum backup camera promotes safety with a rear viewing angle of 170 degrees. Never worry about hitting door frames, small children or family pets. You can see what’s behind you with the 3.5-inch display that can be mounted on the armrest or the side rails for total convenience. Best of all, the backup camera from Quantum offers infrared capabilities for use at night.

Ready to Purchase?

Ready to purchase some motorized wheelchair accessories for the new year? Just reach out to your Quantum dealer today and let them know you wish to purchase some power wheelchair accessories. They can assist you!

Excited for Football with My Power Wheelchair

Excitement is in the air surrounding the football program at Charlotte! On August 7, I attended Charlotte Football Media Day to cover the event for the school’s newspaper, the Niner Times. It was a great day! I interviewed players and coaches, which was possible thanks to iLevel® technology on my Stretto Power Wheelchair.

Touring the Facility in My Motorized Wheelchair

When I arrived at the event, I went down an access ramp to get onto the field where the players and coaches were located. My Stretto helped me to get onto the field relatively quickly. Going down the ramp was a breeze. Once on the field, I hung out with my fellow writers until we toured the facility.

Throughout the tour, my power wheelchair made access incredibly easy, so I could see the whole facility, which is state of the art. With iLevel, I elevated my motorized wheelchair 12 inches so I could be heard when I asked the head coach questions. I felt involved in everything and wasn’t left out at all.

Interviewing the Team with iLevel

After the tour, we headed back onto the field to start interviews with players and other coaches. we needed to interview for the newspaper edition. We were positioned under a tent and had multiple players give us good quotes for the articles we needed to write. I had the pleasure

of interviewing the star defensive player Markees Watts, who looks to bounce back from an injury-ridden season a year ago. During my interview with Markees, I elevated to his height and held up my phone to record his responses to the questions I asked. Since I struggle with strength in my arms, this made it so much easier to do, and I didn’t have to strain while holding my phone. iLevel technology on my motorized wheelchair seemed to impress multiple players as well as the coaching staff.

Bryson uses iLevel on his Stretto Power Wheelchair when speaking with players

It was great to be around the 49ers football team because of how genuine the players were. Questions were asked in a round table fashion and I could ask the head coach questions about the team. The day made me super excited to see the team get back on the field in what we hope to be a “normal” season.

Taking Photos in My Stretto Power Wheelchair

I took pictures with the starting quarterback and members of the wide receiver core. Having the ability to elevate with iLevel assisted with this, and I got some outstanding photos to remember the experience. With iLevel technology on my power wheelchair, people don’t have to bend down when I take pictures with them anymore, making me feel like I am their equal.

As the assistant sports editor, it is great to be back in the swing of things with football season right around the corner. I am looking forward to going to games in person once again and being around my friends. It was great to be back on campus, being around the sport that I love. It will be a lot of fun getting to cheer on the hometown team now that I have connections with the 49ers. The football season is right around the corner, and it will be great to see what the team is capable of this year. The 49ers are ready to get back on the field and improve. Let’s go, team!

About Bryson Foster: Bryson is a Friend of Quantum and lives in North Carolina. He advocates and raises funds for the development of treatments for muscular dystrophy. He loves sports and cheers for his favorite basketball team, the North Carolina Tar Heels.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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David Arnold: Ready to Receive

If you are an amateur radio operator like David Arnold, you probably have a unique call sign, which is used to identify a radio station or operator. Just like his call sign, David is also incredibly unique. He is extremely grateful for the independence he has gained with his Quantum® Power Chair.

Enjoying Greater Independence with iLevel ®

David was born with cerebral palsy and this affects his ability to walk. To maintain mobility, David uses the Q6 Edge® HD Power Wheelchair with iLevel® technology. He loves how maneuverable the power wheelchair is in small areas.

David in his Q6 Edge HD Power Wheelchair

“I like the power wheelchair’s ability to turn in tight places,” David said. “I also like that the power wheelchair can raise to be at eye level with others.”

With iLevel technology on his Q6 Edge HD Motorized Wheelchair, David can elevate the seat of his wheelchair up to 10 inches. This allows him to communicate with others eye to eye without having to crane his neck to look up at them. David can also complete everyday tasks independently, such as reaching items in his kitchen.

“I use iLevel to get dishes out of our top cabinet,” David said.

iLevel’s patented Extra Stability Technology® enhances safety for activities like reaching things on the shelf, transferring from the chair to a bed, and many more tasks of daily living. Plus, David can elevate his power chair alongside others and drive at walking speed, up to 3.5 mph.

On the Road with His Power Wheelchair

When using a wheelchair-accessible van, David’s Q6 Edge HD Motorized Wheelchair fits easily in the space designated for the front passenger seat.

The Q6 Edge HD is equipped with 4-pole motors and ATX Suspension, so David enjoys a comfortable and smooth ride, wherever he goes.

David lives in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Theresa. He enjoys listening to music and spending time with his friends. One of David’s passions is being an amateur radio operator. There are different types of ham radio operator licenses, including technical, general and amateur extra. He is proud to have achieved a general class license for amateur radio!

No matter what life throws at him, David is ready to receive it with his Quantum Power Chair.

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Ordering Your Power Wheelchair with iLevel

So, you have decided to get a power wheelchair with iLevel. You picked out the color you want and it is time to order your chair. Your therapist works with the ATP at your authorized Quantum provider. Together, they conduct a wheelchair fitting. Whether it’s your first or tenth power chair, when ordering your power chair through insurance, a justification needs to be submitted that demonstrates why you need the motorized wheelchair. Since iLevel is an added feature to the motorized wheelchair, it is vital to submit a justification for iLevel on why it is medically necessary.

Below are tips on what to include in your justification for iLevel on your power wheelchair.

How iLevel Aids in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):

When requesting durable medical equipment from insurance, the biggest concern is someone’s ADLs inside their home. Activities of daily living include cooking, cleaning, and personal care. It is no secret that iLevel gives wheelchair users greater accessibility to public facilities and community activities. For insurance purposes, the focus needs to be that iLevel gives you greater accessibility inside your home. Here are some questions to consider:

  • How would a seat elevator support your transfers? (getting in/out of bed or toileting)
  • What activities in your home could you do more independently with a seat elevator? (cooking, cleaning or personal care)

How iLevel Keeps You Safe in Your Home

Insurers want to know how the equipment is going to keep you safe in your home. Falls and accidents happen, especially when you are disabled. It’s better to pay for a piece equipment before something happens, instead of paying for a hospital bill or an ambulance after an accident. The more accessible a space is, the safer it is. For example, if you cook your own meals, are you grabbing pots and pans from a counter that is taller than you are and can burn you? Questions to consider on how iLevel can keep you safe in your home:

  • How many accidents or falls have you had in the last six months due to the low height of your power wheelchair?
  • How would iLevel prevent you from falling?
  • How do you reach for things that are higher up?
  • Are your counters of equal height with your seat?
  • How would iLevel make it safer for your personal care attendants to support you in your ADLs?

These tips are no guarantee that your insurance will approve you for iLevel but being your own advocate is a start. Provide as much concrete information as you can to support your case. The more information you provide, the more difficult it is for them to list a reason for denial. This information also backs you up when filing for an appeal.

Quantum has created a self-advocacy form that you can take with you to your seating evaluation. Click here to download the form.

About Isabella Bullock: Isabella, or Izzie for short, is an employment specialist for the Center of Independent Living. She is an iced coffee enthusiast who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Click here to learn more about Isabella.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Let’s Celebrate Spinal Cord Injury Awareness

September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.  Back in 1981, I didn’t truly understand in specific terms what my spinal cord really was. I soon learned.

Understanding the Mental Impact of SCI

As I laid in a hospital bed wondering why I couldn’t feel my legs, I knew that I had been in an accident. The school bus I was on lost its brakes descending from a mountain in Utah. The summer before I got injured, I ran into a friend at a mall and asked how her cousin was. She was surprised I hadn’t heard about Kelly. She told me that Kelly moved back to Pennsylvania. She dove into a lake, broke her neck and now she’s paralyzed. I remember feeling so sad for my friend, because Kelly was such a vivacious, beautiful young woman.

The day my mom gave me the news that I would no longer walk again, that I was paralyzed from my chest down, I had to take a deep breath. I now understood what that meant because it had happened to my friend six months before me. I remember settling into that negative thinking: what am I going to do? I’m never going to dance. I’m never going to run the hurdles. I won’t be able to participate with my team my senior year. So, how am I going to live my life? I think during the period when we learn about paralysis, these are the questions that run through our minds. As we navigate through this thing called life, we find strength, we find new friendships and we find new life through our paralysis. 

The Facts of SCI and Moving Forward

Madonna in her Edge 3 Power Wheelchair

In the United States alone, there are approximately 17,810 new spinal cord injuries each year. Men account for about 78% of all new cases. There are probably 294,000 people living with spinal cord injury in the United States. The average age at time of injury is about 43 years old.

Today, individuals who are paralyzed or sustain a spinal cord injury are fortunate to have power wheelchairs and technology. This equipment allow us to dance, compete in the Paralympics (maybe not the hurdles) and perform as athletes. With this technology, we can determine how to live our lives. People who have a spinal cord injury can find the strength to push forward and to enjoy each day.

Life After a Spinal Cord Injury

There are thousands of groups and organizations throughout the country that help people navigate their spinal cord injury and live their lives the way they choose. Because of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, barriers are broken for people with SCI who use power wheelchairs for their mobility. You can have a job, live in your community and have a family with a spinal cord injury, Advancements in medicine, technology, equipment, employment, laws and housing have allowed people with SCI greater opportunities to choose a better future, post injury.

I am thankful for my friends who have SCI. They mentored me and I mentored them.  We are a strong community of many souls. Without them, I would not be the mother I am, the business leader I am or the advocate I am. I so appreciate them.  We all are experts of environment and our SCI. We always share with those who need it. I want to honor a young man who took 15 minutes of his time while I was in the hospital to tell me how he lived his life with a SCI. That moment changed my life forever. So, I say to John: thank you for helping me understand that navigating an SCI throughout life is totally obtainable. It just depended on how I was going to navigate it. There is no one formula that helps any one person. They must truly dig deep within themselves and live their lives however they choose.

About Madonna Long: Madonna works as a disability advocate to educate policymakers and congressional leaders on disability issues. She uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility. She is a mother to four children and lives life on her terms, despite a spinal cord injury. Click here to learn more about Madonna.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Things to Do at Wheelchair Accessible Assateague Island

Thanks to COVID-19, vacations have been very limited the past year and a half, especially for my family. Since my immune system is very weak and cannot handle getting sick, flying is still not an option. Still, that didn’t stop us from taking our first official vacation this summer after I was fully vaccinated. We decided to take a road trip to Delaware for a few days and stay at an Airbnb. The main reason we picked Delaware as our vacation spot is because, ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to visit the Assateague Island National Seashore.

What is the Assateague Island National Seashore?

The Assateague Island National Seashore is an Indian reserve that has over 300 wild ponies running free across 37 miles of inlet beaches, forests and salt marshes. In addition to the horses there are several other wild animals to see. Legend says that during the 17th century, the horses found on Assateague were brought by a Spanish ship. This is why the horses are a different breed than any other horses. Assateague is located near Chincoteague Island, Virginia and Ocean City, Maryland.

Wheelchair Accessible Assateague Island

Upon arrival, we had to cross a very steep bridge. Along the side of the bridge was a wheelchair-accessible path that you could use if you wanted to cross the bridge and see the view of the water. It was such a cool experience to cross an entire bridge in my Edge® 3 Power Wheelchair.  Once I crossed the bridge, I immediately saw wild horses on the side of the road. One of the biggest things about Assateague is that they make sure the horses are protected and don’t feel confined.

Wheelchair Accessibility in the Park

After driving through horse filled forests for a few miles, we came to a welcome center. You pay a small fee and enter the state park. From there, you have two options. You can continue driving towards a trail that encompasses the entire reserve. The entire park is wheelchair accessible. There are paved trails throughout the entire park. You can also choose to park your car and rent a locker to put your things in if you want to go to the beach. Because the beach is on an inlet, the sand is really soft and the water is really calm. Those two features combined make it a beautiful beach. Plus, you can rent a beach wheelchair. It felt like a dream come true!

The horses usually run wild on the beach as it gets later in the day. Imagine laying out on the beach enjoying the weather and sand, when you turn and there’s horses everywhere! It felt like I was living in a movie. There is also a campsite for those who would like to spend the night with the horses and the animals walk around the campsite whenever they want.

Why I Love Horses

As you may or may not know, horses are my spirit animal. They are so majestic and beautiful. When I visited Assateague, I felt like I could relate to the horses. They can run wild and free and that reminds me of how I can roam around freely in my Edge® 3 Power Wheelchair with iLevel®. It is a feeling that only another power wheelchair user can understand. Being able to interact with the horses up close as they walked along the beach was an amazing experience that I will always remember.

If you’re ever in the area. I highly recommend visiting Assateague Island National Seashore.

two black and white goats
Photo by Vinícius Vieira on Pexels.com

About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Chrysanthemum Chan: Sew Much Cosplay, Sew Little Time

She’s breaking barriers, one stitch at a time! Chrysanthemum Chan is a self-taught seamstress and designer with a special focus in cosplay, designing costumes to represent specific characters. She also specializes in kawaii, a Japanese fashion movement. With a TikTok channel of over 380,000 followers, Chrysanthemum brings awareness to her disability and the ableism that exists in the cosplay community, using her voice to enact change.

Chrysanthemum resides in central Maine and has Tourette’s Syndrome/Functional Neurological Disorder (FND). Whether she is recording videos for her TikTok channel or designing a new costume, Chrysanthemum lives a busy life and needs a power wheelchair that can take her where she needs to go. Enter the Stretto Power Chair!

Chrysanthemum loves the narrow width of the Stretto. It was the deciding factor when choosing her power wheelchair, as she has a small house with narrow doorways. The Stretto Power Chair gives her access to many different places.

“I have been able to go places where a manual wheelchair was not ideal for me, like fields, rough terrain, uneven streets,” Chrysanthemum said. “It has really given me a lot of independence. I even went camping this year.”

Along with the Stretto’s ultra-narrow width, Chrysanthemum loves iLevel® technology. Before iLevel, she relied on her fiancé to get things for her that she couldn’t reach. Now, Chrysanthemum can elevate her motorized wheelchair seat up to 12 inches and easily reach the microwave, cabinets and the stovetop. iLevel also comes in handy when she is shopping.

“I can go into a store by myself and raise up when I need something that is on a higher shelf, without having to ask for assistance.”

– Chrysanthemum Chan

Her Stretto Motorized Wheelchair with iLevel makes a huge difference in communicating with people as well. When she spoke with others, people used to get very close to Chrysanthemum and stare down at her.

“When I am raised up, people now give me space and don’t have to stare down at me,” Chrysanthemum said. “I am also approached more in public settings.”

Although she has become an international, award-winning cosplayer, winning eight “Best in Show” awards, Chrysanthemum is just getting started! She strives to learn new sewing techniques and has a special interest in corsets and adaptive fashion.

“My latest costume won best in show in the master’s category at a convention in Canada,” she said. “It was a gorgeous ball gown I designed based on one of my favorite video game characters.”

In addition to her interests of fashion and cosplay, Chrysanthemum plays the flute, guitar and loves to sing. She enjoys getting outdoors and interacting with nature.

Being an advocate is extremely important to Chrysanthemum. She uses her platform to educate others about her disability through videos, encouraging discussion among her followers. She works with a group of friends to incorporate the use of mobility aids in the cosplay community. In addition, Chrysanthemum reaches out to conventions and asks about wheelchair accessibility, providing information on how to make cosplay events more wheelchair accessible and inclusive.

“I believe that everyone should have the ability to go wherever they want in the world and not be restricted or judged, and to be able to do the things they love,” Chrysanthemum said.

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Road Trips and Power Wheelchairs

Road trips can be fun depending on the type of person you are. I’m the guy that just wants to get there and get it done! So, I generally don’t try to drag it out. I do this because I want to spend as much time as I can at the destination. Wherever I’m going, I’m usually driving there for a reason. So, I don’t make too many stops and I just try to power through, as some would say. So, if you’re planning for a road trip, here are some tips to follow.

Plan your route

Before you leave, take a look at Google Maps, your GPS or the typical road atlas and plan out the route you are going to take. Look into alternate routes as well, because accidents can happen and if there’s roadwork, the traffic gridlock can really slow you down.

Stick to Power Wheelchair-Accessible Rest Stops

Check your vehicle’s fluids before getting on the road

If you’re driving on a major road or interstate, generally, there will be rest areas and welcome centers along the way. The large commercial service plazas that service both truckers and cars are more likely to offer important amenities like fuel and food and beverage services. They are also more likely to be power wheelchair accessible, as opposed to a regular gas station that’s right off the highway. For example, when driving through Illinois, the rest areas and welcome centers have bathrooms, picnic areas, lighted walkways, maps, security cameras and plenty of parking for both recreational vehicles and commercial trucks. So, while planning your trip, check out the states you will be visiting to see what kind rest areas they have and make sure they are power wheelchair accessible.

Pack Your Own Food

road surrounded by green trees
Photo by suzukii xingfu on Pexels.com

If you’re like me and want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, packing your own food is a good idea. This will significantly reduce the amount of time you spend stopped. Plus, with COVID-19 always a consideration, packing your own food reduces your contact with other people who are also on the road.

When I moved back from California to Chicago, it took me three days of driving. There were a lot of places where I could’ve stopped and explored. Instead, each day I woke up and drove as far as I could. I’d find a hotel, sleep, then wake up and do it all over again until I reached home. I had my dog, Mya, and my cat, Ary, in the car with me, so any kind of exploring or extended stops would’ve been a lot more difficult.

While I’ve done a lot of road trips, I have never actually planned a road trip just to do a road trip and visit a bunch of places. I’d like to though! I picture myself doing that in an RV of some kind, making a big circle around the country. For now though, I’m a guy who turns up the tunes, drinks Powerade and munches on sunflower seeds the whole way.

What kind of road tripper are you?

About Bryan Anderson: Bryan grew up and resides in Illinois. Injured by an IED in October 2005, Bryan is one of the few triple amputees to survive his injuries in Iraq. He is an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and a spokesperson for USA Cares, which is focused on assisting post 9-11 veterans. Click here to learn more about Bryan.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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Tips When Flying with a Power Chair

How do you travel using your power chair? It’s one of the most commonly asked questions I get from people. There was a time in my life where I was on the road 280 days out of the year, basically living out of hotel rooms. I had more than one flight every single month.

In traveling with my power wheelchair, it’s pretty simple. I travel the same way that everybody else does, except that the preparation for my trip is slightly different. In my life, there are three key parts to planning a trip or traveling when you have a disability. Preparation, execution and completion. The main focus is on preparation. You must adapt and have a plan B when plan A does not go accordingly.

Flying Direct with a Power Wheelchair

In 2012, I flew from JFK airport in New York to Los Angeles, California, for an industry show. I booked the flight two months before the show. I always recommend flying direct when you have a power wheelchair, no matter the destination. You do not want the airline to continuously touch your wheelchair, loading and unloading it off the airplane. The more the airline touches your power chair, the higher the chance that something will go wrong. I know it might cost more to fly direct but unfortunately, I would rather pay an extra $100 – $200 for a flight then be stuck in an airport waiting for service on my wheelchair because somebody didn’t know how to work it while they were loading and unloading it off an aircraft. Trust me, I have been in the situation of waiting hours at an airport and it is not fun.

Booking Your Flight

When you were booking your flight, make sure that you try and book a seat in the first ten rows of the airplane. This is because you will have to transfer to an aisle chair. An aisle chair is a very skinny manual wheelchair that the airport staff will transfer you on if you cannot walk on the plane yourself. The aisle chair is designed specifically to fit down the narrow rows of an aircraft. Almost every flight I have been on I usually get on with the pilots and stewardesses. So, most of the time, you will be the first one on and the last one off. By picking a seat within the first ten rows, it’s easier for you and the staff when they try to transfer you this way. They don’t have to wheel you all the way to the back of the airplane.

Communicating with Airline Staff

photo of airplane
Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com

If you are unable to book seats in the front of the plane, ask the stewardess if you can move up or swap seats with somebody when you arrive at your departure gate. There have been plenty of times where I was in row 18 or row 20 because a plane was full. I asked the gate agent if I could be moved up and they had no problem swapping my seat out. In some cases, I’ve been moved to first class just by asking. If they have dealt with an individual in a wheelchair before, most gate agents completely understand why you are asking to be moved up if you need an aisle chair.

If you are flying with a power chair and book your flight directly with the airline, every major airline has a box that you check online for flying with a power wheelchair. This tells the airline gate agent you have a wheelchair. When the gate agent arrives at his or her computer, he or she will be notified that you have a power wheelchair. They will automatically contact the special service team at the airport and request an aisle chair for you. Once you arrive at your gate, I recommend going up to the gate agent and tell them that you have a power wheelchair just in case.

Know the Weight and Battery Type of Your Wheelchair

Some airlines require you to fill out a tag for your wheelchair. This tag lets the cargo team know the weight of your wheelchair and what type of batteries you have. The airline pilots and cargo team need to know how much your wheelchair weighs for balancing the aircraft when loading. Our batteries are FAA approved but the airline still would like to know the type of batteries in your wheelchair for safety reasons.

Ask to Speak to the Ramp Agent

When flying, I ask the gate agent if I can speak to the ramp lead or ramp agent. This is the person in charge of the cargo team that loads and unloads the aircraft. Over 90% of the time, the ramp lead comes up and has a conversation with me. I like to speak with the ramp agent so that they understand how important my motorized wheelchair is to me. I also explain how to operate my wheelchair, so they can instruct their team in loading the motorized wheelchair correctly and not damage anything.

Label Your Motorized Wheelchair

I attach a sign to the back of my wheelchair using zip ties. The sign has my telephone number, as well as instructions on the location of the free wheel levers. The sign also says in bold letters that if you have any questions, please come onto the flight and ask me. Do not force chair. I have noticed that the sign has been a huge help when flying, especially once I land and there’s a new cargo team that off loads my motorized wheelchair. That sign is one of the first things they see.

About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.

​For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

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How iLevel Helps My Loved Ones

iLevel® technology changed the game for me around four years ago when I got my Q6 Edge® 2.0 Power Wheelchair. It also changed the lives of my family and friends.

Attending Hockey Games with My Dad

I’ve had seat elevation before. In reality, I didn’t use it as much as I have used iLevel, because the speed of my chair was dramatically reduced while elevated in previous wheelchairs. For example, whenever I attended hockey games with my dad, he would sort of walk ahead of me to keep crowds at bay. Hockey games are something we bond over. It’s pretty much the reason I found my love of the game. When iLevel became a reality, I could drive alongside him within the crowd while entering or exiting the stadium. I’m hoping that after the coronavirus is under control, the tradition can resume,  at least for a game or two.

Hair Appointments at the Salon

When I have hair appointments, my mom is my chauffeur. In the past, my mom had to transfer me out of my power wheelchair and into the chair at the salon for hair appointments and pampering days. My hairdresser needed me at a certain height. Enter iLevel technology. The only thing I need to do is remove my headrest. I bring my own salon chair with me.

Working Out at the Gym

 Working out has been a passion of mine for several years. Being “fun sized” (short) added its own set of challenges. My trainer and I tried everything, including using stools to get me on the higher up machines, such as the leg press, to exercise.  Enter iLevel on my power wheelchair. I elevate my wheelchair seat, drive up to the foot hold, stand up, pivot and sit. Commence beat down by my trainer! My favorite is when she says, “I’m in no pain.” Of course, she’s not! Meanwhile, I’m dying.

So, as you can see, iLevel changes the lives of everyone that has the pleasure of seeing it in action. Keep rolling my friends. There is much more to come!

About Alison Chancellor: Alison is a friend of Quantum. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she cheers on her beloved St. Louis Blues at hockey games. Click here to learn more about Alison. 

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

Return to the Life At iLevel page

Six Reasons Why I Love My Power Wheelchair

My name is Maddie Kasten. I’m a 15-year-old, high school sophomore and I’ve been using a manual wheelchair since kindergarten. I just got my first power wheelchair and I am so excited! Here are six reasons why I love my Stretto Power Wheelchair.

My Wheelchair Gives Me Independence 

I use a wheelchair almost everywhere I go, but my arms and shoulders fatigue after a bit from wheeling myself. So, I’ve always had family or friends push me in case I get tired. While I appreciate their help, now that I am in high school, I want to be able to do more things on my own. Plus, having other people push me can be nerve wracking. Like when my family would take walks with our dog, Molly, and my parents ended up pushing my wheelchair, they would get a little too close to the edge of a sidewalk. I worried that I was going to tip over! I much prefer to be in control of my own wheelchair and finally, I am.

My Wheelchair Helps Me Stay Hydrated

I live in Arizona, and this summer it hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit! It’s usually dry and often hot here, so I always need water. When using my manual wheelchair, I would hang a backpack behind me. Anything that couldn’t go in it had to be stored between my knees or between my back and the seat back. Let me tell you: wet pants from a sweaty water bottle? It’s not the look I am going for when hanging out with my friends (not to mention how cold my legs get). So yes, a cup holder is key!

My Power Wheelchair Makes Me Taller

I’m 4’11” and a half. Okay, a quarter. When you’re already the shortest person in the group, being seated when everyone else is standing makes you feel even smaller. People bend way down to talk to me, like I am a little child. If they don’t, I get neck pain from having to look up so much, especially to see my dad and big brother who are 6’3”. With the iLevel feature on my Stretto, I can interact with people face to face. It’s amazing. Plus, people say there’s a lot of other stuff you can see when elevated at iLevel.

My Wheelchair is an Adventure 

I’m not going to lie. When I first tried it out, the Stretto Power Wheelchair brought back a memory of when I got a battery-operated toy car for Christmas. I drove it all around the backyard and it felt awesome. You can’t tell me that the power wheelchair doesn’t remind you a bit of a car with its LED lights and power adjustable seat? Yet, instead of a wheel you get a joystick, like you’re playing a video game! 

Using the USB Charger on My Wheelchair

I don’t know who thought to add a USB charger to this beautiful power chair, so thank you. Do you know how annoying it is to carry a small portable charger around? How easy it is to lose it or just forget to charge it? (It’s very easy.) In fact, the last time I used my portable charger, I accidentally dropped it out of our car window during a Christmas light display tour. It got run over by another car. Seriously, having my motorized wheelchair is like killing two birds with one stone. All I need to do is remember to charge my power chair overnight and I won’t ever have to worry about my phone dying, which is a total disaster when you’re in high school.

My Stretto Motorized Wheelchair Gives Me Freedom

A laptop, binder and other random school materials is a lot to stuff into a backpack. Not to mention it’s heavy to hang on the back of a wheelchair. I have had so much trouble with this at school. Sometimes I wind with all my school stuff and more (see water bottle, # 2, above) in my lap. Having backpack hooks on my Stretto Power Chair, along with a big Quantum backpack, is a huge weight off my shoulders. Literally!

If anyone reading this is considering switching from a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair, I hope my excitement about my new chair helps with your decision!

About Maddie Kasten: Maddie is a Q Roll Model for Quantum Rehab. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and enjoys participating in adaptive sports, playing video games and watching anime. Click here to learn more about Maddie.

For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!

Return to the Life At iLevel page