With different types of arthritis and other chronic illnesses, it’s not always easy to know from one day to the next how our mobility may change. One of the most difficult things that those of us in wheelchairs face is getting vehicles that are wheelchair-accessible.
NMEDA, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association.
I was originally introduced to them at the Abilities Expo in Chicago last year. NMEDA is a non-profit originally based in Florida that focuses on helping those of us living with mobility issues to live our fullest lives possible by providing a safe place to acquire mobility equipment. Since 1989, they have gone national in the United States and Canada. Now there are over 600 members of NMEDA, all focused on that same goal.
One of the things that makes NMEDA great is their Quality Assurance Program (NMEDA QAP).
The QAP is the only national recognized accreditation program in the mobility equipment industry. This program helps to keep quality high in order to protect the consumer. Requirements of the program include having a certified welder if modifications are done on site, undergoing annual audits, having a dedicated contact number for mobility-related issues and questions, and making sure to have their shops and dealerships ADA-compliant.
The biggest benefits for customers working with a NMEDA QAP dealer include: in-person evaluations, specialized training of equipment, 24-hour local emergency roadside services and so much more!
I honestly had no idea how many amazing accessible options there were for car-related accessibility issues. NMEDA mobility equipment dealers offer wheelchair ramps, hand controls and steering aids, transfer seats and seating solutions, wheelchair securement and tie downs, scooter lifts and special acceleration and braking solutions for adaptive vehicles.
My great grandmother had MS, but she did not have an accessible vehicle. Due to this, she was quickly forced from being in the driver's seat to always being a passenger in my lifetime... She hated it. It's amazing to see the options that could have been available to her if she was alive today.
She would have loved having this freedom.
I think she also would have loved the great financing options that NMEDA has compiled. Part of why she didn't have an accessible vehicle is because they are so expensive. NMEDA, though, has information on state agencies, public assistance, grants, and ideas for crowdfunding on their site.
testimonials on their website help to highlight this important work as well.
One of the things that I love about NMEDA is that they take the time to recognize leaders in the industry who have made a difference for those of us with mobility issues through their Hall of Fame. Currently, there are 18 people in the hall of fame, all of whom have helped people with mobility issues to live well through their innovations and non-profit work.
Make sure to check out the vast mobility- and illness-related resources they have on their site.
Photos were provided by NMEDA.