Out into nature – thanks to the right assistive devices
Lea Habekost loves being out in nature. Whether in the forest with her dog or in the mountains with her family – no path is too difficult for the 22-year-old. Also thanks to an additional wheel and drive for her wheelchair. Where she thinks the assistive technology industry should definitely remain flexible and how she rolls otherwise, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Lea Habekost Age: 22 City: Near Bremen, Germany Occupation: Training as a social insurance clerk Disability: Paraparesis sub TH12, CRPS since accident 2019
Lea Habekost: For me, a good day is when I have checked off my to-do list and can fall asleep in the evening with a smile on my face. You also have to be able to stand above things sometimes and see the good in a not so successful day.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Lea Habekost:I sit in my everyday wheelchair most of the day. At work, I have my ergonomic work wheelchair with Tarta back, which I wouldn't want to miss. Since I like to be out in nature with my dog, I love my front wheel from Molab and my auxiliary drive, the Smartdrive. Otherwise, I own two electronic orthoses (C-Brace) with which I can stand.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Lea Habekost:We are all equal! I think we should all see ourselves as equal and not patronize anyone just because he or she has an impairment. I think that we should all be equal, be it in the job market as well as in everyday life, going out on the town, using public transport or receiving social benefits. This is far from being achieved in our society today!
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Lea Habekost: An assistive device that allows you to climb stairs independently and flexibly. And which is affordable at the same time. In general, assistive devices should be developed to be more modern and normal-looking and, above all, space-saving. After all, that's quite a few devices that come together in everyday life.
Climbing a two-thousand-meter mountain with her family was one of the best challenges Lea Habekost has faced in recent times.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Lea Habekost: My biggest challenge was my return to work. My family and my employer have been very helpful in this and make it possible for me to work flexibly in the first labor market with my impairment. I am very proud of this!
My last challenge was my long-awaited vacation in the Alps. We actually managed as a family to climb a two thousand meter mountain in a wheelchair and enjoy the wonderful view from the top. We worked towards that for a long time.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future?
Lea Habekost: The assistive technology industry should definitely retain the flexibility of online consultations from the pandemic. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, there were long waiting times for medical device assessments, which are only now being gradually processed. Manufacturers of assistive devices should continue to provide support for patients in the application process. Many do not appeal rejections because they lack support. That is a great pity.
If nothing was impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Lea Habekost: I would love to meet Kristina Vogel one day. With her story, she is a great inspiration for me. I think she has proudly fought her way to the top. She stands up for her rights and fights so that tolerance and equality are no longer foreign words in our society.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Lea Habekost: My best experience at REHACARE this year was the sports activities. Being able to get a taste of everything. A visit is really recommendable.
What I wanted to say...
Lea Habekost: Keep your head up and a smile on your face, even when things are going downhill. One day it will go uphill again...