Wheelchairs can greatly improve the quality of life for people who need them. A quality wheelchair provides mobility and independence and gives people with special needs the option to travel around places which they would not otherwise be able to. If you are looking for an ideal wheelchair either for you or someone in need, you may be surprised by a large number of options available in the market.
Wheelchairs vary in weight, size, and features, and in order to buy the right wheelchair, you will have to look into different factors such as whether a manual or electric wheelchair will work better for your needs, or whether the person using this wheelchair has good mobility or severe limitations.
This article is a guide to the qualities you should look for when choosing a wheelchair.
Choosing the Right Wheelchair for Seniors
With age comes mobile difficulties, this is when wheelchairs can greatly assist seniors in their daily routines with or without assistance. The experts at ChairInstitute.com explains that seniors can stay mobile and independent for longer with appropriate wheelchair choices. For senior users, there are various types of wheelchairs that can be suitable for every requirement. Manual wheelchairs that are lightweight work well for seniors who would like to travel outside for quick errands while wheelchairs with reclining and tilting seats can be helpful for those who require help to get in and out of bed and take trips to the bathroom.
Types of Wheelchairs Available
Generally speaking, there are three types of wheelchairs commonly available on the market. These are manual wheelchairs, electric or powered wheelchairs, and portable wheelchairs. Depending on how you intend to use the wheelchair, choose accordingly with regard to wheel size and features. For instance, consider if the wheelchair will often be packed into a car or not, whether the wheelchair will be used mostly indoor or outdoor and whether there will be many obstacles expected in its daily usage. Keep in mind that wheelchairs with large wheels are better than small-wheeled models for use in outdoor areas, especially when it comes to uneven terrain. Generally, electric wheelchairs are heavier than manual wheelchairs due to their stronger frames, which support the weight of the battery and motor.
1. Manual Wheelchairs
Manual wheelchairs are ideal for people who require a wheelchair for mobility all or most of the time. Manual wheelchairs can also be helpful for people who can walk but cannot walk long distances. In order to use a manual wheelchair, users need to have enough strength in their arms to self-propel their wheelchair. However, if self-propelling is not possible, attendant-propelled wheelchairs can be a good option. Note that the majority of self-propelled wheelchairs are designed with push handles as well, so that they can be both self-propelled or pushed by someone else. In terms of size, self-propelled manual wheelchairs tend to have larger back wheels than attendant-propelled wheelchairs for users’ control efficiency.
2. Electric or Powered Wheelchairs
Electric wheelchairs are ideal for users who do not have sufficient arm strength to self-propel a manual wheelchair while preferring to be mobile on their own without attendants. More than that, electric wheelchairs are great for longer distance journeys for those with sufficient arm strength too. When choosing an electric wheelchair, it is important that you pay attention to its driving controls, batteries, and storage.
For drive controls, make sure that the controls are well adjusted so as to be suitable for the intended user as both over- and under-sensitive controls can be troublesome. When it comes to the battery, consider factors such as battery capacity to make sure users can charge the wheelchair and use it uninterruptedly during their daily routine. For large wheelchairs that are intended to be used outdoors, it can be challenging to store them in indoor areas. Make sure that your intended storage place is spacious enough and suitable for the wheelchair before buying it.
3. Portable or Folding Wheelchairs
If the wheelchair is expected to be transported regularly, a portable or folding wheelchair is a great option. In contrast to manual and electric wheelchairs, portable wheelchairs are noticeably lighter in weight. However, it is important to note that fixed frame wheelchairs are generally more robust. Folding wheelchairs are generally manually powered and so they are not suitable for users who need an electric wheelchair.
Having a good wheelchair can provide so positive benefits in the daily lives of people who are in need of assisted mobility. Use this article to identify the right qualities when considering which wheelchair to purchase. A quality wheelchair can really transform someone’s life so make sure to do the research needed to make the right choice.