How to choose the right wheelchair for you
If you or a loved one needs a wheelchair, it’s important to choose the right one. There are many different types of wheelchairs available, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. So how do you know which is the best for you?
Here are some tips:
1. Decide what type of wheelchair you need. There are three main types: standard manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and scooters. Standard manual wheelchairs are the most common type; they require physical strength to push them around. Power wheelchairs are powered by batteries and can be controlled with a joystick or other device; they’re ideal for people who have difficulty using their arms or legs. Scooters are like miniature cars; they can be operated by hand or foot, and are very fast. Scooters are generally not covered by insurance unless they’re prescribed for medical purposes.
2. Consider your daily activities. What type of activities will you want to do in the wheelchair? If you plan to go shopping or dining out, a scooter might work well since it has storage space, but if you need more stability for transportation around town, a power wheelchair is probably best. Standard wheelchairs are good for errands around the house where speed isn’t important. If you travel frequently, consider getting one that folds up so it can fit inside your car more easily, or get an airport-friendly wheelchair with smaller wheels so it can fit through tight spaces like the airplane aisle.
2a. Remember that you may need to store your wheelchair when it’s not in use. If this will be difficult for you, choose one with removable parts like armrests or footplates. Even if storage space is not an issue now, it might become one as you get older or your home circumstances change; having a wheelchair with removable parts means that the chair can grow with you (and it might come in handy if you ever move).
3. Do some research before buying. Don’t rush into making a decision; instead, check out several different models and brands of wheelchairs to find the one that suits your lifestyle best. You may want to try out the wheel at stores where they sell them; many stores will also let you take a model home for a test drive.
Here’s more information about wheelchairs:
1. For most manual wheelchairs, the seat-to-floor height is adjustable with a hand knob (not all manual chairs can be adjusted). If there’s no knob, the seat is fixed and cannot be lowered; this type of chair might not be right if you have low muscle tone or hip flexors that allow your legs to drop towards the floor as they bear weight. Make sure you can easily reach the ground when seated in such a wheelchair before buying!
2. The push handle height should be adjustable so that it’s comfortable for your body and easily reachable for pushing – at least elbow and preferably shoulder height. Make sure that it has a soft padded grip so you’re comfortable pushing it for long periods.
3. Wheelchair rear wheels are usually between 20-24 inches in diameter, while front caster wheels are much smaller, about 10-12 inches. Smaller caster wheels can rotate 360 degrees, but larger ones will turn less than half a rotation to provide stability and strength. If you plan on using your wheelchair indoors most of the time, think about getting one with all four caster wheels instead of two large ones upfront; this makes it easier to push since there are more places for your hands to grasp the push bar.
4. Not all manual wheelchairs have leg rests – these are optional accessories for sitting upright if you need support. Before purchasing a wheelchair, sit down in it and see if you need leg rests or not. You can also check prices online before buying – some places sell only the frame of the wheelchair without armrests, push bars, etc., which might work out cheaper for you.
5. Most manual wheelchairs have a footrest with a wide range of adjustability – they can be moved forward or backward as needed to provide support under your legs. Some footplates fold up so that either the back half of your leg is supported by them while the front is on the floor (appropriate for people who use their arms to lift themselves from a sitting position) or both halves are supported but bent at an angle more comfortable for those with spinal cord injuries (appropriate for people who use their arms to help move forward in a walking motion).
6. Wheelchair tires vary in size and durability; the larger the tire, the more weight it can support before wearing down. The most common sizes are 16 inches and 18 inches; each has its benefits and drawbacks: smaller wheels require less pushing strength while larger ones can carry you over rougher surfaces like trails and grass. Check which type of terrain you’ll be using your wheelchair on frequently to make sure you get one that’s appropriate for it.
Choosing the right wheelchair for you can be a daunting task. There are so many different models and brands to choose from, all with their own pros and cons that it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why this blog post is here – we want to help!