Wheelchairs are mobility aids that help individuals with injuries or mobility disorders move freely and live independently.. Moreover, wheelchairs are available in multiple styles and are completely customizable.
Wheelchair users can easily adjust the height, width, and add-on features to support their growing frame. But with so many options available, how do you find the right wheelchair for your needs?
Wheelchair choice can vary depending on your condition and usage. This article will discuss the factors you need to consider when buying one.
As stated above, you have a host of multiple wheelchair types to choose from. Among them, there are two major categories – manual and power wheelchairs. This is the first thing you need to consider when buying a wheelchair. Both types have their pros and cons.
For instance, manual wheelchairs are lightweight, small, and can easily fit inside the trunk of any car. Moreover, they are cheaper but require significant upper-body strength to move around, which can be difficult, especially on rough surfaces.
On the other hand, power wheelchairs are completely automatic and excellent mobility aids for users with little to no mobility. They can also handle any terrain without issues but are heavy, bulky, and expensive.
How long will you be using the wheelchair? If you have a minor injury and only need a wheelchair for a short time or specific situations, you should get a manual wheelchair, as it is cost-effective. However, if you have a mobility disorder and don’t have a caregiver available at all times, you need a power wheelchair.
Aside from frequency, where your wheelchair will be used is also a factor to consider. For instance, do you travel frequently? Are you interested in outdoor activities? For rougher and uphill terrains, power wheelchairs are the better option.
Another important aspect of wheelchairs is their positioning and seating. Since a user has to sit in a wheelchair for long periods, it should be comfortable and support good posture, such as evenly distributing weight across the thighs and hips, straight shoulders, etc. You can choose from multiple seat cushions and styles to promote good seating.
The most common seat cushions are made of foam. They are ideal for users who are not at risk of developing pressure ulcers or skin breakdown. If that’s not the case, you should opt for gel cushions. You can also use air cushions to maximize blood flow, help with injury recovery, and reduce pressure sores.
You can customize your wheelchair with multiple accessories and add-ons; however, most wheelchairs come with these, which is something you need to look at when you’re buying one. Some important features include
● Legrests – elevating, articulating, or swing-away
● Armrests – full-length or desk-length, fixed or movable
● Saddlebags or baskets for storage
● Spare battery pack (for power wheelchairs)
Remember to consider the wheelchair type based on weight, usage frequency, and traveling needs when you’re in the market for a new wheelchair. Once you decide on a wheelchair, measure the back height, back-to-floor height, and seat dimensions to ensure it suits your body and promotes good posture.