Let’s face it, mobility is important. While it may look different for everyone – the fact remains that life can be quite difficult without it. For many, choosing the best wheelchair for their specific need can make a world of difference. But how can one be certain what is right for them?
There are many types of wheelchairs out on the market and often this task can seem quite daunting. These chairs range from sports, paraplegic, heavy-duty, pediatric, seniors, narrow, standing, electric, manual, to custom made, and many more. In this article, you will find loads of information that will help you decipher what is the most suitable type of wheelchair that fits not only into what you can afford, but also, what fits your needs, daily living, and lifestyle.
Some important features to consider when choosing a suitable wheelchair include:
- Is the wheelchair comfortable?
- How is the cushioning?
- What is the size of the seat?
- How is the turning radius for the wheelchair?
- What is the height and weight of the wheelchair?
- Are there any weight limits with the wheelchair?
- How are the armrests and leg rests?
- What is the longevity of the wheelchair?
- What is the frame like?
- How is the safety of the wheelchair?
- What is its purpose?
- How much does it cost? Is it covered by insurance?
It’s All About Comfort
When searching for just the right wheelchair you want to be sure that it is one that will be comfortable for the individual using it. Remember, they could be spending a lot of time seated. By examining the padding of the seat or adding cushioning, you can find reassurance that the proper support can provide better posture and improve one’s ability to maneuver freely, and prevent further pressure, soreness, or stiffness.
Furthermore, it should be considered that seating is a very important key element for all wheelchairs. The materials used for seats are often either vinyl or nylon to make them easier to clean. Also, one should consider the width and depth of the seat.
Size It Up
Regarding seat width, the most common seat sizes range from fourteen inches and up to twenty inches. The average normally falls around eighteen inches. Measuring from the hip, while the user is sitting in an active, yet natural position will help in choosing what size is best suited. Seat width is measured from one armrest to the other, while the depth is measured from the front portion of the seat to the back resting portion of the seat.
To figure out seat height, you want to measure how high from the ground that the seat is positioned. For someone who is over five feet, the height is twenty to twenty-one inches. If a chair is sitting higher than it should be, then it could cause problems for the individual to transfer from the wheelchair easily.
Another factor that you should consider is how high the chair is. The taller the wheelchair the harder it is to move, even when transporting the wheelchair by vehicle. Folding or collapsible chairs are often smaller in size.
While taking into consideration the size of the chair, you also want to examine the weight. Transport wheelchairs are lighter in weight and easier to manage during travel. There is a wide range in the weight of wheelchairs. Some can weigh as little as nineteen pounds, while others, like power wheelchairs, can weigh as much as sixty-five pounds.
Lastly, think about what the weight capacity of the wheelchair is. A more petite wheelchair user won’t need a larger, heavier wheelchair. Whereas a bariatric person will need the accommodation of the larger frame.
Typically, wheelchairs can be good for around four to five years. Depending on how well it is being kept up and whether it is being properly stored will determine how long the actual chair will last. Using a wheelchair properly will also aid in lengthening its lifespan.
So, when looking for a proper wheelchair try considering what it will be needed for, how it will be stored and maintained, Also, does the wheelchair require a battery? Like car batteries, you want to ensure that you are caring for it properly. A new battery could last around six months, possibly longer if appropriately cared for.
What is the true purpose or need for a wheelchair? This is quite different for everyone as no one’s needs are identical. Think realistically about what you or the wheelchair user need to achieve to have a good quality of life. For example, if the person spends a lot of time outdoors and is active then a basic indoor wheelchair will not be the best option for them.
What kind of physical limitations does the wheelchair user have? What are their age, weight, and size? All of these play an important role in deciding what is the perfect fit.
When considering expenses, you will want to consider every avenue of not just what needs to be paid upfront, but also what is the cost for keeping the equipment in good working order, any accessories that may be needed, and whether there will be a need for any customizations now or further down the road.
Like your vehicle, you want to consider the style of the wheelchair, as well as, who made it and how new it needs to be. And just as a vehicle, a wheelchair can be rented or purchased. If the need is not permanent, taking advantage of a rental may be a better option.
According to CostHelper, “A standard, manual wheelchair costs an average of $500”. Everyday use can range from $1,000 to $2,000, while power wheelchairs can get up to $30,000.
|Manual Wheelchair||$1,000 to $2,000|
|Power Wheelchair||Up to $30,000|
About the author:
Trevor Fenner is the founder and owner of Mobility Paradise, a one-stop-shop for mobility scooters, electric scooters, electric wheelchairs, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, lift chairs, saunas, steam showers, massage tables, exercise equipment, electric bikes, massage chairs, and bathtubs. Years ago, Trevor’s grandma had an accident that made her dependent on a wheelchair; this forced Trevor and his family to put her into an elderly care facility. Since then, Trevor would visit her to take a walk around the neighborhood. Mobility Paradise was created because Trevor couldn’t find an online store that offers a wide selection of mobility equipment and educational resources. What started as a business focusing on mobility scooters grew to include all kinds of mobility products. You can shop for the most reliable mobility products at Mobility Paradise.