For patients who suffer from any mobility impairment, a wheelchair is heaven-sent. This can provide much-needed relief, so they can enjoy a better quality of life despite their disability. With technology by their side, there are now so many wheelchairs to choose from, with many features. This is both an advantage and disadvantage as it may also make your pursuit of selecting a wheelchair quite confusing and more difficult. Because it’s a significant and pricey purchase, you’ll want to ensure you’re making the right choice.
Choosing the right wheelchair is essentially a personal choice, depending on the preference and needs of the person who’ll end up using it. This means taking into consideration the current state of mobility and the strength of your back. There are also certain adjustments to make the wheelchair more functional, along with other factors such as budget and existing features.
This article offers helpful guidelines that you can use when choosing a wheelchair.
1. Narrow Down Based On The Kind Of Wheelchair
Wheelchairs are available in two different styles: manual and electric. Both provide the necessary support and maneuverability, but there are differences between them. Because this is something you’re going to use every day, you have to do enough research for you to find the most suitable kind of wheelchair for your needs.
To help you with this choice, here are some of the key distinctions between a manual and an electric wheelchair.
- Manual wheelchairs are very straightforward and simple to use. With the newer models, you’ll find more advanced feature, to help improve the overall functionality and the user’s comfort. Manual wheelchairs are also easy to bring around, more cost-effective than the electric models, and also requires very little maintenance.
As for its drawbacks, manual wheelchairs can be difficult to use particularly for those who don’t have enough strength and mobility to move it around by themselves. Otherwise, you’ll also need someone to come along and push the wheelchair for you, whether you’re out-and-about for your needs, getting therapy sessions, or even doing something as simple as moving around at home.
- Electronic wheelchairs, also known as power wheelchairs, have more options for customization to help improve your overall comfort level. If you aren’t that mobile yet, power wheelchairs can do all the work for you, so you can get on with your daily life with more mobility. Power wheelchairs are also beneficial for use on so many different kinds of surfaces.
The downside of electronic wheelchairs, however, is that it could be more expensive than the manual ones. So, if you’re on a budget, you may have to stick with a manual one. If you’re lucky, you may also find secondhand wheelchairs that are affordable. These also need more maintenance.
2. Get Measured
For those that need a wheelchair for their comfort and day-to-day living, it’s very important for whoever will use the wheelchair to stay comfortable. Hence, before heading out to shop and choosing from among the varied options, you’ve got to measure your entire body. That way, when your leg is at a state of rest, from the seat to the leg itself, it’s comfortable.
Here’s a quick guide as to how you should measure yourself:
- The overall width, as your wheelchair should be able to move through seamlessly around corridors and doors;
- The seat dimensions, as you’ll need to be able to still shift your body from side to side while on your wheelchair;
- The back height, which means the measurement from your shoulders down to your pelvis when you’re in a seated position.
3. Consider The Purpose
You also need to think about how you’ll use your wheelchair. For instance, if you plan to travel by airplane or need a wheelchair for someone who’s permanently paralyzed, you should choose a lightweight electric model. This makes for better mobility, and it’s also lightweight. You also have the option of folding the chair up for easier storage.
You should also consider the practicality of the wheelchair. If you’ve got poor mobility, for example, safety features like emergency brakes can help ensure that you stay safe on your power wheelchair.
4. Stay Within Your Budget
Most importantly, consider the cost. There are several different types of wheelchairs available in the market today, so you’re sure to find one that fits the budget. It’s not about finding the most expensive one. Work within your budget, then study each of the pros and cons of each option within your budget range.
You wouldn’t want to add this expense on top of all the other financial responsibilities you may already have. Check with your insurance provider as well if the purchase of this device is part of your coverage.
These tips are only a few of the many you can follow as you go about finding the right wheelchair. Essentially, as you go shopping, it’s helpful to bring the person who will be using the wheelchair. That way, they can try it out for themselves to gauge whether it’s the one that they truly need.