Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Wheelchair
Updated: Sep 6
Article originally featured on The Island Now
Are you searching for a wheelchair but are overwhelmed by the many options available? Like any other technological device, wheelchairs have a long list of options and features. While this is good, it also means you need to have a clear idea of what you need and want from the start. A wheelchair is a reliable option for someone with mobility issues. While they are often thought of as a temporary mobility solution, many people use wheelchairs as their standard movement. Some wheelchairs are designed to be foldable, which means you can carry one with less hassle. Our wheelchair buying checklist offers you some insights into what you need to know when purchasing a wheelchair.
Electric or Manual?
If you’re buying a wheelchair, you will have to make this one of the most significant distinctions. Ask yourself whether you want a conventional traditional wheelchair or one that is more powerful (electric option). If you have issues with your mobility or a severe health condition that restricts mobility, an electric foldup wheelchair is the right choice. However, if you only require a wheelchair temporarily, a manual wheelchair makes sense and fits your condition. Again, choosing between the two also depends on your personal preference and your budget needs. Choosing a manual wheelchair means that you need to choose between an attendant propelled or a self-propelled type. The latter has larger wheels, which means you can steer yourself with ease.
Body-Build and Shape
Before purchasing a wheelchair, you also need to consider the person’s body build. Additionally, this includes age, too, since adults and children need different chairs. Some factors like body-weight, height, and gender are also vital, and you need to factor them in if you want to buy the right chair. It will help if you consult your healthcare provider or a mobility expert when purchasing a chair. They will conduct an assessment of the affected individual to determine the best viable option.
Dimensions and Size
Size is a vital factor when you’re buying the right wheelchair. You need to pick a wheelchair that will fit you comfortably. Nobody wants to sit in a wheelchair that is too small. Additionally, sitting on a large wheelchair might increase the chances of you slipping out when in motion. Some wheelchair manufacturers provide custom-made options for both adults and children. Finally, it would also help if you familiarize yourself with the different weight limits set for each chair. You can talk to a mobility expert to help you understand the limitations of each chair.
Indoor or Outdoor Use?
Where do you plan to use the mobility device? Ideally, this is the first question you will receive from a vendor when buying a wheelchair. This is a challenging query to answer, even though the answer might seem simple. If you’ll be using the wheelchair outdoors, it also comes with a set of questions. Does it have to fit in a car? Will it go onto grass, such as a park? These questions have varying answers, and the hard part is finding a wheelchair that fits every option. It can be hard to find a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to wheelchairs. Eventually, you will prioritize what you can do, rather than looking for a versatile option.
Studies show the average lifespan of a wheelchair is 2-3 years. For a manual wheelchair, you can use it for five years max. For instance, your mobility needs might change within this time range. Additionally, you may also consider upgrading your wheelchair if your old one wears out. Before buying a wheelchair, it would be best to consider whether you’ll frequently use the wheelchair. Will you be using your wheelchair occasionally? Or, is the wheelchair your primary means of mobility? Answering these queries will help you choose the right wheelchair. This also allows you to utilize the chair optimally throughout its lifespan.
Many customers fail to consider the ease of storage and transportation when buying a wheelchair. While you might only think about your mobility needs at home, it would be best to factor in your movements from place-to-place. Your preferred wheelchair should meet your mobility needs from both ends. Depending on your automobile, you should also think about the dimensions of the wheelchair. If you drive a small model, you can go for a lightweight option that is easy to fold.
Finally, you can also consider factors such as back support. However, this depends on your needs and your medical condition, among others. Buying a wheelchair is not something you want to do alone. It would be best to consult an experienced mobility expert to help in selecting the best choice. It will also help if you work with reputable vendors to avoid getting duped into buying a low-quality wheelchair.
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