How to Choose a Wheelchair – A Step by Step Guide
Choosing a wheelchair is an important choice. There are many things to take into consideration when buying one to make sure all your needs are met. You also want to make sure that you make a safe purchase for you or your loved one and that you have all the functionality you are looking for. So, let’s go over some things that will help you when it comes to guide to choose a wheelchair that is right for you!
Consideration Criteria for Choosing a Wheelchair
Now we get to move on to the different criteria to consider when looking to purchase a wheelchair. Criteria needs and wants can vary from person to person, but this is a great list to use as a basic guide to buying the best wheelchair.
first thing to take into consideration is what type of manual wheelchair do you need. There are several types of wheelchairs to choose from. Your choice needs to be based on your needs. There are wheelchairs for occasional use such as transportation and there are wheelchairs that are made for more fulltime use. Transportation wheelchairs usually tend to take on a basic design, with basic amenities. Where fulltime use wheelchairs tend to offer a better build and more cushioning.
Electric or Non-Electric
Non Electric Wheelchair
the next thing to consider is do you need electric wheelchair or non-electric wheelchair? Electric is great for those who need one fulltime that may not be able to use a manual. It is also a great solution for those that don’t have extra helping hands on occasion. Manual non-electric are a good choice for those that don’t mind using one and can operate either themselves or have someone to help operate them for them. Manual wheelchairs are also lighter then electric wheelchairs and are easier to store during travel.So manuals are the best lightweight wheelchair option available.
whether you are choosing electric or manual, you need to consider the size of the wheelchair that you are going to get. Some are wider than others due to the build. So you want to make sure that the wheelchair you choose will accommodate such things as doorways in your home and other places you may frequent. Also, if you plan on traveling with it or need to store it, you want to make sure it will meet your size needs for that as well.
Type of Wheels
the wheels are one of the most important factors of your wheelchair. The type of wheels you choose should depend on a few factors. One is terrain, do you plan to use it indoors, outdoors or a combination of both? Narrower tires are perfect for indoor use because it makes them easier to move around tighter spaces such as doorways and furniture. They also tend to have less traction tread because it is not needed. If you will be using the wheelchair outdoors you will want the wider tires with ample treading due to the changing terrain. Sidewalks, crosswalks, gravel or grass will require some gripping power. So always make sure the wheels you choose fit your needs upon purchasing.
yes I know it almost sounds like we are talking about cars here. Shocks are in important factor though. Wheelchairs can make for a rough ride without them, which is most cases ok for simple transport. If you intend on using the wheelchair fulltime though, you will want to make sure you have comfort in mind. Shocks can help with making the ride a lot less bumpy. It is also a great way to support and disburse weight, making your wheelchair more effective. It also saves on the wear and tear on your wheelchair.
there are many different types of accessories available for both types of wheelchairs. Some may want more than others depending on needs and wants. You can get fixed or swing away foot rests, leg rests, adjustable leg rests for elevation, head rests and more. If a headrest is needed there are several types of those available as well. There are many types of headrests as well.
this is also an important factor. Manual wheelchairs are easier to operate if purchased within the right weight range. When figuring out weight capacity you want to consider the weight of the person using it as well as any equipment that may also be hung on it. Such as if oxygen tanks need to be stored on it or other items. When it comes to electric wheelchairs, exceeding weight can make the wheelchair bog down. It also makes it harder on the wheelchair motor and other components.
it is a factor that many of us need to take into consideration. Of course, manual wheelchairs tend to be on the more affordable end. Electric wheelchairs are on the higher end for obvious reasons. Accessories can also add to the price, so if you are trying to stick to a budget it is best to stick with needs over wants. Some companies will sometimes include somethings, but that can vary by company.
you always want to make sure you choose from a reputable company like Drive Medical. That way you know you can count on them should there be a problem. A reputable company will also provide wheelchairs that you can trust. Which is a big factor, since safety is important when it comes to a wheelchair. Some companies even offer programs for trade-ins and other things. Again, though that can vary from company to company.
you also want to make sure what kind of service warranty the company you are thinking about purchasing from is what you are looking for. A reputable company will have a great service warranty/service setup.
These are the basic main things to take into consideration when wanting to know how to choose a wheelchair. Hopefully these will have you well on your way to finding the one for you. Wheelchairs have been a great help for many over the years and they only keep getting better. Wheelchairs are available for both children and adults, so features and styles can vary between the two.