Buying your first wheelchair is just as stressful as purchasing an upgrade. The market is full of specialized models, each with unique benefits and features. So how can you make sure your next wheelchair fits your lifestyle for as long as you need?
To make this complicated matter simple, we’ve highlighted some key points you should consider. By taking these aspects into account, you can turn an overwhelming decision into a fun one. Keep reading this guide to put yourself in the driver’s seat and find a wheelchair that gives you the freedom you deserve.
Aspects to Consider When Purchasing Your Wheelchair
Before you find your perfect match, you’ll need to answer a few questions. Here you’re going to need to take into consideration three key points. These three aspects are your comfort, your lifestyle, and where you live.
Regardless of the type of disability you have, you’re going to be using your wheelchair a lot. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable. So the first crucial step to finding the perfect wheelchair involves your weight and size.
The rule of thumb is that your seat and backrest are between 2 and 4 cm bigger than your hips. That way, you won’t feel pinched or stuck while maneuvering. Every wheelchair has a weight rating, so you must pick a model that can carry you without any issues.
The next step you’ll need to take into account is what kind of lifestyle you lead. Some might want to take part in sporting activities, so a lightweight frame is essential. Others may want to transport their wheelchairs in the car, requiring a foldable chair.
Other accessories include cane holders, baskets to hold things like shopping bags, and collapsible footrests. Although a big task, try to imagine your typical day and then think about what you’ll need to make it a bit easier.
The last aspect you should consider is the environment you live in. For example, if you live in a humid climate, you’ll need a wheelchair with anti-rust. In comparison, you may stay somewhere cold, in which case you’ll need a wider seat so that you’re still comfy while wearing thick clothing.
Electric or Manual?
Now that you know what you’ll need from a wheelchair, the next part involves picking between an electric or manual model. This decision relies heavily on the level of your autonomy and whether or not you intend on being fully independent or not.
Electric wheelchairs are usually best for those who aren’t able to propel themselves forward. You can find a wide range of these models, each offering something different. For example, there are indoor models perfect for navigating around the house.
On the other hand, you may want a more robust design, allowing you to go outdoors and traverse rough surfaces. One downside to electric wheelchairs, though, is their additional weight.
Manual wheelchairs are cheaper, making them a better choice if you have a budget. Again there are different types of models, aimed at the level of autonomy of the user. Large back wheels help those who can propel themselves, giving them increased independence. In contrast, models with small wheels allow someone to push you in your wheelchair easily.
As you can see, there are several important factors to consider before buying a wheelchair. Always begin by answering the three key questions involving your size, lifestyle and surroundings.
Next, consider your level of autonomy and how independent you’d like to be when picking between electric and manual. By following these steps, you’re guaranteed to purchase the best wheelchair for your needs.