Tips for choosing a Wheelchair
If you are looking to upgrade your current wheelchair, were prescribed to start using one or are looking to get one for someone in your family, here are the best tips for choosing a wheelchair.
To pick the right wheelchair is very important since you need to keep in mind the comfort and safety of its user. In today's market you'll find a variety of wheelchairs and mobility aids that make it harder to decide on which could the best for what you need. To try to make it easier to make the right decision there are certain aspects of the chair to take into consideration:
- The wheelchair type. There are 3 basic models of chairs. The self propelled, which is built with push rims on the outside of the wheels that are controlled by the user. The attendant propelled, that can come with the push rims or small wheels and is steered by someone else and the electric powered chairs that come with a small electric motor to guide the chair. In the first two cases the wheels play a big part, large wheels are usually placed on the back of a folding wheelchair, this makes them agile to move around furniture, sinks, etc. Obstacles such as curbs can be overcome by tilting the chair.
- Who will "drive" it? It all depends if the person (in case of using a self propelled chair) has the capability of steering the wheels and pushing their own weight.
- Time of Use. Whether if it will be for permanent or temporary use, it is also good to keep in mind if it will be used indoors or outdoors. For folding wheelchairs that are mainly used outdoors it is better to have tires on all four wheels, the main benefit is the good suspending properties. The use of puncture-proof tires on the bigger wheels makes driving easy maintaining a similar pneumatic comfort.
- Manufacturing Material. Although it might sound strange... the lighter the chair the more expensive it will be. There is a big variety of chairs, therefore a large range of chair weights. Some are made from aluminum, others of steel and others from high tech materials designed especially for comfort and extra security like titanium or carbon fiber.
- Full Extras. The seat size, angle, arm support and style can influence and be a determining point on deciding to purchase a certain chair. As for the seat width, generally, you should sit back and if needed be able to wear a coat. Depending on the user's weight could be the size of the cushion, however the common size that fits all is the 43cm wide seat. Heavier users can decide on using thicker seats of 48cm to 51cm. Above these widths are usually the seats with special design and requirements.