If you’re in need of a mobility aid such as a wheelchair as a solution to medium or long term mobility, don’t buy cheap. You’ll probably be sitting in it for a long time and on frequent occasions. You want it built for comfort – not speed. You’ll also want provision for bags and accessories you need for everyday use. If you are in the process of choosing a wheelchair, let me give you a few tips on making the right choice.
No I am not patronising anyone. If you have a disability and are unable to walk for any reason, you’ll probably need a wheelchair for a long time; maybe for life. You wouldn’t want to drive a car with seats which made you uncomfortable, seats which weren’t designed for long distance driving. You would test drive a new car before committing to the purchase so likewise, feel free to ask to test drive a new wheelchair before handing over your money.
If you do need to buy a new kørestol it should have inflatable tyres. Whatever you do don’t opt for a cheap wheelchair with solid wheels. If you do you’ll feel very bump, every pothole and every piece of grit and stone you run over. Inflatable tyres with suitable tread mean no problems when cornering; you’ll also have a much smoother ride and most terrain types will remain accessible.
Make sure the frame is lightweight. A few pounds saved in chair weight will make all the difference, believe me. Whether you’re self mobile or you have someone pushing your wheelchair, the lighter the chair the better for all concerned. Don’t forget you’ll be moving your own weight, plus the chair’s weight and of course the weight of any shopping or accessories you are carrying. The start of your journey may seem easy, but by the end you (or your companion) will know all about it.
Adjustable foot rests
We’re not all the same height, weight or shape. Adjustable height and rake foot rests are essential if you want to maintain comfort when sitting in your chair. Getting your feet, knees and hips in a comfortable position will help maintain good circulation in your legs and feet.
Foldable and easily transported
To maximise the efficiency of a wheelchair, make sure the one you buy that is lightweight (as mentioned earlier) and is foldable. Whether you intend travelling on a plane, train, bus or have your own car, a folding wheel chair is essential. It isn’t only when you’re travelling either. A wheelchair takes up space. If you have to store it by your bedside, sofa or in the hallway of your home, managing space is of a premium.
You may be able to think of other attributes a wheelchair should deliver. Hopefully this has given you food for thought. It is quite daunting purchasing your first (or next) wheelchair. There is so much to consider, you may end up forgetting something.
Do what I did; write a list of items which are a must have. One of my ‘must haves’ was a seat comfortable enough for me to have my granddaughter sit on my lap when we were out together, and a horn for her to tweak when we approached other people.