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Muscle Sport Magazine

Wheelchair Buying Guide: The Right Selection Can Go a Long Way!

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Mobility impairment can curb your loved one’s independence to move around anywhere quickly. But don’t worry because this problem is not unusual. Studies show that about 1 in 4 American adults suffer from different types of disability issues, and the most common of them is mobility that happens to almost 1 in 7 adults. And in people aged 65 or more, this becomes even more widespread by affecting about 2 in 5 adults.

If a patient can walk even a few steps within his or home, it is advantageous. Some people in the secured environment of their bathroom can move around with the help of the sinks, walls, or bars. They also use counters in the kitchen while standing or walking. But things become different when the person has to step out of the home where they don’t have walls to support them. In such a scenario, buying assistive living aids for the disabled become indispensable.

People suffering from mobility-related problems for a long time understand that using mobility aids are critical for their freedom of movement. They make their daily living a bit better and comfortable using different devices in different environments based on their health needs. For example, in the home, their wheelchair is the primary support, while when they go to work, their scooters help them. Here are a few examples of the mobility equipment that comes in various shapes, sizes, and forms.

  • Walking cane, walkers, and crutches
  • Manual and powered or electric wheelchairs
  • Three or four wheeler scooters equipped with a tiller

Quite often, people purchase these devices through third parties, such as medical insurance or Medicare or Medicaid, etc. They all have their coverage and purchasing systems. But if you buy these mobility devices without this route, you can quickly choose one from the variety for an affordable price. However, taking suggestions from others can be useful. You can talk to your therapist, rehab technology suppliers, or people in your neighborhood for an idea.

Tips for choosing ambulation aids

The first step to buy a mobility device begins with considering the actual area of the problem. If your loved one cannot roam around even with assistive aids like a cane or a walker, the wheelchair is the only option. If the person can move around in the home or other small areas for functional needs, then buying something that helps them with community mobility can be a good idea.

Generally, there are three types of mobility products that come with wheels, manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, and scooters. Scooters are a decent option, but they are not as safe as the other two. So, here, the discussion will mainly revolve around manual and power wheelchair options.

Manual wheelchairs

Either one person has to push this wheelchair, or the rider has to self-propel it. The dependent mobility systems often come with small rear wheels and resemble strollers in appearance as well as functioning. You can fold the chair for storage purpose while traveling. Some dependent mobility aids provide specific positioning or seating bases as a result of which the seats can tilt or recline or do both, making themselves entirely usable throughout the day for the user. However, these are a bit heavier editions that are difficult to transport.

The self-propelling versions usually have bigger wheels so that riders can propel them with their both arms or legs or single arm or leg. In these types of wheelchair, you have to especially pay attention to the height of the seat from the floor to ensure it offers the highest mobility. Also, make sure there are adjustable back wheels in these manual wheelchairs. It is critical for stability as well as the function of self-propulsion for active manual wheelchair riders who can do a wheelie, i.e., control the chair on the rear wheels.

Power wheelchairs

Earlier, power chairs were nothing but manual wheelchairs fitted with motors, control stick, and batteries. The modern-day versions are unique and advanced. They have two distinguishing features, such as power base and seating. The power base comprises wheels, batteries, motors, and control module. Both these components come in a variety of options.

Power wheelchairs can have any of the three types of drive wheels – rear, mid, and front. Each of these systems has an impact on the way the chair moves. All of them have their upsides and downsides in different environments. Before choosing any particular, take a test drive of all the different systems to understand which is most comfortable. Once found out, you can then select a model of your preference.

Power wheelchairs can offer excellent mobility range without needing much pressure. You can alter them depending on your needs over the period. These can be slightly expensive, but their power seating options make them a good buy. However, when you decide to purchase one, make sure to analyze your opportunities thoroughly beforehand. Here are a few points to note.

What to consider before buying a power wheelchair?

  • Check whether you can fold or disassemble the chair for ease of loading it onto a car, taxi, or bus. Some chairs may require additional effort or equipment to take them apart. But you can still go with the option as it can be useful for both portability and independent movement of the person.

 

  • Keep in mind that power wheelchairs need electricity for charging. If you plan to travel to a remote place with unstable voltage, then it can be a problem. But what is undeniable is that nowadays these chairs come in compact sizes compared to the traditional ones. As a result, you can take them on even rough terrain.

 

  • Find out if you can get replacement parts if something gets damaged in transit.

The right selection of an independent living aid can change the life of your person facing disability issues. Both online and offline stores offer a vast range of choices in these products. For a smart buying experience, analyze all the factors, such as the extent of mobility disability of your dear one, the frequency at which the person would need to use it and where, etc.

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