Using a mobility aid, like a wheelchair, offers users a new sense of freedom and independence. There’s no doubt that having a wheelchair is important for those with limited mobility. However, wheelchairs can be a big investment, with even a simple, no-frills chair costing around $500. With that price rising sharply with every additional feature, it’s important to know what questions to ask before buying one.
Powered or Manual?
If you have good arm and shoulder strength, or will not need to propel yourself (say, if you have a full-time caregiver who will be pushing you), then a manual chair is a great option as it’s often less expensive and easier to transport than a powered chair. If you are going to be by yourself a lot and don’t have the strength to self-propel, you may want to consider a powered wheelchair.
Does It Have Adequate Back Support?
If you have spinal issues or core weakness, a well-padded back will keep the wheelchair from bruising you or causing discomfort from a lack of support. Consider the height of the back you’ll need to keep yourself upright without exerting too much effort.
How Easy Is The Chair To Transport?
If you’ll be taking your chair with you in a car or van that doesn’t have space for a full-sized wheelchair, then a foldable option will make it easier to get around. However, these are considered by many to be less comfortable and sturdy than a rigid-body wheelchair, so if you can afford it, you may want to buy two chairs – a foldable one for short-term use when out and about and a rigid-body chair for everyday use.
What Type Of Terrain Will The Chair Be Used On?
If it will be used on gravel, cobbles, or dirt, then you’ll need a rugged set of wheels with good tread to keep your chair from getting bogged down or pushed off course.
How Much Time Are You Spending In The Wheelchair On An Average Day?
If you’re spending all day in the chair, you’ll want good padding in the seat to avoid pressure sores or discomfort. Also think about where the armrests are located, to avoid chafing or rubbing.
Does It Have Arm or Footrests?
If you have conditions that require your legs to be elevated, then there are add-ons that can achieve this. People with long legs will need to find a chair with an articulating footrest to accommodate them and avoid discomfort.
Have You Used a Wheelchair Before? What Did You Like/Dislike?
To help you determine what features you’re looking for, consider the following questions:
• How comfortable was the wheelchair?
• Did you have any problems with maneuverability?
• Was it too heavy or light for you?
We hope that this list has given you some food for thought. If you have any other questions, Balance Mobility would be happy to help you get the answers and find the perfect product for you. Get in touch and our friendly staff will help you get back to independent and pain-free mobility.