Things to Consider Before Buying a Wheelchair
You will get advice from many people in your choice of wheelchair! Before you make the final decision, these are some things to take into account
Manual or Power chair?
This is a major decision, and there are some key things to think of first! Let’s step away from this question and address another point!
Your Scope of Travel
How mobile you are changes your needs markedly. Critically do you want or need to be independent while travelling? If so then the very first item to address is how do you get your chair in a vehicle? And indeed what vehicle will you need to do this? It is very likely you will need a different vehicle now your chair is with you all the time.
Is Independence Important?
Having a carer or attendant come with you resolves a number of issues – if they are fit and able to lift the wheelchair. But this means loss of independence and that is not easily accepted. Let’s look at keeping you independent!
Driving either from a wheelchair or transferring from your wheelchair to the driver’s seat has many factors to consider, and generally a driving assessor is needed.
But the point being made here, is that if you are being offered or deciding on a wheelchair as part of a rehab process there must be some consideration of cars / vans / driving before settling on the broad category of wheelchair!
Back to Chair Types!
So lets look at 4 categories of chairs that are up for consideration:
- a manual wheelchair, where you push by the pushrims
- a power chair, driven by batteries, motors and a joystick
- a manual wheelchair with power assist, operated by a joystick, or other means
- A self-balancing device like the Omeo
If you are in a power chair, the vehicle you need will automatically be a quite large van, with many complicated and expensive fittings. This is a major limitation to your options. The chairs are very heavy and cannot be lifted easily.
The options for manual chairs with power assist, or manual chairs are much wider. If you want or need a smaller vehicle, a more dynamic one, or want the comfort of travelling belted in a normal driver’s seat, then you will be avoiding options 2!
Abiliquip and Vehicles
This business of managing your mobility devices / wheelchairs / scooters when travelling in cars is exactly what Abiliquip is about. We lead the world in this space. Come talk with us and we can show you what can be done!
How long will you spend in it?
If it is virtually all of the time, it is going to be critical that it has all the things you need! If its occasional use only, its less important of course.
Full-time use will mean:
- comfort is important – special cushions and back support can help with this
- you must be able to take it everywhere you will be! think of:
- ease of movement / weight
- width for doorways – what is the narrowest space in your house
Will your new wheelchair work with your current vehicle?
Unfortunately there is no set guideline saying what chairs can fit in what cars because every car varies in how much room they have. For people who want to maintain independence, you won’t want to have to buy a new car on top of all the other equipment for getting around. The best way to approach this is to talk to specialists who can match chairs to vehicles based on experience, and help with modifications if necessary.
If being able to get around in your current vehicle is a priority for you, Abiliquip is a specialist when it comes to wheelchairs and vehicle modifications. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and help find the right chair for you. At any stage of your decision feel free to contact us.