Most Americans do not ever think they will need a wheelchair but the fact is that many will and do. In 2010, nearly 19% of all Americans have at least one disabling condition. That is nearly 57 million people. Approximately 3.3 million individuals rely on wheelcharis today in the United States. Every year, two million more people start using them. As these are items that more and more people need, there is a lot of variety in what you can get. There are recling wheelchairs and power wheelchairs. As if needing a wheelchair was not a challenging enough thought, there is the adding stress of picking one out. Here are some tips to make that process easier.
Get the Right Wheelchair with These Tips:
- Look into different kinds of wheelchairs. There was a time when there was only one kind of wheelchair and that is all you could get if you found yourself in a situation where you needed one. Luckily, times have changed. Chairs are now available in a wide varity of sizes and styles. There are special chairs designed for children vs. bigger ones for adults. Different consitions and problems require different solutions and there are multiple kinds of chair to accomodate them. For example, reclining wheelchairs are crucial for some people. Do some research into what would be the best option for you and your situation. Children’s chairs often have additional safety and stability features, they are not just smaller versions of adult wheelcharis so make you pay attention to these factors when you are looking at all of your options.
- Get the right fit. Once you have found the right wheelchair, you need to make sure it is the right fit. They need to be really comfortable given the amount of time you or your loved one will spend in them. They should be measured for height, weight and arm length. Many are built to maximize long term sitting comfort but you need to get the right fit.
- What is your wheelchair for? Some people find that they need some help getting around as they get older or have a medical condition that makes traveling more difficult. There are wheelchairs that are only used for specific situations like this and while they do not have all of the bells and whistles full chairs have, they do have some benefits. If you only need them occasionally, you can get a lighter chair that is easy to fold up and put in a car, for example. These are called transport wheelchairs and are great for older people. Geriatric wheelchairs and other transport wheelchairs are also great to have as a second wheelchair if you travel a lot as they are easier to put on planes and trains, etc.
- Accessorize your wheelchair. There are other ways to get the most out of your wheelchair. Buying reclining wheelchairs are not the only way you can get the most from them. Many people get cushions to make the seat more comfortable, leg braces can be added for more stability and security and even weather accessories can be added to protect the user from snow and high winds. You can also get safety accessories to protect the user’s hands from chafing and prevent tipping and sliding.You can also add items to make your life easier such as a laptop tray. You can add on devices to hold an oxygen tank or other medically neccessary items.
Buying a wheelchair can be a hard thing to do. While advances in how wheelchairs are made and the new options they offer may make them easier to use, they also make the process of buying them more complicated. Look at a range, if you can. Try out reclining wheelchairs and different power wheelchairs to see which one fits you and your situation the best. You may find that you or your loved one really likes reclining wheelchairs more than those that do not offer that feature. Today, the wheelchair you buy can be as individual as the person who will be using it.