Wheelchairs come in three main types, each with its own benefits so you can select the one that’s right for your specific needs:
- Self-propelled: If you can propel a wheelchair on your own without assistance, this is the type for you
- Attendant-propelled: If you can’t propel yourself, then you’ll need another person to push and steer the wheelchair
- Powered wheelchairs: These are battery operated and, depending on the type, can be driven on the road as well as on the pavement.
Making the right choice
When choosing a wheelchair, think first about how, when and where you will use it. Are you strong enough with a good hand grip to propel yourself or will you always need help from another person? Is the wheelchair just for indoors use or will you want to go outdoors as well? And if so, must it be easy to fold up and fit in the boot of a car? A wheelchair should be practical and comfortable and the stylish models available today will help the user to look good and feel good. We recommend that you check out what’s available and try it out before you buy.
If you want a wheelchair you can propel yourself, always think carefully about where you will be using it. If it’s indoors, remember that it’s easy to move on a smooth surface such as tiles or lino but a thick pile carpet will require more effort. If it’s outdoors, bear in mind your physical condition and the nature of the terrain. If there are hills where you live, going up can be difficult and coming down dangerous if you can’t control the wheelchair properly.
But if you’re determined to remain independent and your upper body is in good condition, then this could be the right kind of wheelchair for you.
Not everyone can propel a wheelchair without assistance, so although you will feel less independent an attendant propelled model could be the logical choice. Think carefully about the different designs and features available. Wheelchairs with smaller back wheels are lighter and easier to transport, while models with larger back wheels are better for uneven terrain or mounting kerbs. Don’t forget also that you may need a model which folds down easily to fit in a car boot.
Electric wheelchairs are ideal for people who want to stay independent but may not have the strength to manage a self propelled wheelchair. They are perfect for outdoor use, especially around town to do the shopping. With padded seats and adjustable tillers it’s easy to get a comfortable riding position. However, they can be heavy so not every model will fit easily into a standard car if you need to transport it.
Article courtesy of AssistUK