Daunting as it may seems, buying a wheelchair to assist yourself or your loved ones is not as bad as it seems. Generally, a wheelchair’s main purpose is to enable the user to get from Point A to Point B and to assist in daily living activities despite the physical challenges that may arise. Wheelchairs today are no longer a one size fits all equipment, most wheelchairs available today features different sizes, shapes, and functionality. It is important to consider how you will be using the wheelchair and how long you will require such a device.
The biggest distinction when choosing a wheelchair typically come down to two choices. Do you want the more traditional manual wheelchair or opt for a powerful electric-powered option? If you have impaired mobility or certain medical conditions that requires additional assistance, an electric wheelchair will provide the most satisfaction.
Whereas, if you only require a wheelchair for temporary usage or occasionally, a manual wheelchair might be more beneficial for your needs. Regardless, personal preference is a major factor in the decision process along with cost factors.
Manual Wheelchairs as a whole are great all-around choices. They are affordable, durable, and most cases easier to transport. If you choose to explore the manual wheelchair option, you’ll also have to decide who will provide the primary power— you or a friend or family member. Most manual wheelchair, with a few exceptions, offer the ability to self propel using large drive wheels with push rims that you can reach easily with your hands. Another form of manual wheelchairs are Transport wheelchairs, which usually have smaller wheels in the back making it easier to not only maneuver but fold and store easily into the back of a vehicle. Both types of manual wheelchairs feature a handle positioned on the back for a caregiver to provide assistance when needed.
Power Wheelchairs, while more expensive, provide a greater ease of use by propelling you automatically via joystick controls and requiring significantly less effort on your part. Power Wheelchairs offer a wide range of maneuverability indoors and outdoors. These kinds of wheelchairs are primarily used indoors, great for navigating around the house. The batteries in these power wheelchairs are designed to last long on a full charge, perfect for traveling outdoors during the day.
Keep in mind that power wheelchairs are significantly heavier than manual wheelchairs, so they will require specialized equipment like a wheelchair vehicle lift to be properly transported in a vehicle. There are also wider ranges of customization on power wheelchair such as shroud color, longer-lasting batteries, seat elevation, flashlights, baskets, reclining and seating options. Options such as seating are important to consider if you plan on spending a good amount of time in your power chair as there are many seating upgrades that adds greater levels of comfortability.