If you’re looking for a wheelchair for you or a loved one, it is easy to become overwhelmed. There are many different brands and styles of wheelchairs to choose from, each having its benefits for individual users. That’s why our team created a list of the main points you should know about wheelchairs before you begin looking for one!
What is a Wheelchair?
Wheelchairs are a device that allows an individual to stay in a seated position and still move around. The chair is positioned on top of 4 wheels: 2 small in the front for support, movability, and stability, and 2 large in the back that are used to control the speed of the movement. These chairs are made for individuals who struggle to or cannot move around on their own.
What are the Different Types of Wheelchairs?
Just as there are unique individuals, there are unique wheelchairs to assist them! There are many different types of wheelchairs, including:
Manual wheelchairs are most commonly used by individuals with upper body mobility and strength. These wheelchairs are powered by the user when they grip the wheels and push them forward. These types of wheelchairs are simple to navigate and turn, which makes them a great fit for daily life.
An example of a manual wheelchair is the Invacare Tracer Manual Wheelchair which comes in many different styles. The main difference in the styles offered is the size of the seat. This wheelchair is available with an 16″, 18″, or even a 20″ seat which allows you to select the option that best fits you.
A transport chair is a chair that is only used to move the user on short trips from point A to point B. This type of chair is not for everyday use but can be very helpful when used! There are many different types and styles of these chairs, but most of the variance is in the weight of the chair.
A power wheelchair is ideal for an individual who is unable to push a manual wheelchair. These chairs are battery powered and the user controls the movements of the chair with a joystick. There are different models of power wheelchairs, but they mostly look like a standard wheelchair, with the addition of batteries, cables, and a joystick. It is very important when purchasing a power wheelchair to ensure that it is properly fitted. A power wheelchair that is not the correct shape and size can be dangerous for the user.
When talking about power wheelchairs we often hear, “Why can’t I just get a scooter?” Although often grouped together, power wheelchairs are different from scooters. Power wheelchairs are built for constant use whereas a scooter is meant for short trips and infrequent use.
If you’re looking for something in between a manual wheelchair and a power wheelchair, a power assist may be right for you. These small motors can be attached to the wheel of a manual wheelchair by a professional and used to assist the user in moving the chair. Although these motors can be heavy and are pricey, they are a great investment for someone who struggles with aches and pains in their shoulders or travels far or uphill often.
Since children are constantly growing children’s wheelchairs have the ability to be adjusted. This means that as the child grows, the chair can be adjusted to fit them which means that the chair does not have to be replaced with every growth spurt. Children’s wheelchairs are also available in more different colours and designs than adult wheelchairs which allows them to choose their own unique and colorful wheelchair!
How Do I Choose the Right Wheelchair?
Finding the perfect wheelchair can be difficult. Much of the decision in the type of Wheelchair to purchase depends on the way that the user will be using it.
Manual wheelchairs come with the option of a rigid or folding frame. The benefit of a rigid frame is that the user can transfer more weight and energy into propelling the wheelchair forward. The benefit of a folding frame wheelchair is that it is much easier to store and travel with.
Wheels & Tires
There are many options for wheels and tires for wheelchairs that didn’t use to exist. If you travel on surfaces other than flat floors or pavement, you may want to upgrade your wheels and tires to an off-road traction type. You can also choose a wheel that is more high fashioned than others if you decide to customize your wheelchair.
There are wheelchairs that come with a suspension system which helps improve the ride of the wheelchair. Some companies even offer suspension upgrades to users. The only negatives associated with suspension systems on wheelchairs are the additional weight as well as the higher price tag.
Wheelchairs are made out of different materials. Older models were constructed out of metal which made them durable, but also heavy which made navigating them hard on the user’s shoulders. Many wheelchairs are now made out of lighter materials, such as super light-weight titanium!
It is also important to think about comfort level. There are different options for seat materials, backrests, cushions, and leg supports to ensure that you remain comfortable in the wheelchair at all times. Some wheelchairs also feature a tilt option, which helps users change their position if they are unable to shift their weight on their own. This means the user can redistribute their weight and avoid skin breakdown which is a very important feature to consider when purchasing a wheelchair.
What are the Benefits of Having a Wheelchair?
Whether it is manual or powered, a wheelchair can provide an individual with freedom and mobility. This can be a life altering event, especially if the individual has been struggling to find independence in their life. The right wheelchair can make all the difference!
Where Do I Get a Wheelchair?
ADAPT Home Health Care is your one-stop-shop for all of your home health care products. Our staff are experienced and trained in all of our home health care products, including wheelchairs! If you’re looking for a wheelchair for you or your loved one and are not sure which style or design would be the best fit, visit us today. We can help teach you more about wheelchairs and ensure that you are happy and confident in your purchase.
The ADAPT Difference
At ADAPT Home Health Care, we do health care differently. Our staff treat every customer like the individual that they are with unique and customized services. We listen to your concerns and answer all your questions because we care! If you’d like to experience the ADAPT difference for yourself, stop by today! We have home health care stores in Mississauga and Brampton to better serve you! Call, visit us in-store, or visit our website to learn more!