Have you or someone you know lost a step and struggle to get around on their own? It might be time to invest in a wheelchair.
The good news is that technology has reached a pinnacle where wheelchairs are extremely durable and user-friendly. In fact, wheelchairs are such a robust market that there are is a litany of selections.
You can navigate the wide variance of wheelchairs and find the right one for you. Your life could be transformed, and you could suddenly regain some of your prior mobility.
Here’s a helpful guide on the types of wheelchairs and the process of acquiring a wheelchair.
The Different Types of Wheelchairs
Before researching the wheelchair market and finding the right option, you’ll need to understand which type best fits your needs. This can actually be quite challenging. The different types of wheelchairs available are a selection vast enough to confuse anyone.
Whether you are shopping for your own wheelchair or helping a family member pick one, each type of chair is meant for a specific circumstance. Those who are permanently disabled have different needs than a person in injury recovery.
The major groupings of wheelchairs include power wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs. Power wheelchairs will be self-motorized, while manual will, of course, require a human push.
Also in the mix are mobility scooters and complete rehab chairs. Mobility scooters are ideal for those who require a chair for everyday life and will need one for the long haul.
However, if you have been suddenly injured, mobility scooters are not what you should be searching for. Complete rehab wheelchairs have sophisticated systems in place to aid someone who is not in stable condition.
Types of Power Wheelchairs
For power wheelchairs, the three main versions are broken up by the positioning of the front and back wheels. If the battery-powered wheels are in the front, you can ride up incline easier, but it can be tougher to steer.
Rear-wheel drive, as opposed to front-wheel drive, is easier to steer. The third type is mid-wheel drive, which has the wheel located in the middle underneath the seat. Mid-wheel power wheelchairs are ideal for turning inside buildings but lack some of the advantages of the rear and front wheels.
Types of Manual Wheelchairs
As motorized wheelchairs have become more advanced and more popular, manual wheelchairs have faded. Once the only option, manual wheelchairs are not ideal for those who do not have the strength to push themselves or someone to push it for them.
Generally speaking, there are foldable and rigid manual wheelchairs. One huge benefit the manual wheelchair still has is the ability to conform and fold when on the go. If you are traveling in a smaller car or need to pack the chair into a smaller space, this can be a crucial feature.
Does Medicare Cover All Wheelchair Expenses?
Once you have identified the correct type of wheelchair for your situation, it is time to actually acquire said chair. Luckily, Medicare and Medicaid can be a huge help to finance wheelchairs for those who need them.
Medical coverage standards are a little bit stingier for power wheelchairs than for manual wheelchairs. Part of this is because power wheelchairs are more expensive. You can be almost completely covered for the chair if you meet the qualifications.
Since a wheelchair is such a large expense, there will be some charges out of pocket to attain it. Certain plans might be able to cover all charges, but for many patients, there will be a few hundred dollars off the top that you will need to pay.
You’ll need to go through a few tests before you can have your power wheelchair covered by Medicare. A doctor’s visit will be required, and after that, you will also need a Medicare specialist to assess your current condition.
Being Prepared for Your Mobility Assessment
Your mobility assessment should be pretty straight-forward for most who need a wheelchair. If you are truly disabled, then you will always receive help from Medicare. These assessments are case-by-case basis and never generalized towards all disabled people.
The first thing the medical professional will evaluate is the overall condition of your body. They will also take into account how your body may progress in the future. For example, if you are in your 60’s, you could be at risk for a declining body in the near future.
They will also take into consideration the daily tasks you will need to accomplish once you are in the wheelchair. Your typical environments and tasks in your life will help the professionals configure your perfect wheelchair plan.
Here to Help
Remember, the mobility assessment is not just meant for determining how much the government will help pay for your chair. These are trained medical professionals who are experts on wheelchairs. They can help you decide which specific wheelchair is right for you.
You should plan to ask questions about the positives and negatives of different chairs you are considering. Once the assessment is over, you won’t just have a great chance for help to pay for the chair. You will receive some invaluable advice on the selection of the chairs.
Time for a Wheelchair?
For those who are on the fence about a wheelchair, the price and even pride may stand in the way. Many people may notice their body declining, but do not want to take the step of a wheelchair because they want to keep their independence.
However, if you struggle to walk with a cane or walker, cannot travel very far alone, or walking hurts so much that you avoid it, then it’s probably time for a wheelchair. It is key for anyone, especially the elderly, to avoid falling and making their conditions worse. Wheelchairs can be essential for safety.
Unlock Better Mobility
There is a wide variance of wheelchairs available, and it can be stressful to find the perfect one for you, but there is a great opportunity to improve your quality of life with the right chair.
For a complete look at the best types of wheelchairs on the market, including complex rehab wheelchairs, check out our website.