The first known wheelchair appeared in 1595 Since then, we’ve used wheelchairs to help those with mobility issues get around. If you know a person in a mobility wheelchair, you know it can be a learning curve to find one that suits their needs.
If you want to make your elderly loved one’s life easier by investing in a new wheelchair in the Asheville area, this guide is for you. In this article, we include the factors to consider in finding the right wheelchair.
Understand the Different Types of Wheelchairs
When looking for new wheelchairs, all the options can be overwhelming. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them to decide what works best for your elderly loved one’s needs.
Types of wheelchairs are:
- Power Chairs
- Manual Chairs
- Lightweight Manual Chairs
- Rehab Chairs
- Mobility Scooters
- Transport Chairs
Think About the Individual Needs for the Person in a Wheelchair
Wheelchairs are not one-size-fits-all, and what you need depends on the individual. Some people might have more mobility than others and may only use the wheelchair as a backup. Others will need to use it all the time.
Things to think about:
- Do they value their independence?
- Do they travel often around Asheville or beyond?
- Are they in the chair short-term or long-term?
- Do they have limited mobility?
- Do they enjoy being outdoors?
- Do they live in wheelchair accessible homes?
- Their height and weight
These details about your loved one will help narrow down a good fit. If they’re able, include them in the process to ensure you’re choosing something they’ll be happy with.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wheelchair for Your Loved One
There are other features and details to consider when shopping for a wheelchair. Researching these features and how they’ll affect your loved one will help narrow down your options.
Insurance doesn’t always cover everything, including more advanced models of wheelchairs. Research your loved one’s health insurance policy to learn about their coverage.
It’s also wise to shop for wheelchair brands that offer insurance protection of their own. This protection can provide you with damage protection should you need a wheelchair repair. Some companies with this offer include home visits for the wheelchair repair service.
Sometimes, a doctor will have recommendations on which types of wheelchairs would be most beneficial. Doctors make these recommendations based on their condition and health needs.
If your loved one likes to travel, go shopping, or visit family in the Asheville area, the portability of their wheelchair plays a role in the ease of use. They will need something easy to transport and get around in.
Transport chairs or lightweight manual chairs are a great option to use for traveling. They fold up and weigh less than other types, creating more ease when loading them into vehicles.
To provide more comfort for your elderly loved one, a chair with adjustability options is a must. They are even more beneficial to those with injuries or in the chair long-term.
Adjustable chairs allow them to change positions instead of only the standard seated position. It allows your loved ones to lie down, rest outside of their bed, and relax. Being able to change positions promotes muscle strength, helps with swelling, and prevents bedsores.
Adjustable chairs allow caregivers to provide better care with the ability to move them around more.
Weight and Width
When shopping for wheelchairs, think about the weight of both the user and the chair.
If the chair needs regular transporting, lighter options can make the process simpler. If a chair is heavy, consider who will lift it and whether they own a vehicle equipped for wheelchair transport. If your loved one is heavier, sturdier chairs help prevent tipping and have better support.
A wide wheelchair can provide more comfort. You’ll want to measure the doorways to ensure they have the correct wheelchair access width to accommodate them. Handicap accessible spaces are often measured based on standard wheelchairs, so do your research on sizes.
Will Someone Be Around to Push Them?
Another thing to think about when wheelchair shopping is whether your loved one has a caregiver. A caregiver can push them from place to place around Asheville in their manual wheelchair if they don’t always have the strength to do so themselves.
If they have more independence and don’t always have a caregiver around, consider a power chair. This will give them the freedom to get around without needing help from others.
Your loved ones will spend a lot of time in their new wheelchair, so you want them to be comfortable. Choose quality materials and look read the return or exchange policies in case the comfort level isn’t to their liking.
You want a wheelchair to make your loved one’s life easier, not add headaches. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine what obstacles they might face. Their wheelchair should help with these obstacles.
For example, if they want to join others at the table, find a chair with adjustable armrests so they can pull their chair up with ease. Look for brakes and controls that are easy for them to use.
If they’re staying in your or their own home, help them make it more wheelchair accessible..
Choose the Right Wheelchair Option for Your Loved One in Asheville
Deciding on a wheelchair for your loved one is an important task that can increase the quality of their day-to-day life in Asheville. Help the person in a wheelchair by considering all the things they’ll need and involving them in every step of the process.
Help them get on the move with Freedom Mobility. Contact us today to find the perfect wheelchair.