Choosing a Manual Wheelchair – Facts and Practical Considerations
Buying the right wheelchair can be a time-consuming process. A market is a place where you can find so many different options to choose from, so buying the right one may be really tricky. Before start with anything, you need to consider your needs first. Having a professional assistance is always best, but if you get all the information you need, you can make a purchase decision on your own as well. All you need is to keep in mind few important things such as mobility. This is your personal ability to move around and includes walking, standing, sitting down and moving your body within the chair. Consider your tolerance, your posture, body height and weight, your skin condition, your sight, memory, perception and cognitive ability. Maybe all this seems too much for you, but all these factors are important to consider as they all will affect your use of the wheelchair.
When looking to buy a manual wheelchair, you need to choose between self-propelled or attendant-propelled. As the name refers, a self-propelled chair is moved by the user itself using his upper body and grip strength. Just by moving the wheel, the user moves the chair in the needed direction. On the other hand, attendant-propelled chair requires another person to push the chair from behind. The self-propelled manual wheelchair has large wheels for easy pushing and smooth ride while the attendant-propelled chair has much smaller wheels.
There is a powerpack available on the market that can easily convert your manual wheelchair into a power chair. This small device can be attached to the chair working like motor and offering a full conversion to a powered chair with a joystick. However, you can still drive your wheelchair manually anytime you want, even if the powerpack is already attached to it.
Some people can find driving a manual chair easy, while others can find it difficult. So, before start using the wheelchair outside you better try to practise a little bit. Find a safe environment where you can practice turning techniques, tackling kerbs, getting over obstacles, etc. Depending on your personal capabilities, you can ask for professional help as well. There are a lot of organizations and companies that offer support and full training to both, a basic and more advanced level.
Once you start using a wheelchair you need to maintain it so it can serve you well. There are a number of things you can do. For example, checking tyres is important. They are very similar to the bicycle tyres so they need to maintain a proper pressure. Also, make sure you check them for wear and tear regularly. Make regular brake inspection, always keep the wheelchair clean, make a regular inspection for nuts and bolts and periodically check the frame of the chair, especially if you use it frequently. Regular service is a must so you can have your wheelchair always safe to use.