Almost 2% of the global population requires the use of a wheelchair. That’s approximately 131 million people!
That’s a lot of wheelchairs in circulation!
Are you in the market for a new wheelchair? Whether you need to buy one for yourself or for someone you care about, there are things you need to know before you start shopping.
Keep reading our definitive wheelchair guide so that you can make the best decision.
Wheelchair Vs. Transport Chair
If you’ve ever been wheeled out of the hospital, then you’ve most likely been wheeled out in a transport chair.
Transport wheelchairs are smaller-wheeled, narrower chairs that are pushed by a caregiver. A transport chair is small, light, and easy to maneuver, making it an excellent choice for travel and use outside the home, as well as as a companion to a larger manual or electric wheelchair. The wheels on transport wheelchairs are smaller, and the body is narrower.
Because transport chairs cannot be manually propelled, the wheelchair user will be unable to operate the chair independently.
A standard wheelchair is a mobility chair with large rear wheels and smaller front wheels that can be pushed or propelled manually by the wheelchair user. The user can reach the back wheels and push themselves while seated because of this design. Wheelchairs are collapsible, transportable, and simple to use for both the wheelchair user and the caregiver.
How Long Can a Wheelchair Last?
A wheelchair’s average lifespan is 2 to 3 years, with manual wheelchairs lasting up to 5 years.
You should think about how often you’ll be using a wheelchair before buying one. Will you only use the wheelchair on rare occasions? Or will it be your primary mode of transportation? This will assist you in selecting the best wheelchair for your needs and ensuring that you get the most out of your chair for the duration of its life.
Types Of Wheelchairs
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether you need a power wheelchair or a manual wheelchair. This decision is usually based on a combination of the factors listed above: strength, frequency of use, and vehicle type. Your disability can also play a role in the type of wheelchair you need, click here to find out more about disability.
- Power Wheelchairs
For those with limited upper-body strength, power wheelchairs are the best option. This includes people who have severe paralysis or who will spend the majority of the day in a wheelchair. Power wheelchairs are easily controlled using a joystick on the armrest, rather than having to propel the chair by the wheels.
Power wheelchairs, on the other hand, are much larger and heavier than manual wheelchairs. As a result, power wheelchair users usually own a larger vehicle, such as a van or SUV, that can accommodate the chair. They are also more expensive, and they include the cost of a lift to transport the wheelchair inside the vehicle.
- Manual Wheelchairs
Manual wheelchairs, on the other hand, require a lot of upper-body strength to operate, especially if you plan on using them for the majority of the day. This feature makes them a better fit for part-time users or those with greater upper-body strength.
They are, however, much lighter and smaller than power wheelchairs, allowing them to fit into the trunk of a smaller vehicle. A manual wheelchair is an option for those who have a smaller vehicle and don’t travel frequently (in addition to a power chair if one is necessary). This will save you time and money when traveling with a power wheelchair.
Choosing The Right Wheelchair For You
Shopping for a wheelchair doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Simply consider your home environment, work environment, and your transport options when deciding which one to go with.
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