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Until you were actually in need of one, you probably didn’t give a minute’s thought to choosing a wheelchair. For most people that don’t have to use a wheelchair, they tend to all seem the same, though most of us know that there are some that are electric, and others that are manually powered. Even for folks that have had to use a wheelchair for a period of time, say, after a broken leg or an operation, just about any wheelchair will do.
After all, it’s only for a little while. But when we’re talking about long-term use, it’s another story entirely. Choosing your first wheelchair for long-term use is a heavy decision, like choosing a bed or even a car. Having some information about the options available will hopefully make the decision process a bit less overwhelming.
Remember that we’re not just talking about a chair to sit in for a short while at the dinner table, for example. As you well know, you’ll be spending a lot of time in your wheelchair. Comfort is not a luxury this time. When your looking at wheelchairs, spend some time in them, move around, and sit in different positions. Make sure that this is a chair that you’ll be comfortable in for long periods of time.
Cost matters too.
I sincerely hope that you have health coverage which will ease some of the pain in this regard. Do check with your insurance carrier, because not every plan covers the same things or to the same extent. There are lots of different features you can upgrade to or add on to your wheelchair, some of which may really come in handy for long-term use. But keep in mind that your insurance may not pay for all of those.
Evaluate what you really need.
Before you go out and start choosing your first wheelchair, consider how you’ll be using it, and where. Will you be going in and out of the house a lot, or spending most of your time at home. Will you be going in and out of a car or van often? Might you even want to participate in wheelchair sports? Try to get some clear ideas of what your long-term use might be prior to going shopping, so you can make an informed decision.
Do your own online research.
There’s no better way to prepare for choosing your first wheelchair than to take advantage of the vast amounts of information you can find on the internet. There’s a wealth of resources available out there, including some excellent articles and videos put out by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
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