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A wheelchair can be defined as a mobile device which can help the disabled and sick to gain mobility. The device looks like a chair that is mounted on 4 wheels and can be propelled by the user or by the use of electricity. Wheelchairs allow those with handicaps to move around without the assistance of others.
Wheelchairs that are electronically driven are usually called electric wheelchairs and the motor is the heart of the electric wheelchair. They can be used for either outdoor or indoor purposes and usually start around $1,500.
Accessories on the Market
There are numerous accessories on the market to suit the needs of wheelchair users. When selecting a wheelchair, there are some important factors to keep in mind. The size and weight of the user is usually the first consideration.
Will the wheelchair be used indoors or outdoors or both? What is the chair’s weight capacity? Also look at the power source and warranty. And finally there is the cost.
Electric wheelchairs are ideal for those who are not able to move much and are not strong enough to push a manual wheelchair.
Factoring Electric Wheelchairs
Factors that come into play for people who should be using an electric wheelchair include paralysis, age, weight issues, broken or weak bones, degenerative muscle diseases or additional illnesses that affect normal movement.
Electric wheelchairs are fairly straight forward to use because of their electric power and easy to operate joystick. They are also very maneuverable and are able to fully rotate 360 degrees. They are silent when in use but they do require more maintenance compared to manual wheelchairs.
Given the advances in technology, wheelchairs have become highly customizable and can accommodate almost any disability. The newer models come equipped with spring suspension, pneumatic wheels, hydraulic systems all of which make the chair more durable and stronger.
The 3 basic electric wheelchairs available are:
Rear wheel driven chairs:
Rear wheel drive wheelchairs are the most common kinds of electric wheelchairs. They are faster compared to the front-wheel drive models but are not as maneuverable as the front and mid wheel drive models.
Front wheel driven chairs:
Front wheel driven chairs are popular because of their maneuverability and flexibility but they do tend to be slower.
Mid wheel driven units:
Mid wheel driven chairs have the best turning ratio of these kinds of chairs but they are a bit unsteady when starting or stopping.
Other kinds of chairs include ultra-lightweight up to heavy duty, tilt in space chairs, transport chairs, elevated chairs, rough terrain chairs and pediatric wheelchairs specifically for children.
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