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There is more involved to buying a wheelchair than you might think. Choosing the correct wheelchair might seem straightforward, however it can be a challenging task. It is even more overwhelming for a first time wheelchair user.
Wheelchairs are also expensive, and some insurance companies do not offer a replacement within a certain time frame, therefore it is important you choose the right chair the first time. Here are some basic wheelchair buying tips to keep in mind.
Wheelchairs are used by people for mobility reasons because they cannot walk on their own. It could be a result of spinal cord injuries, stroke, amputation, arthritis and some illnesses and diseases. Older people who have lost strength in their muscles will also find wheelchairs useful. Mobility chairs are also useful in pediatrics where a child is suffering from a physical or neurological condition that affects their mobility.
Main Wheelchair Categories
Wheelchairs fall into 2 main categories, manual and electric powered. Manual wheelchairs are lighter and less expensive than powered wheelchairs. They are ideal for those who have sufficient upper body strength to propel themselves. Electric wheelchairs are powered by gel or wet cell batteries that require recharging often. The batteries are mounted under or behind the power chair. Depending on where and how the power chair will be used, you can get them in 3 or 4 wheeled versions.
Choosing chairs for children is even more challenging than choosing for adults. It is better to choose one that adapts and grows with the child.
Wheelchair Technology Over the Years
Regular wheelchairs have improved quite a bit over the years. They are highly customizable and can be ordered to meet almost any disability requirement. Many extra features are also available to make sure the user have the most comfortable experience possible. Some wheelchair extras include cushions with visco-elastic material, air cushions for relieving pressure sores, back supports and leg supports all make for a better user experience.
Always consult with a professional when making a decision on a wheelchair. Your physical therapist, occupational therapist or even your doctor can help you pinpoint the wheelchair that is most suitable for your situation.