Wheelchair Education 101

It is vital you pick the proper wheelchair for your needs if you will be using it temporarily or for the rest of your life.

There is a wide selection of wheelchairs available today, which could make the selection process difficult, but once you do your homework making the right choice becomes easier. Before you buy a new wheelchair, it is important to know about the various kinds of wheelchairs.

Manual wheelchairs are operated by the user or someone who is pushing the user. The different kinds of manual wheelchairs include sports or lightweight wheelchairs that are easy to maneuver for those who have upper body strength and are made for daily use. Standard wheelchairs have the familiar cross brace frame along with extra support. Children or youth wheelchairs expand as they grow and are available in different styles and colors. There are wheelchairs designed specifically for different lifestyles. Institutional wheelchairs are the cheapest of all and are mostly used to transport patients in health facilities. They are ideal for short-term use, for people who don’t use a wheelchair too much or for those who have good upper body strength. For those who don’t have the upper body strength or needs someone to push them, an electric wheelchair might be a better option.

Electric wheelchairs are propelled by a motor. They are designed for those who have limited or no mobility or those whose primary mode of getting around is a wheelchair. They are much more expensive than manual wheelchairs, but for those who absolutely need it, the cost is a necessity. There are a few styles of electric wheelchairs, the one that looks like a regular wheelchair and includes a motor, controls and battery. The platform electric wheelchairs resemble a seat on a motor encasement.

The noise is at a minimum due to the placement of the motor under the chair. The controls for the electric wheelchairs are often on the left or right armrest, but can also be placed in a different spot depending on the user’s needs. For electric wheelchair users who love the outdoors, they need to take extra care as most models are made for interior use and can easily break if used outdoors often. There are some models on the market today that are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.

Sports wheelchairs are lighter regular wheelchairs and are designed to withstand daily usage in sporting activities. They are designed using durable, lightweight metals like chrome, aluminum, titanium and steel tubing.

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