Comfort and safety are two things that come to mind when choosing the right wheelchair for seniors. That is especially true if they are frail, have mobility and dexterity issues. As people age, the need for a wheelchair also increases. So, it’s important that you choose the right wheelchair for your loved one.
Since there are several different types of wheelchairs available, it is imperative that family caregivers should know their options before choosing the right one. Remember, the right wheelchair can make a difference to the quality of life by providing the elderly or disabled with greater mobility and independence.
Choosing the Right Wheelchair
Types of Wheelchairs include Self-propelled, Attendant Wheelchairs, Transit wheel chairs, Commode wheel chairs, Reclining wheelchairs, Bariatric wheelchairs and Powered wheelchairs. Each type of wheelchair is designed for a particular purpose. We have to consider the pros and cons of each type carefully before choosing the right wheelchair for your loved ones.
A self-propelled wheelchair requires some strength to keep it mobile. It is the best option if your loved one has ability to propel it. These wheelchairs require using both arms, which means that it provides some exercise and strengthens the arm. Suitable for seniors with good upper body strength or someone recovering from a knee surgery. Besides, it is comparatively light and easy to use.
If the senior lacks strength, you may prefer to choose an attendant wheelchair. Typical users of attendant type of wheelchair include seniors with arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, hip problems, poor eye sight and those who are generally weak.
You can use attendant wheelchairs both indoors and outdoors. These are usually made of steel and are more sturdy. Attendant-propelled wheelchairs have smaller rear wheels and are often easier to transport. They may also feature a hand brake that is controlled by a person standing at the rear. Attendants are usually professional caregivers, family members or close friends.
Transit wheel chairs
These are light weight wheel chairs are best for travelling by air or train. These folds into a very small size and are usually aluminum to make them light weight. These specially designed transfer chairs allow access down narrow airliner aisles and facilitates easy transfer.
Transit wheel chairs featuring ultra-lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame are also available. These are extremely light-weight and highly durable but are little more expensive.
Commode wheel chairs
There are wheel chairs that comes with a commode. If you have a person at home with very limited mobility, this wheelchair is a good one to have. These wheelchairs are just narrow enough to fit into any typical door in India. You can use this as a traditional wheelchair with the cushion in place.
They are fitted removable pail that can be easily inserted and removed from behind. These wheelchairs with the pail removed, can be placed over most western closets. This allows you to seat a person on the wheelchair and wheel them over the existing toilet in the house, making the clean-up process much simpler and more hygienic.
There are reclining wheelchairs that converts into a temporarily bed or a wheeled stretcher. It also allows the user to relax in a tilted position. Some reclining wheelchairs allows the user to lie down completely flat. The mechanism allows the back-frame to tilt back, while the seat base remains in the same position and the leg rests will raise.
It is ideal for users who are unable to sit upright for extended periods due medical conditions. Reclining wheelchairs are useful for patients at the risk of pressure sores and those with spinal cord injuries. It also enables easier transfer to bed.
A bariatric wheelchair (extra wide wheelchair or heavy-duty wheelchair) is one which supports larger weights.
The design of these wheelchairs incorporate higher weight capacities and is safe for larger patients. Besides, most of these heavy-duty models are all foldable and feature flip up armrest, detachable footrest, PU castor and pneumatic mag wheel. They are easy to stow and carry and are usually made of steel.
Power wheelchairs do not require attendants and are ideal for disabled seniors, except they are much more expensive. Power chairs are a good option for seniors who can afford it as they completely strain free and gives them more independence. Retired seniors can also enjoy this chair if they love to move around yet want to conserve their energy.
Most powered wheelchairs offer excellent manoeuvrability. They also have a good suspension and incredibly comfortable seating. The armrest combines with ergonomically designed arm-pad offers optimal comfort according to your needs. There are also ultra-lightweight, foldable models that allows easy battery removal, making transport even more convenient.
But it’s advisable to check the living environment and daily routine before purchasing a powered wheelchair due its cost.
With all the above choices, we should carefully consider the pros and cons of each type of wheelchair before purchasing one for seniors. The important part is choosing the right wheelchair so that seniors are comfortable and safe since they will be using it on a daily basis to get around.
Where to buy?
We recommend ‘The Old is Gold Store’, a speciality store offering an assortment of products & services exclusive to senior citizens. Besides the above, you will find several models of mobility products and choosing the right wheelchair becomes easier.