Getting started with Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs are widely available and cheap to purchase, so choosing a wheelchair can be confusing. Some people will have been prescribed a specific sort of wheelchair by an Occupational Therapist whilst others might want a wheelchair for when an elderly relative comes to stay.

Somebody using the wheelchair on their own will require a self propelling (large wheels) model, while a self-propelled, or transit wheelchair (smaller wheels) will be appropriate if the wheelchair will be pushed by somebody else. A folding wheelchair is a good choice for occasional use as they can easily be dismantled, folded and transported by car, making it the perfect choice for those going out for the day, or perhaps for someone who can’t walk as far as they once could, but maybe don’t need to be in a wheelchair all the time. Folding wheelchairs are available in various sizes, but often do not offer the specialised features that a prescribed wheelchair can offer, where comfort, manoeuvrability and performance are much more important than whether the wheelchair folds.

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Wheelchairs

Wheelchair users who lead an active lifestyle will require a different sort of wheel chair again. These users are likely to move away from a cumbersome folding wheelchair, to one that is very lightweight, smaller and stronger than a traditional wheelchair. A sport wheelchair might even be constructed from titanium which is stronger and lighter than aluminium. The highly adjustable and customisable nature of these wheelchairs means that the user might only needs one wheelchair for all activities – both day to day living and sports. These lightweight chairs are easy to put in a car, and the wheelchair user can put their wheelchair in the car from the driver’s seat. This means that they don’t have to rely on others, and they can still maintain their independence. These very lightweight wheelchairs borrow a lot of technology and techniques from mountain bike manufacturers. Indeed, some of these rigid wheelchairs resemble a mountain bike more than a traditional wheelchair, and depending on the model and specifications may only weigh 15-17lbs (8kg).

Whatever style of wheelchair you choose, a wheelchair cushion is recommended to improve posture, comfort and to prevent pressure sores.