A wheelchair is seen as an extension of the body. It helps the person regain mobility by compensating for the inability or difficulty to walk, whether temporary or permanent. Wheelchairs help those with mobility issues regain some independence.
However, wheelchairs also present a slight problem, especially when it comes to outdoor use. They can be difficult to transport, load into cars, and maneuver if they’re too heavy. But lightweight outdoor wheelchairs also need some bulk to avoid jostling the user too much when the pavement is rough and uneven.
An outdoor wheelchair should be appropriately balanced to offer maneuverability to the user without compromising comfort and convenience. Below are five factors to consider when choosing an outdoor wheelchair.
1. Type of Chair
The first thing to consider is whether you want an electric or manual chair. Electric wheelchairs require less effort from the user. These offer a range of controls, like touchpads and joysticks, to improve the mobility of the chair. However, electric wheelchairs are battery-powered. You have to pack an extra battery if you will be out for a long time.
Manual wheelchairs also have their advantages. First, they give the user more independence, allowing them to control their motion. Compared to electric chairs, manual models have fewer parts, which means they require less maintenance and calibration. You also don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries or recharging the chair. However, manual chairs require some degree of upper body strength and stamina.
2. Comfort Level
You want a comfortable wheelchair to avoid causing body pains and improper posture. The comfort level of the chair will depend on how often and how long the user will use it. Thick seat cushions, headrests, armrests that mold to the shape of the user’s body offer the most comfort.
Adjustable height, removable arms, and elevating footrests are also helpful features. With these, the user won’t have to sit in the same position for hours.
Wheelchairs come in several weight categories. The lighter the chair, the easier it is to lift and load in and out of cars. Keep in mind that lightweight wheelchairs tend to cost more than models of standard weight. You want the chair to be sturdy and stable even if it’s lightweight to keep its movements smooth even on rough pavements.
Many wheelchairs can be used indoors and outdoors. But some are designed for specific environments. Outdoor wheelchairs usually have larger front wheels than models designed for indoor use. It gives the chair more traction, allowing it to easily drive over doorways, gravel, and other small obstacles on the road.
5. Accessory Options
You may add various accessories onto wheelchairs, from handles and seatbelts to multifunction bags and eating trays. Although these aren’t necessary, they’re helpful additions that can increase the functionality and convenience of the wheelchair. You want a wheelchair with multiple attachments so you can add accessories depending on your outdoor trip.
Deciding on the features of the wheelchair will depend largely on the user’s comfort and the nature of your outdoor travels. Whether the user’s disability is permanent or temporary is also a factor. If the person is using it for a long time, you want a chair that’s sturdy and comfortable. Meanwhile, a simple, standard wheelchair is enough if the user only needs it for a short while.
Speak to your local wheelchair supplier for advice on the most suitable model for your needs.
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1800Wheelchair carries an extensive range of wheelchairs and other mobility products. We source our products directly from leading manufacturers to ensure the quality of your purchase. Whether you’re buying for yourself or a loved one, our customer service team is ready to answer all your questions about wheelchairs.
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