Whether temporary or permanent, finding a wheelchair that fits your needs can be challenging. Many people make the mistake of assuming that they can just buy any wheelchair – or the cheapest one – and it will satisfy their needs. But the design of the chair and its comfort level must be taken into consideration.
Here’s how to choose the right wheelchair for your needs:
Choosing the Right Type of Wheelchair
The first step is to find the right type of wheelchair. There are many different types of wheelchairs out there, including:
Standard wheelchairs are the most common type. These chairs are durable and offer long-lasting support.
The only drawback is that they typically weigh more than 35 pounds. If you plan to travel often, it may be cumbersome to have to lift and transport a chair of this weight. The good news is that most standard chairs have a seat width of at least 16” and can support up to 250 pounds.
- Recliner or Tilt
Reclining wheelchairs are designed to allow you to recline incrementally and in a safe way. Some chairs have full reclining functionality, while others merely tilt in one direction or the other.
Tilt wheelchairs alleviate pressure sores and allow you to find a more comfortable position.
If you’re an active person, you may find a sport wheelchair to be the best option. These chairs have an ultra-lightweight frame and seat height adjustments. They’re durable, too, and have a minimalistic design that allows you to enjoy a more active lifestyle.
Bariatric wheelchairs are designed for heavier users. They typically have reinforced cross braces and have a higher weight capacity.
Many chairs have a maximum weight limit of 550 pounds and a seat width of 30.”
Manual chairs are the best option for anyone who needs to get around on their own. As Avacare Medical explains, manual chairs are equipped with large rear wheels that allow the user to self-propel the chair.
A transport wheelchair must be pushed by another person. These are the chairs used to transport patients out of hospitals or from one place to another on hospital grounds.
These chairs tend to be lighter in weight, but they prevent you from being independent.
Finding the Right Sizing and Dimensions
Once you’ve determined the right type of wheelchair, you need to make sure that you have the right size.
There are several measurements that you’ll need to determine, including:
- Seat depth: The depth of the seat is measured from the front to the back of the seat. To find the right depth, measure from the person’s pelvis to the back of their shins while sitting.
- Seat width: Seat widths can range from 16” to 20” or more, depending on the type of chair.