How To Select A Suitable Wheelchair: 6 Helpful Tips

by Jenna G
How To Select A Suitable Wheelchair 6 Helpful Tips

Selecting a suitable wheelchair is an important decision that should be made with care and consideration. It can have a huge impact on the comfort, safety, and overall quality of life of the user. When selecting a wheelchair, it’s essential to consider factors such as size, weight capacity, maneuverability, and features like reclining backs or adjustable footplates. It’s also important to consider the user’s individual needs and lifestyle when making a decision. In this article, we’ll explore the various types of wheelchairs available and provide tips for selecting the best wheelchair for you or your loved one.

Look Into Electric Options

Electric wheelchairs are an ideal option for those who have limited upper body strength and mobility. They provide more control than manual wheelchairs, allowing users to move around with greater ease and independence. These chairs come in a wide range of styles, from traditional models that look like manual wheelchairs to all-terrain versions designed for outdoor use. Some electric wheelchairs are also typically lighter and more maneuverable than manual chairs, making them ideal for navigating tight spaces. Consider an electric wheelchair if you or your loved one need additional support to move around with ease. Be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the best type of electric wheelchair for you or your loved one’s needs.

Take Seat Width Into Account

When selecting a suitable wheelchair, it is important to take seat width into account. The right seat width will provide the user with optimal comfort and support while in motion. To measure the desired seat width, have the person sitting on a solid surface, such as a bed or couch, measure from side-to-side at their hipbone.

It is important to ensure that the width of the seat corresponds with their body size, as a too-narrow seat could lead to pain and discomfort while a too-wide seat can cause instability. Additionally, consider adjustable seat width options if available in order to accommodate different users who may use a wheelchair. With the proper seating width, you will be able to ensure the highest level of comfort and mobility for the user.

Arm Rest Length Is Important

When selecting a wheelchair, it is important to consider armrest length. Arm rests should be long enough to allow for comfortable positioning of your arms as you propel the wheelchair. The armrests should also be adjustable in order to accommodate any changes in your body size or posture over time. If the armrests are too short, they can lead to discomfort and even pain.

Furthermore, the armrests should be firm enough to provide adequate support, yet soft enough for comfort. It is important to ensure that your arms are not left dangling when propelling or pushing the wheelchair so as to avoid fatigue in the upper body. When evaluating a wheelchair, make sure to check the length of the armrests to ensure you select a comfortable and supportive wheelchair.

The Tires

The tires of a wheelchair are an important consideration for those selecting the right chair for their needs. It is essential to ensure that the wheels roll smoothly and silently and provide good stability when in motion. An individual should consider their intended use, as different wheelchairs are designed with different tire types best suited to particular activities. 

For instance, models made for outdoor use often come with larger and grippier tires for better traction on uneven terrain. On the other hand, wheelchairs designed for navigating indoors may feature smaller and quieter tires that are easier to maneuver in tight spaces. 

Seat Depth

When it comes to finding a suitable wheelchair for your needs, seat depth is an important factor you will need to consider. Seat depth refers to the distance between the back of the cushion and the front edge of the chair. Depending on your individual body size and proportions, you may require a chair with a shallow or deep seat depth in order to ensure comfortable positioning. 

Your wheelchair provider should be able to measure you accurately and advise you on the best seat depth for your new chair. They can also provide advice on any adjustable features that may help make the chair better suited to your needs, such as adjustable backrests or armrests. Ensuring the right seat depth will ensure that your posture is maintained and your comfort is maximized.

Comfort Levels

How To Select A Suitable Wheelchair

When choosing a wheelchair, it’s important to consider the comfort level. Different wheelchairs offer different levels of padding and cushioning, so you should look for one that suits your needs. Consider the material it is made from, how much padding there is, and if there are any adjustable features such as lumbar support or headrests to help you maintain a comfortable position. 

Also take into account the types of terrain that you will be traversing, as some wheelchairs are designed to handle rough surfaces better than others. Taking time to find a wheelchair with the right level of comfort for you is essential in ensuring your overall satisfaction and safety when using it.

In conclusion, selecting the right wheelchair is critical to ensure that you can perform your activities with ease and comfort. Consider factors such as adjustable seat width, armrest length, tire type, seat depth, and levels of comfort when evaluating a wheelchair. With the right selection, you will be able to find a chair that is perfect for your individual needs and ensure maximum satisfaction and safety when using it.

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