Wheelchair Education 101: Which One Is Right For You
Whether you plan on being in a wheelchair for just a short time or for the duration of your life, it is very important to pick the right one for you.
With so many wheelchairs on the market today, it can be a tough task to undertake; but you can easily purchase the right wheelchair for you by becoming knowledgeable about your choices. Before you buy your new mode of transportation, it is best to have an understanding of the different types of wheelchairs.
Manual wheelchairs are wheelchairs that need to be controlled by the person in the wheelchair, or by somebody pushing the wheelchair. There are a few different types of manual wheelchairs - lightweight or sports chairs that roll easily for those with upper body strength and are designed for every day use; standard manual wheelchairs that have the traditional cross brace frame and added support, child or youth wheelchairs that grow with a child and come in a variety of colors and styles; specialty chairs that are specifically designed for a variety of wheelchair lifestyles and needs and institutional wheelchairs that are the most affordable, but designed only for minimal wheelchair use - commonly used for transporting people in hospitals and nursing homes. They are most suitable for short-term use, for those who don't use a wheelchair too often or for those who have upper body strength. Those who have limited movement or a weak upper body may need someone to push them, or may want to consider the electric wheelchair.
Electric wheelchairs are wheelchairs powered by a motor. They were created especially for those individuals with limited or no body mobility, or for those who use wheelchairs as their primary source of getting around. They are pricier than manual wheelchairs, but the cost is definitely a wash when considering if your wheelchair needs are substantial.
Electric wheelchairs come in a few styles - the traditional style electric wheelchair resembles a manual wheelchair with the exception of the motor, battery and controls; and the platform electric wheelchair look more like a seat placed on top of the motor encasement.
The motor is often placed below the electric wheelchair in order to minimize any noise. The electric wheelchair controls are usually to the right or left of the arm rests, and can even be repositioned based on your wheelchair needs. People who enjoy outdoor activities regularly may need to be careful in an electric wheelchair - most models are designed for indoor use and can crack or become faulty over time. But, there are some indoor/outdoor models marketed today, and may be the outdoor enthusiast's best electric wheelchair bet.
Sports wheelchairs differ from the traditional manual wheelchair - they are very lightweight and designed to withstand the normal wear and tear that goes along with a number of sporting activities. Sports wheelchairs use lightweight metals that can withstand a beating like titanium, chrome, aluminum and steel tubing.
The base of a sports wheelchair is wider than other traditional wheelchairs in order to support different sporting activities, and the center of gravity can be adjusted for the individual using the sports wheelchair. The sports wheelchair is generally affordable, but the more custom features it contains, the more expensive it will be.
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Alan Jason Smith
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