What Type of Wheelchair Is Best for Your Needs?

  • Feb - 01 - 2021
  • Elixair Medical

Senior woman pushing man across bridge in wheelchairFor those unable to move freely on their own, a wheelchair is an essential mobility device. But wheelchairs are not all made the same. In fact, there are probably far more types of wheelchairs than you might think. At Elixair Medical, we offer a wide variety of different kinds of wheelchairs so that you can find the type that best serves your needs. But how do you know what type that is? This article will give you some help in choosing what might work best for you.

Standard Wheelchairs

We’ve all seen standard wheelchairs, and these are probably the ones that come to mind first for you. The simple design features a fabric seat, large wheels for propelling and controlling the wheelchair, small wheels for balance, and arm and foot rests. They can typically be folded for storage. However, because these must be propelled with your own hands, these wheelchairs do require a strong upper body.

So, if your upper body is quite fit, a standard wheelchair might work well for you, and they’re a popular choice for those with a more temporary mobility issue, such as a broken hip or leg. They fit more easily into vehicles than larger models. However, if you’re concerned about your ability to control your wheelchair throughout the day, it may not be the best option, as you would need to rely on others to push your chair for you.

Lightweight Wheelchairs

Perhaps you’re okay with a manually-controlled wheelchair, but you need something smaller, lighter, and more mobile. These are an excellent option for moving about your house. They fit more easily down hallways and around corners, and they store quite well because of their smaller size. However, you probably shouldn’t have this be your only mobility aid, especially if you need one for outdoor excursions or if you’re worried about your ability to propel yourself throughout the day.

Motorized Wheelchairs

For those without the necessary body strength to propel a standard wheelchair, motorized wheelchairs are a great option. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these mobility devices do not fold up for easy storage and transportation like the models mentioned above. You’ll need a wheelchair lift for your vehicle and an adequate storage and charging space for the wheelchair in your home.

These wheelchairs come with easy-to-use controls that allow you to propel your wheelchair and control it with the touch of a button or the movement of a joystick. These are an excellent option for those with long-term mobility issues, especially if their condition impacts their upper body strength as well.

Extra Wide Wheelchairs

Most manual and motorized wheelchairs will offer a heavy duty or extra wide option. These are essential for individuals who need a larger seat and more durable frame to support their weight. If you’ve tried a standard-sized wheelchair and felt like it pressed into your hips, thighs, or other parts of your body, we strongly recommend that you get an extra wide wheelchair. Making the decision to “just deal with it” can result in pressure sores where the wheelchair’s armrests press into your skin; it’s worth the slightly higher price to ensure that you are comfortable when using your wheelchair.

Hemi Height Wheelchairs

Standard wheelchairs are designed to keep your feet off the ground at all times, but hemi wheelchairs allow the user to put their feet down if desired, so that they can propel themselves forward in this way. If you haven’t completely lost the ability to use your legs and feet a hemi wheelchair may be a good choice. It allows you to choose to use your leg muscles when you are able, and to rest them and use your hands to turn the wheels when you’re not. The height is also typically adjustable, so that if you know you won’t be using your feet that day, you can keep them off the ground at a standard wheelchair height.

These are great for getting around the house while still giving your legs a bit of exercise.

Electric Scooters

Electric scooters are an excellent alternative for those who need a mobility device only when on longer excursions. They don’t work well indoors, due to their larger size, but if you’re going to the park with your family, visiting the zoo, or going to the store and want to ensure you have a mobility device available to you, an electric scooter is a wonderful thing to have.

These devices have handlebars that allow you to drive them more like a motorized bicycle. They typically have storage space in the front, and they handle uneven surfaces very well.

If you’re looking for a wheelchair, we can help you to pick the right one. Contact Elixair Medical today to learn more about our products.