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Easy Guide To Manual And Electric Wheelchairs

Feb 27, 2008
Whether you need a manual or electric wheelchair, there are many advantages and disadvantages to consider for each. Or you may need both for different purposes.

A manual wheelchair should work if you have enough good strength in your arms to push whether the surface is flat or on an incline such as a wheelchair ramp. Some manuals come with hand aids called hand rims, with knobs which are easier to hold onto rather than rims alone.

Some people use a manual wheelchair only, while others use both a manual and an electric. This may depend on the distance, the surface, and whether they need to be lifted up any stairs or help loading the chair into a car, etc. You might need an electric chair to get to work, but use a manual chair when you come home. High school or college students may use an electric chair at school on campus, where they might need to travel a short or long distance from building to building. Using a combination may be the best use of energy or limit overuse of the body.

When choosing a manual chair, you'll want to know how easy it is to push it along and how well it coasts so you don't have to expend much energy pushing it.

Maintenance is important. You want to keep the tires inflated and the frame tight. You will want to note that modern adjustable wheelchairs need attention to the axle position, the seat angle, the back height, and many other features that influence the ease of wheeling the chair. The lighter the weight, the less force you have to push, so if you're in between you should consider the weight when choosing.

The main advantages and disadvantages of manual wheelchairs are: They require strength and balance to move; they take more energy going distances and up inclines or wheelchair ramps; they can add to aerobic and muscular health; they are easier to transport; the user can be lifted up any stairs while still in the chair; there are lower maintenance requirements because there are fewer parts; it doesn't need charging batteries or have the possible failure of batteries and they are usually narrower and easier to move around in small spaces.

The main advantages and disadvantages of power or electric wheelchairs are: You can travel distances regardless of your strength; it can contribute to muscular weakening if you're not participating in a regular exercise program; they are a lot heavier and not as easy to transport as a manual; there is more maintenance risk because they are more complex; they cost more and servicing and repairs cost more than manual; the control programming is high tech; there is a wide variety of types including mid, front, and rear-wheel drives both for individual and variety of terrains and if the user is not able to lift their body you can get one with tilt and/or recline systems for relief from pressure.
About the Author
For more info on electric wheelchairs and travel tips for people with health issues, go to a nurse's website: http://www.AllAboutDisabledTravel.com since 1982 specializing in travel, travel insurance, wheelchairs, exercise, sports, camps, recreation with tips, help, advice and resources including info on manual wheelchairs
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