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A Basic Guide To Buying Wheelchairs

May 21, 2008
Buying your first wheelchair can be more difficult and confusing to you especially if you have had very little experience. One of the more difficult decisions to make is whether or not you will be using it for a long period, it you cannot determine the exact length of time that you will be using it. Wheelchairs also come in different makes and sizes, so you will not be able to buy any old wheelchair but one that is tailor-made to suit your needs.

There are other factors to buying wheelchairs include how strong the wheelchair is and whether it is strong enough to take your weight. Available are different styles of wheelchair design, some are standard normal straight back framed wheelchair and others are designed for lightweight individuals. Most manufacturers and dealers allow customers to test out the wheel chair so you can get a first hand feel for what it would be like to manoeuvre.

The different things to look out for when finding the right wheelchair are the different seating options (depth, height, width and size), armrest and footrest, elevating leg rest, armrest lengths and seat adjustability. All of which play a very important role in keeping you comfortable as you may need to be using it for an extended period. Asking yourself how long you will be using the wheelchair for is important, as you will need to get the right chair for the right comfort level.

People have their own preferences when it comes to wheelchairs but this may not correspond to their disabilities. Those with back issues may need to buy specialised chairs that support the lower back. A manual wheelchair would possibly put too much strain on the upper body and require them to lean forward a lot. Ideally, those with good upper body strength and no problems with manoeuvring should stick to using manual chairs.

Another factor when purchasing a wheelchair is the manufacturing company you are buying the wheelchair from. Are they an established brand or are they an independent company and what are their credentials in selling wheelchairs? What is their guarantee policy and will they be in charge of maintenance to the wheelchair? If you are buying an electric wheelchair what sort batteries will you be needing? Can you replace the batteries at a store local to yourself?

You will also need to determine whether you will need a fold-up wheelchair or a mixed frames wheelchair. This again determines on whether you will be using it indoors mainly or outdoors. It also depends on how heavy the chair will be, so some lightweight chairs fold-up more easily than others fold-up. Always test out your wheelchair before purchasing as then this will give a more accurate judgement of the product. Most manufacturers will allow you to borrow the wheelchair for a week so use that time to become fully accustomed to it.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on buying wheelchairs having helped people in the past before.
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