Choosing the right wheelchair for your elderly loved one is important as you want to be sure that they are comfortable and safe at all times. There are several different types of wheelchairs available, therefore family caregivers should know their options beforehand and consider the pros and cons of each type carefully so that they can choose the right one. If you have no idea what to look for, we at Carefect Home Care Services would like to offer some tips on how to choose the right wheelchair for your senior loved one.
Power wheelchairs are the most common choice for disabled seniors as they do not require someone to push the wheelchair around constantly, so seniors can get around on their own. Seniors who are in a wheelchair temporarily might prefer a manual wheelchair because they cost less, but power chairs are a better long term solution. Power chairs are a good option for seniors because they are much faster than manual wheelchairs and they can be operated with much less energy than a manual wheelchair requires. Power chairs can get a bit pricey though, so it is important that your senior’s living environment and daily routine are considered before choosing a type of power chair and making the purchase.
Rear wheel wheelchairs are very common choice for seniors because they can achieve slightly higher speeds than other wheelchairs which makes them ideal for those who are still working and work in a fast paced environment and need to get around quickly. Even seniors that are retired can enjoy this chair if they like to spend time with their family and want to be able to keep up easily. They are also less likely to tip over than some other types of wheelchairs are in extreme circumstances which is good because it keeps seniors from falling out and getting hurt. Rear wheel wheelchairs are also said to be sturdier than other chairs which means that they can be very durable and long lasting.
Mid-wheel power chairs are also very common, and they are great for seniors that need to maneuver through small spaces. Mid-wheel power chairs have a much smaller turning radius than other chairs do, so this type of chair is ideal for seniors who live in apartments or smaller homes. Mid-wheel power chairs do have trouble going over bumpy terrain though because the front wheels often get stuck and prevent the middle wheels from touching the ground. Seniors who live in flat areas should not experience any problems with their chair, but seniors in rocky or bumpy areas might want to consider another type of wheelchair so that they will not have problems maneuvering their chair.
Portable wheelchairs are another great option for seniors and they are ideal for those who travel frequently. Portable wheelchairs are much lighter than other types of power chairs so that they can be easily lifted and loaded into the car for travel. Some brands even disassemble so that those who are still having trouble lifting the chair can take it apart and move it more easily. Seniors that live in nursing homes and do not travel frequently might prefer another chair such as a mid-wheel power chair that is easy to maneuver in smaller spaces, but those who still live at home and need to travel to visit family, go shopping or go to appointments might find that a portable power chair is best for them.
Family caregivers should carefully consider the pros and cons of each type of wheelchair before purchasing one for their loved one. If possible, family caregivers should offer their loved one to accompany them so that they can help choose their own wheelchair. Many wheelchairs come in different styles, and seniors might enjoy picking the style of their chair since they will be using it on a daily basis to get around.
Independence is important for a senior’s wellbeing, and offering them to choose the style of their chair or accompany you when you purchase the chair gives them a sense of independence. This can be very important as many seniors feel that they are losing their independence since they have to rely on a wheelchair, but power wheelchairs allow seniors to get around on their own without needing someone to push them around all the time. As a family caregiver it is important to remind your elderly loved one that you have carefully chosen their power chair so that they will be able to live their life like they used to and that they will still be able to have some independence.
For additional articles on the subject in our home care services blog:
- Mobility Aids for Seniors (2 Parts)
- Exercise Tips for Seniors with limited mobility (2 Parts)
- Fall Prevention for seniors