The Right Wheelchair Accessories Will Ease Your Life and Your Journeys on Wheels
By Scott Gray
Wheelchairs come in every shape and size with sufficient options that you can find the wheels you like to take you where you want to go with the assistance you need. To enhance the comfort and convenience of your journey, choose accessories tailored to provide the best support for your activities and your health concerns.
A manual powered wheelchair is a good choice if you have reasonable upper body strength, but electric wheelchairs are preferred by people with upper body impairments. A manual chair could be suitable for years, but increasing age, pain, or fatigue might make it clear that it is time to switch to a motorized chair and save the wear and tear on your body. If you are an active sportsperson, you’ll want a lightweight manual; if you live in an area with rough terrain, you’ll need wheels and tires that are up to the job. For people whose problem is simply limited ability to walk or stand for long periods of time, motorized scooters are probably the preferred choice. Once you have considered your needs and made your chair selection, check out the wonderful choice of wheelchair accessories that can change your ride from good to great.
The Perfect Cushion is a Necessity not a Luxury
A good seat cushion for your chair is too important to be considered a luxury item and you should find one that fits your requirements exactly. A good cushion can save you not only from pressure sores but also from the incorrect posture that can generate a variety of back and neck problems. If you have a neuromuscular disease, respiration, circulation and swallowing are also concerns that need to be addressed by correct posture, which means being supported by a good cushion.
1. Foam cushions are the least expensive, are lightweight, and are available in a variety of densities. You can also cut and trim them if pressure problems develop. They will, however, lose their shape eventually, which, in itself, can create pressure problems.
2. Air floatation cushions will give you even pressure distribution and some models can be inflated to the exact height needed. You can purchase them as single-chamber cushions or dual-chamber cushions that allow the sides to be at different heights. They are lightweight and waterproof, but can, however, develop leaks or punctures. The pressure should be checked regularly.
3. Gel cushions are particularly comfortable and distribute pressure very evenly. They are heavier than foam or air, however, and it is important to check these products to make sure the design you are considering will not allow the gel to push out to the sides and cause the cushion to lose its shape.
A Wheelchair Ramp Gets You to Where You Want to Be
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the days when it was difficult or impossible for wheelchair riders to gain entrance to most public buildings. There are now ramps, enlarged doorways, at least one large stall in most public restrooms, and areas in the parking lot designated for handicap parking. There are older buildings, however, that have not yet made accommodation for mobile chairs, and, of course, most private homes are difficult to access with a wheelchair. You will need to travel by car or van on occasion, which means you need some kind of ramp, lift, or hoist to use with the vehicle, and a lift in the home may be necessary for a wheelchair user to access an upper floor. Fortunately, there is a wide range of new and used lifts, ramps and hoists, and you should be able to find a suitable product among the many wheelchair accessories available for any situation you encounter.
The term "permanent wheelchair ramp" is self-explanatory; "semi-permanent" means that it is assembled using bolts, which, of course, can be loosened so that the ramp can be moved and used elsewhere. A portable ramp can be folded or rolled up and will have some kind of carrying case – one model has suitcase handles. Ramps can have such safety refinements as side rails and non-skid tracks. You can select portable ramps that are suitable for use with thresholds only or for use with minivans. Van ramps are less expensive than lifts, fold in half, and are stored vertically.
Wheelchair lifts will have either electrical or hydraulic operating systems. Hydraulic lifts have the advantage of working even when there is a power outage, and they will provide a smooth and fluid ride. Electric lifts are cheaper, are quiet and comfortable, and can be fitted with automatic door openers and even telephone jacks. Make sure you choose one that has a battery for use in case of emergency. Stair lifts are very convenient and popular for home use and for accessing ordinary cars, and are easy for one person to operate. Automotive lifts can be quickly assembled and taken apart.
Other Wheelchair Accessories Provide Additional Comfort and Convenience
Wheelchairs provide independence and mobility, and, with the right wheelchair accessories, will maximize comfort, convenience, safety, and quality of life. These items might include:
1. Mounting systems for communication devices and laptop computers
2. Restraint systems for securing your chair in order to transport it in a car or a van
3. Adjustable hand controls and driving controls
4. Support aids:
* to help in sitting upright
* to prevent slipping from side to side
* to support the head
* to elevate the legs
5. Wheelchair locks and covers
6. Protective pads for arms, elbows and legs, and gloves for the hands and cushions for the back
7. Voice activated wheelchair controls
Take Advantage of Easy Online Shopping
Compare costs and find the best price for the right product online. Whether you need a wheelchair ramp and accessories, or equipment for adapting your chair for growth or loss of body strength or mobility, the Internet can be your best source of product information and cost comparison. Technology is always changing, and there are new products available to make your life easier every year, no matter what medical problems you have. Order replacement parts for your chair, such as batteries, tires, and wheels, as well as new or old and familiar products with confidence from the convenience of your home. We can help keep you independent and on the move with wheelchair accessories that are just right for you.
About the Author
Scott Gray is currently freelance writing and enjoys providing information and moneysaving tips to consumers who are in the market for a wheelchair, power wheelchairs, or looking for more information about wheelchair accessories.
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