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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Picking the right wheelchair for elderly persons

With so much choice on the market and so many different types of wheelchair it is quite difficult to know what to look for when you simply want a wheelchair foe an elderly friend or family member.

Independence is very valuable as we all know and it can be saddening when a family member first requires the use of a wheelchair. All the more reason to make sure the model you buy is suitable and that all the options have been considered.

There are two basic types of wheelchair, being manual and electric and the choice of which of these to go for really depends on the level of mobility the user has. Manual wheelchairs can be self propelled of will need the help of another to be pushed along. These are generally referred to as transit wheelchairs.

Self propelled wheelchairs

Self propelled wheelchairs can of course be pushed by another but also offer more freedom if the user still has strength in the upper body, allowing them to propel themselves. Transit models will require an attendant at all times as the rear wheels are smaller and out  of reach, meaning that the user cannot propel themselves. If the elderly relative lives alone then a transit model may not be suitable for this reason. However, if the user simply needs the wheelchair to get out and about then it may be the best choice for them as they are lightweight and are easily transported.

Electric wheelchairs

Electric wheelchairs are operated by the user although some models have options for attendant control also. Electric models come in many guises and can be intended for solely indoor use, outdoor use of sometimes both. Budget is likely to dictate some purchases as electric wheelchairs or powerchairs as they are referred to can become quite expensive. For this reason the users living space and their lifestyle should be considered before making the choice.

Comfort is key when selecting a model and is more important is the user is likely to spend long periods of time in the wheelchair. Look for as much adjustment as possible as it is this that will allow the maximum comfort. Please refer to our previous article on wheelchair posture to give you an idea of how the user should be seated. Of course cushions and other wheelchair accessories can be used to improve comfort levels and support. But size and particularly seat width are important considerations. A snug fit is preferable to a lose fit as this will provide more support to the back where it is needed and reduce the amount of slumping in the chair.

Here at UK-Wheelchairs we are always happy to listen to your requirements and then to offer advice on which model is best suited to the needs of the wheelchair user in your family, so please feel free to call us on 0800 0556377 or 01803 872020 from a mobile.

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