October 20, 2022 4 min read
There are many types of medical equipment and assistive devices that seniors can use to improve their mobility and get around safely. One popular option is a wheelchair. Older persons with mobility issues or elderly individuals who face difficulty in walking for longer distances may find a wheelchair useful to get around from place to place. Using a wheelchair will provide them with support and comfort for traveling further while reducing the risk of falling when tired. With so many models to choose from and various considerations to make, it may be hard to pick the right wheelchair for you. Here are some key features to look out for.
Big rear wheels, or small rear wheels?
Before deciding on the specific features of a wheelchair, you will have to determine whether the user requires a wheelchair with big rear wheels or small rear wheels. If the individual wishes to self-propel and has sufficient upper-body strength to do so, a wheelchair with large rear wheels will be a good choice. For those who will require caregiver assistance to push them about, choosing a wheelchair with small rear wheels will help to keep the overall product weight low, and make it easier for the caregiver to handle the wheelchair.
To ensure a person who uses a wheelchair for years or even decades has the best care possible, it's important to find one that can be adjusted to fit the changing needs of the user. Hence you’ll want to make sure that all parts are adjustable, including armrests, arm pads, back support, seat height, etc., so that your loved one can find their perfect comfort level in every position they sit in. They should be able to lean forward or back and change the angle at which they're seated, as well as several different places for the arms or legs to rest in a comfortable position or operate it.
Folds compact and is portable
These days, there are many models of wheelchairs available and it can get confusing to choose the right model. Look out for important features such as a foldable backrest and detachable footrests; these will ensure that your wheelchair is easy to fold away into a small compact size, and can be loaded into the car boot easily. For footrests, detachable footrests will allow them to be removed should you require the fold the wheelchair even further, saving both space and weight when transporting the wheelchair.
Other special features (e.g. detachable armrests, adjustable legrests)
Besides having a foldable backrest and detachable footrests, both of which are considered fairly common wheelchair features, you may also wish to have other special features for your wheelchair to suit the user’s needs. For example, a fully detachable wheelchair which has detachable armrests alongside detachable legrests will allow for easy patient transfer. This will be particularly suitable for users with less mobility and who require caregiver assistance when transferring from the wheelchair to other seating surfaces, and vice versa. Simply detach the armrest and lift it up and away from the wheelchair to allow for a clear space to carry out the transfer. Another special feature you might wish to consider is the ability to adjust the length of the legrests which will help to improve comfort for longer sittings. This feature will be useful for users who are tall, to ensure that their legs have sufficient space while seated.
Comfort for the user
Needless to say, comfort is a key feature that we always look out for when choosing a mobility aid or assistive device. It is important that we take a close look at the user’s needs before deciding on what degree of comfort is needed. For example, if the user is largely mobile and only requires the wheelchair when going out for longer distances, comfort would not be the first thing that you look out for, and perhaps portability will be a more important consideration. On the other hand, if the user has a low level of mobility and requires the use of a wheelchair daily, comfort would be a key factor to ensure that he or she is able to feel comfortable sitting for longer periods of time. In this case, opting for a wheelchair with a padded seat cushion and a good seat size will be important. To improve comfort further, you can also opt for wheelchair cushions which help to relieve the pressure building up from long periods of sitting and prevent pressure sores from developing.
Head support and more
Some older persons may have degenerative conditions that make it difficult to hold their head up for extended periods of time. In addition, poor head control can affect breathing and feeding, so a head support will come in handy if independent head control is difficult for the user. Specialised wheelchairs such as recliner wheelchairs or tilt-in-space wheelchairs are designed to assist the user with body positioning, so they can sit and rest comfortably. In particular, recliner wheelchairs allow the backrest to be reclined backwards at an angle to support the user in a comfortable manner. Tilt-in-space wheelchairs, on the other hand, tilt the entire chair at an angle and are specially designed to prevent the user from sliding, such as for persons with limited upper-body control.
When it comes to helping our elderly loved ones live more independent and healthy lives, the best thing we can do is to provide them with the right elderly equipment so that they feel comfortable and safe. At The Golden Concepts, we are committed to improving the quality of life of elderly persons and our products are designed to address a wide range of diverse needs. If you need help finding a wheelchair with detachable arms, geriatric chair for elderly, or any other eldercare equipment, contact us today and we will be happy to serve you.
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