The wide range of mobility chairs in the market has opened up a world of options for people with handicaps and other medical conditions. The cost, size, style and other specific requirements normally determine what type of wheelchair or scooter would suit an individual the best.
A wheelchair is actually a medical device that is specifically tailored for a person’s unique needs. What may work for others may not suit you, and vice-versa. So before making that purchase, you need to consult with your physical therapist and doctor.
Mobility chairs basically fall under one of these primary categories: manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and motorized scooters.
Handicapped people who possess upper body strength may use this type of wheelchair. Pushing the rims of their wheels propels these mobility chairs. They may or may not have push handles designed for caregiver-assisted movement. The price may also vary according to materials, design, and added features.
There are two standard types of manual wheelchairs from which you can choose: rigid frame wheelchairs and folding frame wheelchairs.
Rigid Frame Wheelchairs
They generally have welded and sturdy frames. The backrest may be folded down and the wheels feature a quick release system that allows for easy storage and transport of the wheelchair.
The majority of rigid frame wheelchairs are made from titanium or aluminum. However, some specialized wheelchairs possess frames made of carbon fiber. The lightweight body weighs around 10 lbs., excluding the wheels. Because of the lighter weight, the wheelchair is consequently easier to maneuver or push. This places a lesser amount of stress on the occupant’s shoulder joints. In addition, since the rigid variety have less movable parts, they are typically stronger and last longer in comparison to the folding frame version.
Folding Frame Wheelchairs
In essence, a folding frame wheelchair features foldable and collapsible parts. It can be folded sideways due to the frame’s X mechanism. The footrests are also movable – which permits the chair to collapse. In spite of its flexibility, the chair may be locked and released by means of two locking levers. An obvious downside would be the heavier weight owing to the reinforcing struts and lock system.
Earlier versions were usually made from steel. However, these days, most folding frame wheelchairs have titanium or aluminum bodies. In addition, this type of manual wheelchair is not as sturdy as the rigid frame variety because of the presence of several moving and foldable parts. This easily translates to higher maintenance requirements in order to keep the mobility chair in tip-top condition.
Power wheelchairs are ideal for people on the go. Persons who have weak upper bodies or those that don’t have the capacity to propel the chairs on their own can benefit more from this type of mobility aids.
Low-end power wheelchairs are made of lightweight frames that are well suited for indoor usage. However, the frames may easily crack, the forks may bend, and the motors may die when abused outdoors. On the other hand, the high-end versions are sturdier and more rugged, with frames that designed to carry heavier weight. A lot of newer models are even equipped with spring suspensions that offer a smoother ride over rough surfaces.