If you are living with a disability orinjury and have trouble walking, then you may need a wheelchair to help you get around.
There are several wheelchair options available in the market and the needs of you, the user, must be heavily considered so that you can have the most comfortable and independent experience. For some individuals, lightweight wheelchairs could be the best option, and this tends to be the case for those with mobility issues who still have the confidence to partake in some independent activities.
Are you able to use the wheelchair by yourself?
If you need a mobility aid but feel confident in your ability to move around independently, then a lightweight wheelchair would be perfect for you. Lightweight wheelchairs can be self-propelled and often come with special grips that allow you to hold the chair, without causing any unnecessary damage to your hands. Additionally, if you exercise and have a strong upper body, or you wish to start doing certain exercises, then a lightweight self-propelled wheelchair would be ideal, as you would have no problem moving it around. A great option would be the Karma Ergo Lite Deluxe Self Propelled Wheelchair. At 10.3kg, it is the lightest self-propelled wheelchair in Karma’s range, and has ergonomic armrests and double-cross braves, which provide strength and stability whilst you are using it independently.
Additionally, if you are quite active then the Quickie QRI Rigid Wheelchair could be a great choice, as it has been designed for those with a healthy on-the-go lifestyle. The adjustable axle plate perfects your centre of gravity, whilst allowing you to perform at your highest possible capacity.
Are you spending a lot of time in a wheelchair?
If you are confined to a wheelchair, or spending a great deal of time in one, then you might want to consider a more lightweight option. These lighter mobility aids have better manoeuvrability, particularly if you are going to be spending the majority of your time in the house, or travelling shorter distances. Breezy offers the Rubix 2 XL model which is a lightweight bariatric chair, which has comfortable seating and an adjustable back, seat depth and footrests. This means if you are having to spend a prolonged period in the chair, you have flexibility about the position you are in. The model has a weight capacity of 170kg and therefore can match the needs of a wide range of users. However, if you have plans to use the wheelchair for longer journeys, or on more hazardous terrains, then you may want to consider an alternative to lightweight models.
How old is the user?
Lightweight wheelchairs can be ideal for older people, who may struggle to walk but only require some time in a wheelchair. In this case, having a lighter model that can be packed away and taken out whenever is necessary would perhaps be more appropriate. If you can lift the chair yourself, it provides more independence, rather than relying on a relative, friend or caregiver. The Action 4 Heavy Duty Wheelchair, is perfect for this purpose, as not only is fully adjustable, and suits nearly all users, it is also comfortable and foldable, meaning if it’s not needed, it can be easily packed away.
Is the chair temporary?
If you’ve suffered an injury, and will only be in the chair for a short amount of time, then you might prefer a lightweight wheelchair. This way it can be comfortably manoeuvred and packed away without adding any additional stress to the injury. Furthermore, if the injury is to the lower part of your body, but you are still fit and healthy, then you may not have an issue pushing and propelling the wheelchair yourself, making the lighter frame a good choice.
Choosing the right wheelchair for yourself or another can be a challenging and complex process, however, you must evaluate all your needs before purchasing. Getting an ill-suited wheelchair can exacerbate the situation and cause more harm than good. In the worst case, it could contribute to further problems, which will not only affect the user physically, but perhaps mentally as well. Speak with your physiotherapist before buying the mobility aid. They will be able to give you recommendations and answer any questions or concerns.