Power Wheelchair - the Basics
A power wheelchair is a motorized wheelchair, operated on battery or electric power.
They offer greater stability and function for individuals who have lower body instability, chronic illness or disease processes, or those who have been injured or paralyzed in accidents.
Also known as mobility scooters, may be customized and adapted to meet just about any physical need. Dozens of wheelchair brands and models are available to choose from, and prices vary depending on model, style and functions.
If your parent or you yourself require greater mobility than that offered by a conventional wheelchair, a power wheelchair may offer greater independence, self reliance and mobility in indoor and outdoor environments.
Mobility Scooters offer a variety of advantages to the elderly or the handicapped. Understanding some of these advantages, as well as things to consider before choosing a wheelchair with power will help consumers make more knowledgeable and educated decisions regarding transportation and mobility.
Some models may be worked using hand controls, while others may be adapted to work with special tools held in the mouth, depending on need. Most wheelchair manufacturers are able to customize wheelchairs and provide a large range of selections depending on specific needs.
Power wheelchairs offer greater freedom of movement and independence without the necessity of constant assistance. Seniors using these don't have to worry about becoming tired or exhausted, and may continue to enjoy social activities in the home, at the mall, museum, public library, or senior centers in the community.
Power wheelchairs don't require great physical strength or stamina to operate, and reduce strain on shoulders, hands and wrists due to its powered functionality.
When it comes time to choose a specific model or style of wheelchair, take into consideration the current as well as possible future needs of the individual who will be using the chair.
Height and weight considerations as well as comfort level should be addressed when looking for a specific model. Choose a model adequate to hold the current as well as projected weight of the individual. For long-term use, you may wish to choose a model that has up to a 400-pound weight limit and rates high in everyday performance and capabilities.
Some models come with a variety of accessories, including baskets, compartments, and the type of controls featured, again depending on the needs of the person using the wheelchair.
If your parent is still fairly active, choose a wheelchair model that will fold and store easily in the trunk of a car, or by utilizing special attachments that may be mounted on your vehicle.
Choose models that provide greatest stability and security for the senior. Mid-sized chairs offer beneficial all-around use in indoor and outdoor environments. Some may be used in combination indoor/outdoor scenarios, while other chairs are specifically meant for outdoor use.
Ask about maneuverability and turn radius as well as the duration of battery life.
Individuals using outdoor chairs should look for models with anti-tip wheels and a seat belt for added security and safety.
Take into consideration environmental obstacles such as entry ramps and thresholds, the width of doorways in your seniors care environment, as well as the width of hallways. Some wheelchairs fit easily under tables and desks, while others can't. Make sure the wheelchair is able to access bathrooms and kitchen areas with ease.
If your parent or senior travels frequently, ensure that public transit or bus lines are capable of securing the chair, as many have limitations on weight and dimensions.
The costs will depend on the model and style chosen. However, if a wheelchair is approved by your parent's doctor, Medicare typically covers 80% of costs.
Secondary or supplemental insurance may help cover the remainder of the balance. However, consumers should realize that in order to qualify, Medicare should be the senior's primary insurance provider or carrier in order to file such a claim.