Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Wheelchair Shopping A-Z
Shopping for a wheelchair is not as easy as choosing the right dress for your date tonight. People who shop for a wheelchair for the first time are often overwhelmed by the number of choices. When you are not able to get the right wheelchair your disability will seem to get worse instead of better. Keep in mind that every wheelchair user will have different needs. If you are unsure which wheelchair to buy you can consult your doctor or therapist for advice.
Factors that you have to consider in choosing the right wheelchair includes your age, body type, gender, and type of disability. If speed is important for you, you may prefer an electric wheelchair over a manual chair. Wheelchair tires should also be chosen based on your driving conditions. The price that you pay for your wheelchair will depend on the cost of the chair itself, the cost of addition features, and cost of wheelchair accessories, cost of training on how to use the wheelchair, replacement parts, maintenance costs and future wheelchair upgrades among others.
Remember that you would perhaps use your chair for a long time. Thus, as expensive as they may seem, comfort is still the most important factor in buying a wheelchair for an uncomfortable wheelchair is the same as being uneasy in your own skin.
Buying a used wheelchair is not always a good idea. There is nothing to ensure you that the used wheelchair will fit your needs. Since wheelchairs are individually customized medical devices they are generally not meant for resale. Thus, choosing the right wheelchair requires the collective input of a doctor, therapist and you to make sure that the right wheelchair is matched to you.
Nevertheless, with the increasing cost of health care it is understandable if people look for alternatives like buying used wheelchairs or scooters. Just remember though that if you decide to buy a used wheelchair, make sure that your size and weight is within the capacity of the used chair. Remember also that second hand wheelchairs don’t have transferable warranties. This means that even if the warranty is still valid, if its ownership is transferred then the warranty would no longer be enforceable. So decide wisely when shopping for a used wheelchair.
To make sure that you are buying the right used wheelchair you can check on ads on the bulletin boards, websites and newsletters at your local rehabilitation hospital, independent living center or local disability organization. Do not rush into buying the first wheelchair that you see. Most importantly, do not buy a wheelchair simply because you like its style or color.