For those of us who use assistance to get around more easily, it is important to understand the use and value of differing models of wheelchairs, in order to opt for the most suitable and applicable style that will meet our needs adequately.
Depending on your level of disability, and the length of time that you find that you need to be in your chair to get around, a lightweight wheelchair might be the perfect addition, in order to enable you to enjoy getting around the house or out and about more easily.
The nature of a lightweight wheelchair means that it is easily foldable and portable, so these features, unlike other wheelchairs, make them suitable for those people who are not permanently using a chair for their mobility. Rather, they find that walking or standing for an extended amount of time is difficult and would benefit from the ease in which they can produce and set up a wheelchair to continue getting around in.
This does not mean it is specifically designed for such people. Anyone who feels that they can benefit from an easily portable wheelchair can enjoy the benefits that these models can provide. There are a few downsides that need to be acknowledged however, when trading off the stability and comfort of a less portable and heavier model.
What are some of the downsides?
First of all, these models of wheelchairs are always manual, meaning that a person will use their arms and upper body strength to move the chair and themselves around. Although the frame of the chair itself is quite light and therefore easier to manipulate than other manual models, some people who do not have appropriate upper body strength may find it difficult to get themselves around.
This is particularly true when travelling over uneven, bumpy or steep terrains. Although you may be excited to be able to use this type of wheelchair for adventurous exertions out and about, unfortunately, many people find that they do not have the ability to manipulate these chairs for such a purpose.
You may need to pause and consider what the use of the wheelchair is primarily going to be for and to look around for the most appropriate model for these occasions. If you are looking for a chair that helps you to get out to the shopping centre and around for the day, this could perhaps be the more suitable style for you.
And the upsides?
There are plenty of positive aspects to these models and as such, are fast becoming a favourable option for people who are temporarily disabled, due to injury or illness, or are ageing and finding themselves less able to get around.
By being able to quickly fold and unfold these wheelchairs without assistance and have them stored in the boot of a car, those people who are looking to maintain their independence, whilst using some form of mobility assistance, can get the best of both worlds.
Wheelchair users who use these models do not need specialized cars or vans to transport their wheelchairs in, nor do they need a nurse or support person to aid them in their day to day activities. They are easy to use on all modes of travel, whether it be car, plane, bus or train, meaning that your life does not have to be hindered by where your chair can go.