Author Topic: Wheelchair questions  (Read 355 times)

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Offline Bill Houghton

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Wheelchair questions
« on: November 22, 2019, 12:21:02 PM »
My bride has bad hips and a bad spine. She has reached the point that she is often unable to walk more than short (one-block) distances - and has finally conceded that, sometimes, getting pushed in a wheelchair may be a necessary solution to staying active.

I'm weighing the choices. Definitely aluminum, so I can heft it in and out of the car. There seem to be two major styles: transport chairs, with little wheels front and back, and the traditional "big wheels" chairs, with large wheels at the back and smaller ones up front. I've used a transport chair for someone once or twice, and I found it very frustrating out on sidewalks; the small wheels were difficult to get up over the slightest irregularity. So my inclination is to go for a "big wheels" model with handgrips on the backrest, and quick-release hubs on the wheels.

But I'd appreciate observations from folks who've been the motive power for someone sitting in a wheelchair: which style, features to look for, brands to choose or avoid, etc.

This will be a now and again thing, so I'm not interested in power chairs, at least not of the huge-and-weighty kind. I'm also not interested in spending a fortune - she's worth any fortune, but we're not rich.

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Offline papadan

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Re: Wheelchair questions
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2019, 04:50:42 PM »
Hello Bill, sorry to hear of her problems. Transport chairs are great for indoor use but near worthless outdoors. A standard big wheel chair is right for outdoor use and any that fold are light enough for anyone to load into a vehicle. Put an ad in the wanted section of your local Craigs list, and ask if anyone has one they don't use anymore. I got a free chair for my brother in law 2 years ago and one for my wife back in August of this year. Lots of people have them hanging around from lost family members that are happy to help someone in need.
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Offline EVILDR235

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Re: Wheelchair questions
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2019, 05:57:59 PM »
I see good used free ones on Craigslist all the time. A little soap, water and bleach and they should be good to go.

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Online mikeswrenches

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Re: Wheelchair questions
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2019, 08:30:00 PM »
A thrift store might be another option.

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Offline markhm

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Re: Wheelchair questions
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2019, 05:09:02 AM »
We found we needed 3 different models to cover all situations. We have a light aluminum transport one, a standard size steel foldable one and fixed size monster steel one.

The transport is the lightest and folds smallest, so it is first choice but very limited in practicality. It can only be used on smooth hard surfaces due to small wheels. It is ideal to use to go from car into a building with ramps and elevators. It does terrible dealing with obstructions or uneven surfaces. Can't go across a lawn with it.

Standard size steel one weighs 50% more than the aluminum transport one and doesn't fold as small. Only fits in back of car with rear seat partially folded down. But it can go anywhere, including over curbs and across dry lawns.

Fixed size monster one is used at home and around the outside of house and when professional transport is available.

Hope that gives you a better idea.

Offline jdjax

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Re: Wheelchair questions
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2019, 09:41:40 AM »
You might want to try "The Knights of Columbus", they loan medical equipment for as long as you need it for free.

Go here to see if they have a council in your area.  https://www.kofc.org/un/en/insurance/find-a-council.html

My friend who had a stroke got some pretty nice devices there.