A power wheelchair can be useful for not only mobility, but also independence and comfort. If you’re in the market to get a motorised one, you’ll need to find a model that suits your needs to ensure you’re able to enjoy all the benefits.
In this article, you’ll learn more about questions to ask and specifications to consider before you buy one. We’ll explore some of the advantages of the different types so you can make an informed decision.
Consider Your Lifestyle
In essence, all motorised wheelchairs are battery operated and often maneuvered using a lever or ‘joystick’. Their power source can be recharged, and they range from fairly basic to highly customised bespoke options to match individual needs.
The experts at Power Chairs Australia recommend starting by considering your lifestyle, as this will help you find the best fit.
Space and Size
Before buying a power wheelchair, keep in mind that these chairs are much heavier and larger than their manual counterparts.
Check that you’ve got adequate space in your car and take into account if you need to lift it by yourself or if you’ll have assistance. Also consider your home’s layout, the access through doors and hallways, and storage or ‘parking’ space for when it’s not in use.
While they’re bulkier, they offer significant added value, particularly for users with weaker arms or who get tired quickly. For maximum support, you should also look at the weight capacity it can carry, the seat width, and the padding to ensure optimal comfort.
If you’re frequently on the move or need it for travel, a lighter, foldable version may be better suited to your style. Also, remember to get a proper chair for outdoor use if you’re often spending time in the garden or surrounds.
If you’re not always near an electrical socket check that the battery range will last for as long as you need it to. Alternatively, ensure you have a spare one fully charged and ready to swap before you’re stuck without power.
Budget and Cost
These chairs can be expensive, especially if they’re customised. Consider your budget against the price to find a cost-effective option.
You may qualify for assistance if you’ve got insurance that covers mobility, so check the conditions in your policy schedule. Ask your broker or seek advice from your medical service providers if unsure.
If budget is a concern, perhaps consider getting a second-hand model, provided it’s in good working order. Alternatively, some stockists may also have a demo chair available for you to test before you make the purchase.
Questions to Ask Before You Commit
When you’ve found a model that suits your unique needs and to help you make a sound investment, we recommend asking these questions before you commit.
Guarantees and Damage
Look into the guarantee and warranty for your power chair and ensure you understand the terms and conditions.
You may also need to insure it against loss or damage, so get that in place for peace of mind. Check the options with your service provider or add it to your general cover with other valuables.
After Sales Service
Your electric wheelchair is a technical piece of equipment and will need to be maintained to perform at its best. Ask the seller about after-sales service on offer, the availability of spare parts and cost of upkeep.
Accessories and Adjustments
You may not find a chair that’s complete to your liking, so ask about accessories to get it up to the functional level you require. Depending on whether you’re left or right-handed you may need to have the controls adjusted too.
A motorised wheelchair offers independence and can bring comfort, but you must ensure it suits your individual needs to benefit genuinely.
Match your chair to your lifestyle requirements to ensure you get value for your money. Ask all the technical questions before you commit to avoid disappointment and remain optimally mobile.