When customers contact us here in Alton about buying a powered wheelchair or powerchair, one of the first questions we ask is: what exactly is it going to be needed for?
In the majority of cases, the answer is mainly for use around the home – understandably so. After all, indoors is likely to be where the user will be spending most of their time and, if walking or even standing is problematic, it’s important that they can easily manoeuvre from one room to another. An electric wheelchair that won’t require someone having to push the person around is often the perfect solution.
This is why powered wheelchairs and powerchairs are so popular – they provide a convenient means of maintaining independence “under your own steam.”
The focus, therefore, should be on a powerchair or powered wheelchair that’s going to be manageable, practical and comfortable. Taking into account the level of disability, along with the user’s size and weight, the choice may well then depend upon the layout of the property, steps and thresholds that may need negotiating and whether or not there is need for some degree of outside use – to get into the garden, or to pop down to the shops every now and again. (If you were wondering, the good news is that many indoor powered wheelchairs and powerchairs are also designed for a certain amount of outdoor use).
Comfort is always going to be a major consideration – especially if the user is going to be sitting in their chair for long periods of time. It will help if they are able to get in and out of the chair unaided, to walk a little, or move onto a sofa or recliner. This will provide some respite. Nevertheless, the seat needs to be a good fit, with the requisite level of neck and back support.
Besides the comfort aspect, however, there are other factors that need to be considered; health and safety being fundamental, e.g. ensuring that there isn’t a build-up of pressure areas after long periods of inactivity, or whether it would be important to have a seat that elevates, in order to reach a work surface without standing up – to make a cup of tea safely, for instance.
In addition, does the equipment need to be portable enough to be put into the boot of a car? In which case, a wheelchair that it is possible to break down and transportable could well be the answer. Bear in mind, a chair that comes apart into smaller components is going to be much easier to move about because it becomes lighter, rather than a chair that simply folds – it will still weigh the same!
Depending on the level of disability, it may be necessary for the user to be fitted with a crash tested wheelchair (this is a subject we will cover in more detail in a later blog).
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when choosing the most suitable type of electric wheelchair.
So where should you start? Well, we sell a comprehensive range of indoor powered wheelchairs and powerchairs, but a great starting point would be the Pride Go Chair Compact. Whilst this is primarily an indoor powerchair, the beauty is that it can also be used for a certain amount of outdoor use, e.g. on smooth pavements a short distance to the shops. It has useful storage for items such as shopping bags and can be broken down easily, making it straightforward to store, as well as transportable in the car. The Go Chair is priced at £2038 including VAT.
We recommend a Test Drive
Our advice, however, is: don’t buy without thoroughly testing what’s available. Until you try one for size, it would be difficult to say with any certainty which chair will offer the most practical and cost effective solution. That’s why a demo test drive is essential before making a decision.
At our showroom in Southview Rise, Alton, we have two types of chair for test driving – one the Pride Go Chair (described above) and the other, a larger Pride Jazzy Select, which has different seat options. This will provide a good indication of how large and adaptable the eventual choice of chair will need to be.
Rest assured, the well-trained staff in our Alton showroom are highly adept at helping match clients with the most appropriate powered wheelchair or powerchair, within an affordable budget. Of course, some degree of compromise may be required, but we will do our best to tick every box in terms of driveability, functionality and price.
Whilst we provide a range of motorised wheelchair solutions for many people living with disabilities throughout the immediate Alton area, we also have clients travelling distance from across Hampshire to see us, so if you live within a reasonable radius, we would heartily recommend popping in. We can provide all the help and advice you need to make an informed choice.