Advances in wheelchair technology mean there is now a range of electric wheelchairs available for individuals with limited mobility. However, this has not relegated lightweight wheelchairs to the history books. When comparing lightweight wheelchairs against powerchairs, there are still several advantages that a non-motorised wheelchair can provide over an electric wheelchair.
Suppliers of lightweight wheelchairs, such as Karma Mobility, and wheelchair dealers can talk through the details of buying a lightweight wheelchair with users. Below are some of the key points to consider.
Ease of use
A lightweight wheelchair doesn’t come with a bulky battery or motorised parts that add to its size. This often makes it the preferable choice for home use, where navigating tight corridors and doorways on a daily basis can become a strain with a larger mobility aid.
Electric wheelchairs require their batteries to be charged and being motorised can often require more maintenance, as there are more parts that can fail. A lightweight wheelchair is a simpler piece of kit, which keeps maintenance to a minimum.
Travelling on public transport
Lightweight wheelchairs can be folded away with ease. Their compact nature once packed away means that they can be more easily stowed away on public transport, such as trains, planes and the tube. There is plenty of advice available for wheelchair users on public transport that can make trips out a safer experience.
Travelling in the car can also be made easier with a lightweight wheelchair, for the same reasons of stowability.
Making the choice
As described above, there are several advantages to using a lightweight wheelchair. However, these should be considered in the light of each user’s personal needs and lifestyle. For those wanting to travel longer distances, a powerchair may still be more appropriate. Some users may want to have both a powerchair for outdoor use and a lightweight wheelchair for home use.
For those struggling to decide what kind of wheelchair to get, there are several sources to turn to for advice:
• Wheelchair suppliers
• Wheelchair dealers
• Local GP or occupational therapist
• NHS wheelchair services
• Fellow wheelchair users.
Once a user has decided what they want to purchase, funding options can also be looked into.