From manual or electric, to specialist sports and all terrain models, there are so many different types of wheelchair that it might not always be easy to choose. One important consideration when trying to choose is how much space is available for storage both at home and when using transport. If ease of storage is important, then a folding wheelchair may provide the ideal solution. Available in both manual electric versions, folding wheelchairs can provide various benefits.
- There are so many different types of wheelchair available it can be difficult to to choose.
- The amount of space available for storage and travel may be key to the decision.
- Folding wheelchairs may provide the practical solution for easy storage.
The most obvious benefit to foldable wheelchairs is the storage and transport flexibility. Easily fitting into a smaller inside space, car, or WAV makes them eminently practical.
There can also be a misconception that folding wheelchairs must be manual but in fact, there is a wide range available from self-propelled to electric versions that can offer the best of both worlds – providing durability, performance, style and comfort, combined with the advantages of a lightweight structure.
When choosing a foldable wheelchair, there are things to consider that may help with the final decision as individual users will have different priorities – notwithstanding the overall benefits of a compact design.
Firstly, no amount of features or benefits make any wheelchair the right choice if it isn’t comfortable or able to be adjusted to maintain that comfort. Seat and backrest padding is very important, especially if the wheelchair is to be used for extended periods. Similarly, footrests and arm rests should be adjustable so they can be altered as necessary to maintain comfort even for short journeys.
Assessing the portability of each wheelchair on the shortlist is also important because although ease of storage and transport is a fundamental feature of all foldable wheelchairs, some may be more suitable than others in terms of weight and size. Also, the ease and speed of folding and unfolding between wheelchairs may vary depending on the mechanism, and what is ideal for the home may be less ideal for car travel or when using public transport.
Having assessed comfort and portability, consider how manoeuvrable a wheelchair is, and how it supports accessibility. This means checking that it has a small turning circle, responds smartly, is easy to propel and can transition smoothly over different types of terrain. For example, removable armrests or footrests that can be shifted into different positions may significantly help with access in and out of the wheelchair, as well as with storage. What may at first appear to be a minor detail can make a major difference to day-to-day convenience and usability.
A wheelchair user’s faith in the robustness of their foldable wheelchair can make a big difference to how confident and safe they feel when using it. Looking for high build quality means that it should feel strong and stable and be made with sturdy components and high-quality materials. Feeling confident that their choice will last for a long time and is durable enough to withstand plenty of use is likely to improve the overall experience.
By considering these various aspects when choosing a portable wheelchair, people give themselves the best option for user-friendly, stress free, long-lasting mobility.