Buying a new wheelchair can be an incredibly exciting and liberating experience for many people. There are certainly a lot of benefits to owning one, and if you have had difficulties with mobility then the prospect of getting your freedom back can be very exciting indeed.
The global market for electric wheelchairs is predicted to grow to $5.8 billion by 2027 (source Allied Market Research), so the options available to you as a consumer is rapidly changing. It’s therefore important to consider several different factors before going out and buying one. Below we’ve listed 4 important questions to ask yourself before starting on your purchasing journey.
What Electric Wheelchair will I need?
There are so many different types of electric wheelchair available on the market, from lightweight, portable chairs; to more sturdy chairs designed for durability.
Below we’ve listed some of the main types to consider:
- Rear drive wheel drive – great for comfort and stability
- Front wheel drive – better for uneven terrain and passing over obstacles
- Mid wheel drive – sturdy and good manoeuvrability in tight spaces
- Folding chairs – lightweight and portable, making them easy to transport
Why do I need it?
This can often answer the question above for you. Each type of wheelchair has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to think about the sort of situations where you’re going to be using your wheelchair most. For example, if you commute to work, then a folding wheelchair might be more convenient to fit in the boot of your car.
Equally, if you spend a lot of time in the house and don’t have a permanent helper, a larger, more robust solution might be required in the form of a mid-wheel drive chair. This will make moving around in tight spaces easier than a front wheel drive chair, while also giving you the comfort a larger chair provides.
Who do I buy it from?
There are many retailers that offer test drives and advice from knowledgeable staff. However, in the current climate with lockdown restrictions, that might be more difficult. Some companies like Ross Care, are offering online consultations with a clinician and the ability to browse and buy a wide range of electric wheelchairs through their website. Alternatively, there are a wide range of grants available if buying one isn’t an option. This tool helps to find grants for mobility equipment in your local area.
There are plenty of question to ask yourself before looking into electric wheelchairs. It’s important your new chair will provide assistance when needed in order to help you achieve your mobility goals. They can be a big investment, so it’s a decision you’ll want to get right.
With so many options available to you, it’s vital your chair fits in with your lifestyle and remains a practical and reliable piece of equipment for years to come.