Not every wheelchair user’s experience is universal. Some people find their chair intuitively easy to use, while others don’t. Life in a wheelchair is different for everyone; however, there are some valuable tips and tricks that can come in handy for even the most experienced wheelchair user. Here are just a few.
Plan Ahead and Research Your Destinations
Knowing ahead of time whether or not your destination has the appropriate accessibility options for you can make your life much easier. Find out if there will be ramps, railings, wheelchair-accessible bathroom facilities, and parking close to the entrance. Not everywhere has caught up with the demand for better accessibility, so it’s always worth checking before you make any firm plans.
Concentrate on Comfort
If you are going to be using your wheelchair for the majority of the day, it’s vital that you ensure it is as comfortable as possible. Cushioning and angle adjustments are a must.
Keep Your Wheelchair Clean
Like any other kind of equipment, your wheelchair should be kept clean to optimize its performance. Dirt or debris in the wheels or other mechanisms, such as the brakes, can lead to unsafe situations. A clean wheelchair is also more comfortable to use.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Need
People can act strangely around wheelchair users. This may be out of awkwardness or uncertainty. Don’t let this discourage you from asking for what you want or drawing attention to your needs. If you can’t reach something safely, ask someone nearby. If you need someone to get out of your way, let them know you need to pass. Confidence isn’t always easy, but it’s a valuable tool.
Take Advantage of Travel Modifications
Wheelchairs are for getting around. This doesn’t mean they are perfect at it all the time. Different situations call for different mobility equipment, even if you have found your ideal wheelchair. For example, modifications such as anti-tippers can help to prevent you from falling if your chair encounters a flaw in the ground surface. Other modifications, such as those found in the wheelchair-accessible vehicles at Allied Mobility, not only increase your safety but also your ability to travel further for longer.
To reduce the need for physical movement, try using voice-activated technology for lights, music, or even using the phone. Grabbers can also help to extend your reach and make it easier to navigate daily life.
Invest in Safety
Whatever reason you have for requiring the use of a wheelchair, you are more at risk of tipping over or encountering dangerous obstacles. This is because the world has been primarily designed around the needs of people with full mobility. Invest in a bathroom renovation or adjust your kitchen fixtures. Trying to use a shower cubicle or stove without appropriate adjustments can be possible, but it adds unnecessary risk to everyday tasks. While the rest of the world might still be catching up with accessibility, you can create your own haven of efficiency and comfort at home.