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News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

Choosing the right wheelchair for your needs

on April 26, 2016

invacare-mirage-396x266_edited product-list-xs2-alum-w300h330               Left, a standard non-folding electric wheelchair and, right, a self-propelling manual chair.

To walk no further than 10 to 15 yards, the way multiple sclerosis affects me means that a walking stick or a cane is required. At the end of that, I need to sit and take a break. And even that short distance cannot be repeated over and over again.

So, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that a wheelchair is required if I need to move any greater distance than those few yards. But choosing the right wheelchair is not as easy as it might first appear as the choice is enormous.

The choice is extremely personal as the chair must suit your own individual needs.

In my case, it started off with a self-propelled manual chair, the type with the large rear wheels that are designed to be pushed by the wheelchair user. However, there was a problem that really should have anticipated. Multiple sclerosis has taken away most of the strength and dexterity of the left side of my body and so using both hands to propel the wheelchair is impossible. Going around in left hand circles? No problem there. Going straight or turning right? Forget it.

So a manual chair, for me, means the presence of a carer – a role lovingly performed by my wife, Lisa, with no complaints. But independence? Forget it.

An electric wheelchair was suggested and freedom of movement and independence was restored. Well, restored  up to a point.

You see, using it from home is no problem but if you want to use it elsewhere the electric chair has to be loaded into a car and unloaded at the other end and visa versa for the return trip. And, because of its size, it won’t fit in a normal car. I have a seven-seater MPV (or minivan) to carry mine.

bpdp06 foldedNow, though, lightweight folding electric chairs have started to become more widely known and are a fraction of the weight of traditional models, can be folded in seconds with batteries still on board, and simply lifted in and out of a standard car.

They are just fantastic and I am looking forward to being able to get one.

bpdp06From checking out the market, I’d say that Better Products for Disabled People (BPDP) is offering one of the best deals at the moment. It has two chairs to choose between and many different colours. The prices are reasonable, with the smaller one at £1758.50 [GBP] (seat width 400mm, weight 25kg and capacity 120kg) and the larger one at £1938.51 (seat 480mm, weight 27kg and capacity 180kg) – and that includes free delivery anywhere in the world.

 

http://better-products-for-disabled-people.myshopify.com/

 

 

 


9 Responses to “Choosing the right wheelchair for your needs”

  1. Susan Burke says:

    Interesting blog , thank you . Took me ages to swallow my pride and use a stick , but then it got as I’d no choice . Now the time has come when I’m going to have to use a chair . As it is now I’m in pain on walking and before and after 10metres it hurts and can not go on and can’t get back . So it’s either stop in or take the ruddy thing . I was thinking of a mobility scooter too , but after reading a past blog of yours , I’d be worried the battery would run out ! The electric fold up chair looks great , don’t like the colour lol , never seen one before . Thanks for the blogs , I read them all .

    • ian0811 says:

      Thank you for your kind words. Don’t worry about colours, there are plenty to choose from. If you go to the BPDP site, you’ll be able to see them all.

  2. Nan says:

    I hope you find your chair helpful. I have MS too and can’t walk too far with my crutches without resting. I just got a GRIT chair from here in the US. It is a mountain bike based chair for off road use, using levers for propulsion. I use forearm crutches most of the time and just want to be able to get out and be in the outdoors.

  3. Gillian Cunningham Wright says:

    Hello
    I just wanted to thank you for this post. My husband has relapsing remitting MS and has lost the power in his left side like you. He is just at the difficult stage where he can hardly manage on two sticks. Our Occ Therapist got him a wheelchair but it is huge and heavy. We can’t lift it our put it in our car.

    This electric chair looks amazing and could be the solution to giving him back some independence. We just need to start saving up for it.

    Thank you again.

    Gill

    • ian0811 says:

      Hi Gill, I am so pleased that my blog may have helped you. If you are interested in a scooter instead of a chair, the Better Products for Disabled People company has today launched its new foldable scooter. It’s on the company website. I think chairs are more comfortable and can be operated by one hand. Also, if needed, you can use a chair indoors. Whatever you decide, I wish you both well.

      • Gillian Cunningham Wright says:

        Hi Ian
        Thank you for your well wishes. I wonder if you might be good enough to post a review of the electric chair if you get one. I would be very interested to hear what you think about it and how enabling it might be.
        Best wishes
        Gill

  4. Michael says:

    Great blog and a fold able electric chair does sound like the proper choice for you.
    However for people in your situation that could benefit from the exercise a manual chair provides. There are manual chairs available that are designed and configured to be operated one handed. Others may want to research this a bit prior to the purchase of an electric chair.

  5. Cheryl westwell says:

    I love both chairs

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