Being diagnosed with a critical illness, disease or disability – in my case multiple sclerosis – is bad news. But when I was diagnosed, in 2002, it was a relief. Relief? Yes, it was a relief because, although not something anyone would wish to hear, I then knew what was wrong.
Over those years, I have become a wheelchair user. Not all the time, just when I need it. At home, I get around without one and can just about walk out to the car, if I sit down halfway. There is a low wall that meets that need.
More recently, I have graduated to an electric wheelchair and that gives me much greater independence to get about without needing to be pushed around. Problem is that these chairs are big and heavy. To transport them, a wheelchair adapted vehicle is required.
So, that got me thinking about the development of tomorrow’s wheelchairs.
I have already written about lightweight folding electric wheelchairs that can fit in the boot or trunk of a small car as well as being light enough to use to go ashore from a cruise ship when it is using tenders to move passengers to and from the port.
But there are other exciting developments too.
Technological advancements are being made all the time, so it should comes as no surprise that we now have tomorrow’s wheelchairs today. Just take a look at these:
Devices that enable paraplegics and people with disabilities to move around in a standing position. This provides better cardiovascular health, the ability to make eye-to-eye contact and the independence to reach high and low heights.
All-terrain wheelchairs (ATW) allow the user to venture out around town or get into the countryside. It can also reach where other chairs don´t dare to go. These include a beach, down muddy tracks, over grass or gravel, or along cobbled streets. The ATW can even push through snow.
A wheelchair user can even get one designed and built to suit their individual lifestyle.
Then there are the electric, powered, add-ons that can be fitted onto an existing manual wheelchair, turning it into a powered chair.
There is a multi-directional chair that allows the driver to move forward and backward, side-to-side, and diagonally as well using a hand-held control system. Extremely responsive the chair can be driven through tighter spaces quite easily.
And let´s not forget disability scooters. These come in various types and sizes including those that break down into a number if pieces to fit in a car. However, there is now a transportable folding scooter that actually unfolds and folds itself.
It´s just my opinion but I find that wheelchairs are more maneuverable than scooters as they require a larger turning circle. What´s more, I need something light, easy to fold and really compact when folded to improve my lifestyle. And that is why I have ordered one of Better Product for Disabled People´s silver chairs. Cannot wait for it to arrive.