Best Power Wheelchairs

 

How to Choose the Right Power Wheelchair For Your Individual Needs

 

 

Power Wheelchair or Manual Wheelchair?

 

Choosing the best power wheelchair for your situation can be daunting.

The first decision is to determine the type of wheelchair you need. In most cases you’ll have a choice between a manual (powered by the individual) or electric (wheelchair w/ external power supply).

This choice will often be the easiest, as you may be forced into one or the other for economic or physical reasons.

 

 

 

 

If you have decided to look for an electric, or power chair, you’ll then have to look at a variety of factors…

 

 

You’ll first need to determine what you’ll be using the wheelchair for.

 

This is where it can become a bit more difficult and it may be necessary to consult with an occupational or physical therapist.

 

 

Here are a few questions to ask:

 

  • Is the wheelchair for indoor or outdoor use?
  • How important is maneuverability?
  • Do you need it to fold?
  • How easily can it be transported?
  • Are there any weight requirements?
  • Are there any seating requirements?
  • Are there any speed requirements?
  • Cost, how affordable is it?

 

Jazzy Select 6

 

 

The Jazzy SelectTM 6 from Pride Mobility provides maximum front stability, combined with the advantages of in-line motor technology.

 

 

The Jazzy uses Active-trac Suspension and 6″ front and rear casters for superior performance indoors and out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It also may be a good idea to speak with other individuals that have purchased or have used a power wheelchair in the past. They’ll be able to give you some of the best advice and recommendations.

 

Ultimately, the user should give the wheelchair a test drive before a purchase is made. This doesn’t mean a testing it in the showroom. This means actually taking it home and putting it to some functional, real world use.

 

Also be sure to check out some electric wheelchair reviews  for user ratings and reviews on current models.

 

 

Attributes of Power Wheelchairs

 

  • Powered by a battery – Less physical exertion.
  • Easily go uphill – Manual chairs could have difficulty.
  • No need for someone to assist you
  • Freedom

 

 

 

Drive System & Design Characteristics

 

Most modern battery powered wheelchairs have designs that can be classified as either Rear Wheel Drive (RWD), Mid Wheel Drive (MWD), or Front Wheel Drive (FWD). Each configuration is determined by the location of the drive system in relation to the users center of gravity. All three systems have unique driving and handling characteristics that will appeal to the different needs of the user.

 

 

Drive Medical titan18cs Titan Transportable Front Wheel Power Wheelchair Full Back Captain'S Seat 18 X

 

Front-Wheel Drive wheelchairs offer exceptional indoor/outdoor maneuverability with a design that mounts 2 large wheels in front of the seating area.

The front wheel drive Titan power wheelchair is a comfortable and stylish option for users seeking a transportable power mobility product that’s ideal for indoor and outdoor use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front-wheel drive chairs are great all around wheelchairs that are suitable for outdoor use but will tend to fishtail at higher speeds. For this reason they are typically manufactured to travel slower than other power chair varieties.

The overall turning radius is about 22″ to 28″, depending on the manufacturer. The design gives many users a sense that the wheelchair is pulling them due to the front mounted wheel position.

 

 

 

 

Mid-Wheel Drive wheelchairs offer excellent indoor maneuverability because the wheels are located directly under the user.

They typically are manufactured with 2 sets of casters located in the front and back that offer stability. Putting the wheels under the user’s center of gravity allows for an extremely tight turning radius.

This design is perfect for small apartments, nursing homes, or anywhere else where precision movement is necessary.

 

 

 

(Below) Mid-Wheel Drive Example:  Drive Medical Image Ec Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair 20 inch

 

Drive Medical Image Ec Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair, 20 Inch

 

The one area of concern for a mid-wheel drive system is the ability to maneuver outdoors, over hills, and across tougher terrain.

A mid-wheel drive system needs to remain on stable, flat surfaces for optimal performance.

However, the fact that they are designed for indoor use doesn’t mean you can’t use them outside though and many retailers will advertise them as being both indoor/outdoor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDALIST450RD22CS - Drive Medical Medalist Heavy Duty Power Wheelchair, 22 Seat, Red

 

Rear-Wheel Drive was the design for the original powered mobility device.

They are stable, maneuverable, and offer the highest top end speeds available in a power wheelchair market (see speed chart below).

Affixing the wheels in the rear provides the chair with excellent balance in almost any terrain.

Rear-Wheel Drive Example (left): Drive Medical Medalist Heavy Duty Power Wheelchair, Rear Wheel Drive

 

 

 

The major disadvantage with this design is that turning radius will typically increase compared with the front and mid configurations.

Rear wheel drive power chairs are great for outdoor use and provide predictable driving characteristics and stability.

 

 

 

Types, Configurations, & Specialty

 

There are a variety of power wheelchair types on the market. In most cases they can be categorized by their configuration and use.

 

 

Invacare Pronto P31 Power Wheelchair (Blue)The most popular modern power wheelchair offered by retailers is the platform style.
 
This style incorporates a powered base with a completely separate seating system.
Platform wheelchairs are often considered a more stable option compared to the traditional powered wheelchair.
 
They are also easier to transport since the seat can be completely separated from the base.

The Invacare® Pronto® 31 Power Wheelchair  above is a compact front-wheel drive power wheelchair features simple handling, durability and comfort all in an ultra-sleek design.

 

 

 

Drive Medical Sentra Reclining Wheelchair with Various Arm Styles and Elevating Legrest, 22"
There are a number of other specialty power wheelchairs on the market as well including reclining and (rehab) tilt-in-space wheelchairs.

 

Reclining wheelchairs have a seat backing that is completely independent of the chair allowing for separate functionality.
 
The Sentra Reclining Wheelchair from Drive Medical (left) is truly reclining, allowing infinite adjustments up to 180 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karman Healthcare VIP515TP-18-E Foldable Tilt in Space, Diamond Black, 14 Inches Rear Wheels and Elevating Legrests and 18 Inches Seat Width
The tilt in space wheelchair, on the other hand, not only reclines but completely shifts the weight of the user.
 
The entire chair, including the seat, backing, leg & arm rests can be aligned to the users preference without assistance.
 
 The Karman tilt-in-space wheelchair uses the intelligent 0-35 center-of-gravity weight shifting to shift pressure and reduce bedsores. With newly designed swing in and away footrests, as well as flip-back armrests that are height adjustable, this chair is sure to provide optimum comfort.

 

 

 

 

Karman XO-101 ( XO-101 ) 18" Manual Push-Power Assist Stand Wheelchair & FREE Universal Medical Utility Bag

 

 

 

One of the more recent alternatives to powered mobility is a hybrid or power assist system.

This type of wheelchair incorporates a traditional manual wheelchair with the power of electric.

(Left) Karman XO-101 18″ Push Power-Assist Stand Wheelchair  

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Lightweight Dual Function Foldable Power Wheelchair (Polymer Li-ion Battery) with Magnesium Alloy Rim. Drive with Power or use as Manual Wheelchair. (Electric Motorised Wheelchair)
The PW-800AX is a dual function power wheelchair with standard large rear wheels, meaning you can row manually as usual and drive by power when you are tired.

 

It takes just a few seconds to change from power mode to manual mode, so it helps to take away fear of running out of battery in the middle of your trip.
It is lightweight, foldable, easy to use, practical, efficient and stylish. With that in mind, there is no compromise when it comes to functionality, quality and durability.

 

 

The power-assist system is designed to increase the number of revolutions per pass thus giving the user a noticeable increase in propulsion efficiency. The power systems are light enough to be easily attached and remove to the frame of a manual wheelchair making transportation easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bariatric Wheelchairs

 

With weight capacities of up to 700 lbs and seat sizes up to 30,” bariatric wheelchairs (often referred to as extra wide wheelchairs or heavy duty wheelchairs) are strong enough to accommodate almost any user.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Technologies GP620 Golden Compass HD - Blue

 

The Golden Compass HD offers you a stable, center-wheel-drive platform and an articulating chassis for stability over tough terrain.
 
A bigger, beefier version of the popular Compass, the Compass HD has a 450 lb. weight capacity, yet a modest 20-inch turning radius.

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
Merit’s Atlantis P710 (below) is a heavy duty powerchair with 600 lbs. weight capacity and four seat post that makes it more stable.
ATLANTIS Heavy Duty Bariatric Electric Power Wheelchair Merits P710 + Free Challenger Cover

 

Just like the lighter, manual chairs, heavy duty models are usually foldable and feature armrests and swing-away footrests – but they differ quite a bit in their construction. While lightweight wheelchairs often employ materials like aluminum or titanium alloy, a bariatric wheelchair is usually fashioned from steel.

 

 

Foldable Power Wheelchairs

 

If you’ll be traveling often, and need a highly-portable option, a folding lightweight wheelchair may be for you. Some popular examples are shown below.

 

 

 

 

EZ Lite Cruiser Personal Mobility Aid
The EZ Lite Cruiser (above) is leading the revolution in personal mobility. It is extremely convenient due to its compact size and ability to be transported in just about any vehicle.
 
Not only can you can store the EZ Lite Cruiser in your home or garage, but you can conveniently take it with you in a personal vehicle such as a Car, Truck or SUV. It is also extremely convenient to take on an Train, Bus, Cruise Ship or Airplane.

 

The EZ Lite Cruiser is composed of a lightweight aluminum alloy that is extremely durable and can handle passengers weighing up to 264 pounds.

 

Lightweight wheelchairs provide convenience and comfort to the user and caregiver alike and are often built using materials like aluminum and titanium alloy, while foldable wheelchairs allow for easy storage and transport. Merge the two styles, and you’ve got a great mobility aid that isn’t a pain to lug around.

 

Electric Wheelchair Wheels & Tires

 

 

Wheelchair TiresThere are a number of options when in comes to the wheels and tires of your power wheelchair. Most retailers typically offer 3 tire options: Pneumatic (air filled), foam filled, or solid rubber.

Pneumatic tires offer an extremely smooth and stable ride. The air and tread on the tires hug the road. They really only have one drawback, they often require more maintenance, will often lose air, or if punctured, can go completely flat.

 

 

The foam filled and solid rubber designs are also popular options. Even though you’ll feel every bump and indent in the road, you’ll have the peace of mind that they will never lose air or go flat. It usually comes down to user preference between one design or the other.

 

 

 

 

 

The Wheelchair Controller/Joystick

 

The controller for most powered wheelchairs is a keypad alongside a joystick that controls both direction and speed.

 

When the joystick is moved in any direction, the brakes disengage, and the chair moves. The further you move the joystick from the neutral position the faster it will go.

When the chair is put back in neutral state, it will decelerate, the brakes will re-engage, and the chair stops.

The keypad activates other functions of the chair that you may need. Some wheelchairs offer more sophisticated, alternative wheelchair controlling devices for individuals that have limited use of their hands.

 

 

Some of the other controlling options are:

 

  • Sip and Puff – commands are given by inhaling or exhaling with an attached tube.
  • Head Controls – switches are added to the sides of the headrest.
  • Foot Controls – pedals and buttons are added to the foot rests of the wheelchair.
  • Chin Controls – the controller is mounted near the chin.
  • Speech Controls – the controller uses a simple speech recognition program.


 

 

 

Power Wheelchair Batteries

 

Electric wheelchair users typically have limited strength in their arms and torso, and thus need an external power source for assistance.

 

Compatible Wheelchair Battery for Pride Mobility Jazzy 1143

 

The battery used in most power wheelchairs is a (deep cycle) lead acid battery that is either a wet cell, a gel cell, or an AGM (absorbed glass matt) battery. Although they look and feel similar, electric wheelchair batteries shouldn’t be confused with car batteries. They are vastly different in design and use and should never be interchanged.

 

Wet cell batteries typically hold a charge for longer and offer more power than the gel cell variety. Their major drawback comes down to maintenance issues and leakage during transport.

 

They are not recommended for travel because of the acids that are housed within the unit. If tilted or cracked the battery could spill and corrode the vital electrical systems, wiring, or motor of your wheelchair.

 

Many air and cruse lines will often refuse to transport any motorized wheelchair if it is powered by a wet-cell battery. Wet cell batteries are relatively inexpensive compared to gel cell and thus are still very popular.

 

Gel cell batteries were developed to alleviate some of the safety and maintenance concerns that were involved in transporting an electric wheelchair.

 

Gel cell batteries are sealed and dry with no potential for spills. This is due to the silica gel that suspends the acids (electrolyte) in the battery. So if they are broken or punctured they will not leak.

 

Gel-cell lead-acid batteries were developed to be maintenance free and should be approved for storage on most airlines and cruise ships. The disadvantage of gel-cell batteries is that they usually have less capacity and are more expensive.

 

Power wheelchairs typically utilize 2 – 12 volt deep cycle batteries that must be re-charged on a regular basis.

 

The batteries make them significantly heavier than most manually powered chairs, making it necessary for the wheelchairs to be manufactured with a stronger sturdier frame to support the battery, motor, the user, and any additional adaptive equipment.

 

The range of the battery will often depend on a number of factors including: the users weight, ground level, and temperature.

 

 

Speed – How Fast Can Power Wheelchairs Go?

 

Speed of a Power Wheelchair

 

The speed of your power chair will typically depend on the model. The top baseline speed of most electric wheelchairs and many other powered mobility vehicles is about 4-5 MPH. 

 

 

 

Range – How Far Can They Go?

 

The distance a power chair can travel, or range, will largely depend on the model and its intended use. Many manufacturers will quote a range of 20 – 25 miles for a typical power chair.

Ultimately, the range of your electric wheelchair will depend on a number of factors including: wheelchair battery type, battery age, battery size, the weight of the rider, maximum driven speed, drive train efficiency, driver behavior, and the terrain. In general, the use of a wet cell wheelchair battery will also increase the range. Range is an important metric that should be considered in the selection and design of a power wheelchair.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

Mobility Scooter Buying Guide

Help Your Older Adult Move From Wheelchair to Toilet

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

Getting Your Wheelchair Into the Car

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

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Choosing a Transport Chair

Choosing the Right Transport Chair For Your Needs

 

 

 

 

A transport chair is specifically designed to be pushed by a caretaker, or a person other than the wheelchair user.

Transport or travel chairs are the type most commonly found in healthcare facilities such as retirement homes.

A caregiver can propel the elderly user in the chair, which makes their daily living much easier.

It is usually a light wheelchair that easily folds to fit in your car trunk and is not as bulky as a standard wheelchair.

 

 

The Difference Between Transport Chairs and Manual Wheelchairs

 

The most obvious components of a transport chair are the four small wheels that are standard with all transport chairs. Sometimes the rear wheels are a little larger, but not on the scale of a manual wheelchair.

 

Usually a manual wheelchair will have 2 small wheels in the front to allow a good turning radius, and large wheels on the back to allow the user to propel on their own. With transport wheelchairs, large rear wheels are not necessary because at all times the chair will be pushed by an individual other than the person in the chair.

 

Transport chairs also tend to be a whole lot lighter than their manual counterpart. This is because it is made to be compact and does not need all the extra “fluff” accessories that tend to weigh down manual chairs.

They are also usually a lot narrower in width than most manual chairs. This is to allow the user to fit through narrow hallways or doorways when traveling indoors.

Since transport chairs are designed to be very lightweight, they are very easy to push for caregivers, without exerting too much energy.

   

 

Example:

The Karman S-115 Ergo Transport Wheelchair features an ergonomic “S” shaped seat that provides the perfect shape to fit the human body to relieve pressure, increase stabilization, weight distribution and lower the risk of pressure sores and scoliosis.

 

 

Factors in Choosing the Right Transport Chair

 

 

Weight

Since this is supposed to be an easily transportable item, weight is important, especially if you are going to more than one location throughout the day. The lower cost more basic transport chairs are typically made of steel, so will be heavier. Aluminum transport chairs are lighter and cost more but are more popular. Rule of thumb, as the chair weight goes down the cost typically increases.

 

 

Transport Chair Seat Size 

Comfort is a key criterion, so choosing the proper size chair is important. The most common seat width is 19”, but they are also available for smaller people at 17” or larger people up to 22”. It’s best to consult with a therapist, health professional or provider when making this choice. As well, the majority of transport chairs come with foot rests that are adjustable in length, swing out of the way and are removable for convenience when storing or putting in the car. It’s a good idea to make sure that is the case with the chair you’re considering.

 

 

Brakes

The brakes are used to lock the chair in place when stationary, and are an important safety item when getting in and out of the chair. They are usually located on the rear wheels.

Not all braking systems are equal.  Typically the lower cost transport chairs have a more basic breaking system. In many cases this is sufficient; however, if this is a concern you should take a look at the higher end transport chairs, as you will find that the mechanism is better quality and they brake better.

As well, some transport chairs come with hand brakes, this can be convenient if you’re dealing with hilly surfaces or a heavier person.

 

 

 

 

Wheels

The better quality chairs usually have larger and softer wheels providing a better ride.

 

 

Handles

Some of the better transport chairs have ergonomically designed handles. Again for some this may be helpful while for others unimportant due to infrequent use.

 

 

Flip back and removable arms

Some transport chairs come with flip back and removable arms. The arm rest can flip all the way back if needed. This is important for those who have limited mobility and require lateral transfers from their chairs, cars or any other area.

 

 

Fly Weight Transport Chair 1 Fly Weight Transport Chair 2
The Drive Medical Deluxe Fly-Weight Aluminum Transport Chair pictured above is lighter than the traditional transport chairs. This chair features a deluxe back release that folds down the back and the lightweight aluminum frame makes this chair easy and convenient to store and transport.  
The Drive Medical Deluxe also features composite, 8″ caster wheels in front and rear with rear wheel locks to offer a smooth ride over most surfaces. It includes a soft, plush upholstery, a seat belt for additional safety and a carry pocket on backrest for easy and convenient transportation of personal items.   There are some excellent consumer reviews for this chair.
   

 

Transport Chair/Rollator

 

The Transport Chair/Rollator is simply a Rollator medical walker that converts and allows someone to sit facing forward on the seat with a back support and foot rests.  This can provide a convenient two in one option.

 

 

Example:

The Graham Field Lumex Hybrid LX Rollator Transport Chair above combines the function of a transport chair and a wheeled walker into one lightweight design.

 

 

 

 

 

This HybridLX features a comfortable and wide seat and backrest, secure handgrips and can be converted from a rollator to a transport chair effortlessly.

My mother had this Lumex hybrid rollator, which she mostly used for walking when she was in the hospital and hospice, and recently, my father found it useful as he recovered from a hernia operation.  This has been a very useful piece of mobility equipment in our family, and we have found the quality to be excellent.

 

 

Note that rollator/transport chair combos are not particularly comfortable for long periods of sitting, but their versatility can be very convenient.   For periods of longer sitting, my mother used a transport chair (see below for my recommendation). 

 

 

 

Recommended Transport Wheelchair

 

While everyone has different priorities, I believe that the one chair with the most features for the best value is the TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair by Drive.

According to medical supply store owners that I have spoken to, this chair offers the highest level of comfort and specialization available in a lightweight transport chair.

 

 

The TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair by Drive

 

TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair 1TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair 2TranSport Aluminum Transport Chair 3

 

Comfort

The TranSport chair was designed and built with comfort as a top priority. The foldable seat is stronger and better supported than the seats of most other transport chairs. It is rigid rather than loose, and both the seat and back have a layer of relaxing padding to ease long periods of use.

 

Customizable

This chair is also fully customizable to fit your preferences. The footrests are easy to adjust, requiring no tools, and they are even completely removable. The padded armrests flip up to provide a wider area of use if preferred, and they are also easy to remove.

 

Well-Engineered

The Drive TranSport is also extremely well-engineered. It folds down to only 8.2″, small enough to fit in the trunk of even a compact car. Magnets built into the frame keep it securely closed, so it is easy to deal with and easy to store.

 

Super Lightweight

At 14.4 pounds, this transport chair is one of the lightest on the market! The compact frame and light build don’t impact its stability, though- the TranSport chair still has the 250 pound weight capacity of most other standard transport wheelchairs.

 

Drive Transport Bottom Line

For comfort, convenience, and strength, the Drive TranSport is definitely the best transport wheelchair that I have come across. This chair has many features not found in any other model, and is still a lightweight, easy-to-use chair that is comfortable for both the user and the caregiver. If you are looking for a high-quality transport wheelchair, this one is worth your attention.

 

 

 Final Thoughts

Choosing a transport chair is a big decision, and you want to be certain you will enjoy all the benefits of a chair without any problems. Be sure to look for a lightweight chair with large wheels, comfortable design, and a width that will let you use it without problems.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information on transport chairs. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

Getting Your Wheelchair Into the Car

Power Lift Chair Overview

 

  Detailed Guide to Finding the Right Power Lift Chair

 


 

 

If getting up and down from a sofa or chair is not as simple as it used to be for your loved one, buying a power lift chair may be the right move.

 

For those who have difficulty standing from a seated position, lift chairs are a terrific aid, increasing independence, safety, comfort, and convenience. There are so many options, both in stores and online, when it comes to buying mobility equipment that it can become overwhelming.

 
Before deciding on a particular model, it’s important to assess your wants and needs.  Answer the questions below to help you decide on the options that will be most beneficial in your lift chair.

 

 

Lift Chair Selection Checklist

 

 

Getting Started

 

Have a sense of the room size and décor for an appropriate match

Do you have a fairly tight area in your living room to place the chair? Does it need to be against a wall?  Models are available that can start against a wall and slide open forward without banging into the wall behind it. Standard models which both slide out and backwards may be a problem in tight areas.

 

 

 

 

What size will you need based on the user’s height and weight? 

Just like any recliner, you want the chair to fit your body size. This is very important because the larger the chair, the deeper the seat cushion. Choose a chair that’s too big and your legs may not touch the floor when sitting straight up. Choose a model that’s too small and your lower back area might not respond well.

 

 

Next, Consider the Three Reclining Configurations

 

Along with the power lift feature, lift chairs are available in three reclining configurations that operate via the remote hand control.

Lift chairs are differentiated by the degree of recline they can reach, recline mechanism and position of the footrest. There are three different types of lift chairs: two-position, three-position and infinite position.

 

2 Position Lift Chairs – Offer a limited reclining backrest with an elevating ottoman, designed for increased comfort These chairs have a reclining range of 45 degrees. For many, this is a comfortable position for reading and watching TV.

 

3 Position Lift Chairs – Offer an extended reclining backrest that can be positioned in a number of recline angles, and with an ottoman, ideal for those seeking a bit more recline when watching television or relaxing.  These chairs can recline to an almost flat position and can stop at any degree of recline in between. With an ottoman, it is possible to nap comfortably in this chair, as well as read and watch TV.

 

 

Infinite Position Lift Chairs – Also known as zero-gravity or full recline chairs, these chairs offer a full range of recline, all the way to a true sleeping position, with independently elevating ottoman for optimal comfort.  They can recline into a completely flat position (where the backrest is parallel to the floor) and everything in between.

 

Infinite Position Lift Chair Recliner LC-100 by Mega Motion
 

Some models can also lift a person’s feet above his/her head into the Trendelenburg position or lift a person’s feet above their heart into the zero-gravity position.

 

Lift Chair Sizing

 

For appropriate accessibility and comfort, lift chairs are available in specific sizes to best match the user’s height and weight:

 

  • Petite/Small – Offers a limited reclining backrest with an elevating ottoman, designed for increased comfort while reading or watching television

 

  • Medium – For users 5’4″ to 5’10” (375 lb. weight capacity, based on model)

 

  • Large – For users 5’11” to 6’2″ (375 lb. weight capacity, based on model)

 

  • Tall – For users 6’2″ to 6’8″ (375 lb. weight capacity, based on model)

 

  • Wide/XL – For users needing a 2″ to 4″ wider seat, with a weight capacity of 500 lbs. (also available in Petite/Small wide versions)

 

  • Heavy Duty/XXL – For users needing a 4″ wider seat, with a weight capacity of 600 lbs. to 700 lbs.

 

Heavy Duty Example:

This Golden Technologies Elite Comforter Extra Wide Series Lift Chair Golden Technologies recognizes that “One size does not fit all”. 

Lifting capacities:   375 lbs (Small) / 500 lbs (Medium, Large and Tall) / 700 lbs (Super 33 – Triple Motor)

 

Other Lift Chair Considerations and Options

 

In addition to primary lift chair features, popular options can be added to increase access, comfort, and convenience:

 

Backrest — There are many different options for backrests such as button back, pillow back and split back. The difference between the different backrest styles is mainly the look and what fits the décor of the home better. Button back (commonly seen in chairs and couches, where buttons are sewn into the backrest at regular intervals creating a depression) tends to be firmer and pillow back is usually the most plush. Most other backrest styles fall in between those two when it comes to plushness.

 

Controls — Most lift chairs have a hand control on the right of the chair, near the armrests. Simple hand controls only have an up and a down button. The hand control requires constant pressure so if the “up” button is held down, then the chair will go from recline to a seated position and eventually a lift position, where the user’s feet will be on the ground and he/she can stand up from the chair.

Additional options such as heat and massage will also be controlled by the hand control. Some lift chairs can be programmed to remember the user’s preferred position for watching TV or napping and will move to that position with a simple touch of a button.

 

 

What additional options may be beneficial to you?

Do you sweat a lot? Leather may not be the best choice.

Is incontinence a problem? Perhaps material made of cloth does not make sense in this case.

In most cases, leather will cost more, but do not discount its benefits.

This RMS Absorbent Washable Reusable Incontinence Chair Seat Protector Pad is great to protect your chairs and other furniture.

 

 

 

A magazine pocket is convenient.

http://amzn.to/21zIv6B
This Catnapper Somerset 4817 Power Lift Chair and Recliner below has a generous magazine pocket.
 
http://amzn.to/1VkCwTv
Another nice feature: this Golden Technologies Regal Lift Chair has a built-in tray and cup holder.
 

Room and Décor Considerations

 

 

Beyond selecting the lift chair’s features, size, and options, it’s also important to consider the room where it will be placed.

Lift chairs are the approximate size of comparable recliners; however, because lift chairs activate, they can require a bit more space. Nevertheless, for rooms with limited space, an option is a wall-hugger or space-saver model, which allows the lift chair to operate within 4″ to 6″ from a wall.

 

The video above shows the 5600 Series Wall-a-Way Reclining Lift Chair from Medi-Lift, which is a great example of a wall-hugger or space-saver model. 

 

Of course, décor is important to many lift chair users, and with the wide variety of fabric choices on many lift chair models, it’s possible to closely match a lift chair to most existing furniture colors. 

Reclining Lift chairs are not only made to fit all people, but they are created to fit in with any décor as well as any lifestyle.

 

 

These power lift chair examples show a variety of styles:

 

http://amzn.to/1WwxHow

 

 

ACME Furniture Croria Recliner with Power Lift

 

 

Ashley Furniture Ernestine Power Lift Recliner

 

 

 

Lift Chair Fabrics

 

Lift Chair fabrics offer plentiful options. Even beyond colors to fit your taste, there are fabric options that fit to your lifestyle and can weather the wear and tear of nearly any situation.

 

There is high-quality micro-suede, which is a man-made knit blend of polyester fibers almost a hundred times finer than human hair. While very similar to normal suede, Micro-Suede is softer and easier to clean. As a furniture upholstery, it is very durable and resistant to dirt and is easily cleaned by wiping the fabric with a dry cloth.

 

Ultraleather, is another popular option. This material offers the look and feel of leather, but is more durable than genuine, hide upholstery. With a durability rating 13 times the industry standard for heavy-duty fabrics and with built-in stain resistance, this water-repellent polyurethane upholstery is built to last. Most stains can be removed from an Ultraleather lift chair with the use of water, soap, and/or common alcohol-based cleaning solutions.

 

Ultraleather is also highly resistant to temperature changes, remaining cool to the touch even when exposed to direct sunlight and resisting the stiffening and cracking of normal leather in cold weather.

 

Yet another more affordable fabric choice is vinyl, which is a plastic resin made from chlorine and ethylene. It is non-breathable, which allows it to absorb and contain heat.

 

Lift Chair Maintenance

 

Regularly inspect all wiring harnesses for damage, frays or signs of corrosion. Unplug the chair and contact your manufacturer’s local authorized dealer for service.

Regularly inspect the fabric for rips, tears or pulls.

Always refer to your owner’s manual for specific information regarding cleaning and maintenance.

Cleaning — a mild fabric cleaner may be used on fabric covered lift chairs but do not allow any liquids to come into contact with any electrical components.

I like Earthworm Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner (made with natural enzymes).

Remember to always unplug the chair before cleaning. Read the owner’s manual to ensure that the cleaning products you plan to use will not damage the fabric or upholstery.

 

 

From function to style, a lift chair will surely be a welcome addition to your home. 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Anytime Gifts that Seniors Will Actually Use

Install a Power Lift Toilet Seat for a Safer Bathroom

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Incontinence Protection Products for Home, Car and Bed

Choosing the Right Personal Medical Alert System

Best Hearing Amplifiers Reviewed

Buying a Stairlift

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Guide to a Residential Elevator in Your Home

About Me

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Choosing a Walking Cane

 

Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Walking Cane

 

Vive Adjustable Quad Cane

 

 

Canes are among the most common mobility aids on the market. They are readily available and relatively cheap, making them the first solution many people turn to for their mobility issues.

Unfortunately, that $20 round-handled cane from the local drugstore may cause you more problems than it solves. The wrong cane handle can put stress on your wrist, and if your cane is too short or too tall, it will only make things worse.

 

When choosing a cane, you will want to consider several factors to help you find the walking aid that is right for you.

 

 

Grip

 

As your main point of contact with your cane, the comfort of the grip is of singular importance. You’ll want to consider material, shape, and design.

 

  • Standard round canes can provide a smooth and classic look, but can be difficult to hold.
  • Contoured grips provide a solution, and can be made from a wide range of materials.
  • Try a long-wearing foam grip or an ergonomic gel grip to get the best possible fit for your needs.

 

 

 

Handle

 

  • The shape of the handle can mean the difference between the cane you carry with you at all times and the one you leave in the umbrella stand.
  • If you have trouble holding a standard hook-shaped tourist cane, try a Derby or Fritz handle instead, which have been designed to accommodate users with dexterity issues.

 

 

 

 

  • If you need more stability, try an offset handle meant to distribute your weight along the cane.

 

 

 

Walking Cane Tip 

 

Cane tips receive a lot of wear and tear over the course of the day. Some canes do not have any reinforcement on the tips at all, which may be fine for light use. Others come with a reinforced rubber or plastic grip for added stability.

If balance and stability is a concern for you, definitely look for these high density rubber-tipped canes or consider upgrading to a quad cane tip.

 

 

Examples:

 

HurryCane – The All-Terrain Cane

 

HurryCane - The All-Terrain Cane; Freedom Edition

 

 

 

Height Adjustable Aluminum Small Base Quad Cane with Gel Grip

Height Adjustable Aluminum Small Base Quad Cane with Gel Grip - Red Crackle

 

 

 

 

Height 

 

A cane that is too short or too tall can be painful to use, and it can cause balance issues for the user

The best way to determine what size of cane you need is to have a friend or family member measure you.

Wearing your normal walking shoes, stand as straight as possible with your arms falling naturally at your sides. The proper height of a cane should be the same as the distance from your wrist to the ground.

Adjustable canes allow for the best possible match with a user’s height.

 

 

 

Standard Canes Vs Quad Walking Canes

 

 

One of the first things to consider when choosing a cane is just what type of cane you would like to use. 

Standard canes, or single-tip canes, are those with only one cane tip that touches the ground.

Quad canes, also called quad-point canes, broad based canes, or four legged canes, are built to be sturdier and feature four cane tips. Think about why you need a cane, and what will best assist you in your daily activities.

 

 

 

Walking Cane Stability 

 

If you are recovering from an injury to your leg, ankle, or foot, you are looking for a cane to give you added stability on your course to recovery.

The most stable cane available is the quad cane, which can have a large base or a small base. The large base quad cane is the most sturdy, stable cane available, while the small base quad cane is smaller and more mobile.

 

 

 

Weight

 

Quad canes are the most stable, but they are inevitably heavier than standard canes. For those with limited upper body strength or weak wrists, this can be a big problem.

If the weight of the cane is a consideration, you will want to consider a standard cane as your mobility aid, or upgrading to the ultra-light 8.5 oz. Carbon Fiber Quad Cane.

 

 

Examples:

 

 

 

 

Agility

 

In some cases a large base quad cane is simply not viable. Staircases may not have enough space to support all four cane tips, making it dangerous to use. Narrow hallways may not allow for the maneuverability a large base quad cane requires. If these are considerations for you, a small base quad cane or standard single-tip cane may be your best choice.

Also consider that many single base canes  can fold down to a much smaller size, making them convenient to carry with you when not immediately needed.

 

 

Walking Cane Prices

 

Canes are among the cheapest mobility aids available! Even the most advanced canes are less than half the price of any rollator walker.  However, quad canes do tend to run a little more expensive than standard canes. For those on a tight budget, a small base quad cane may be the ideal balance of safety and economy.

 

 

Folding Seat Walking Canes

 

Nova Medical Products Folding Seat Cane

 

Folding Seat Canes are becoming wildly popular and for good reason – they are one of the most practical mobility devices you can get.

What is a seat cane you may ask? Well, it is just what it sounds like – a cane that can be transformed into a seat! Great for ball games and long lines, you never have to worry about standing for long periods of time.

 

 

 

 

Folding Seat canes come in two main styles – tripod seats and sling seats.

For a tripod seat cane, a handle allows two additional legs to unfold and support a sitting platform. The user sits with the cane handle between their legs. Be careful not to sit backwards, or the seat may tip over!

 

 

 

 

For a tripod seat cane, a handle allows two additional legs to unfold and support a sitting platform. The user sits with the cane handle between their legs. Be careful not to sit backwards, or the seat may tip over!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sling – Drive Medical Folding Aluminum Cane with Sling Style Seat

 

 

For a more ladylike solution, there are sling seat canes.   This type of seat cane allows you to walk with a two pronged base.

When ready, you release the two folded legs and plant all four on the ground. A fabric sling is then strung between the two sides to create a comfortable seat.

 

 

 

 

 

When choosing between tripod and sling seat canes, here are a few considerations:

 

  • Are you using it primarily as a seat? If so, you want a comfortable seat such as a sling seat cane.
  • Does the overall weight matter? Tripod seat canes weigh less than sling seat canes.
  • Do you like to cross your legs? With tripod canes, the handle goes between your legs.

 

Walking Cane Color

 

Style, design, and color are as important in a cane as they are in any accessory. There’s no need to carry a plain grey cane when there is a vast array of designs and materials out there for you to choose from!

Find one that fits your style, and the cane becomes a fun accessory rather than a necessary burden.

 

How to Use a  Walking Cane

 

 

If you’ve just bought your first cane, then you may be asking yourself, “How exactly am I supposed to use this thing?”

Canes are meant to take the weight off of one leg and provide relief to the muscles, so using your cane the proper way is vital.

Place the cane on the correct side. If you are using a cane to take the weight off an injured leg or foot, make sure to hold it in the hand opposite the injury. If your right leg can’t hold weight, the cane goes in your left hand. If your left leg needs the support, hold the cane in your right hand. If you are simply using the cane for added stability, then hold it in whichever hand is most preferable.

Step forward with the cane and the injured leg. Grasp the handle firmly. Placing all your weight on the stronger leg, move your injured leg and your cane one step forward, keeping them even. Place them down together.

Step forward with your strong leg. Let the cane handle take most of your weight as you lift your strong leg, move it forward one step, and place it on the ground. Shift your weight to your strong leg.

Repeat.

 

 

 

With a little practice, using your cane will become second nature to you. You will develop a quick gait which allows you to move easily without straining a weak or injured leg.

 

Taking Stairs With Your Cane

 

 

 Place the cane on the correct side. If you are using a cane to take the weight off an injured leg or foot, make sure to hold it in the hand opposite the injury.

If your right leg can’t hold weight, the cane goes in your left hand. If your left leg needs the support, hold the cane in your right hand. If you are simply using the cane for added stability, then hold it in whichever hand is most preferable.

 

 

Hold the railing or banister. Whenever possible, hold onto a fixed support with your free hand when going up or down steps. This will stabilize you and take some of the weight off your injured leg.

 

Going up steps, lead with your strong leg. Lift and place your strong leg on the first step. Transfer your weight to it, hold the banister, and only then lift your weak foot. Move the cane evenly with your weak leg, placing them down together on the same step. Support yourself with the banister and cane as much as possible.

 

Going down steps, lead with your weak leg. Place the cane tip and your weak leg on the first step and bend the knee of your strong leg to lower yourself. Hold the banister for further support, and bring your strong leg on to the same step.

With practice, taking the stairs with your cane will become second nature.

 

Whichever cane you choose, be sure to consider every aspect of how you will use it and why you need it. Then you can be certain you’ve made the right choice to keep you safe and mobile.

The right cane can make your life a lot easier. As long as you consider all the necessary factors, you are sure to enjoy your new walking aid!

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

All About Portable Oxygen

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If you have chronic lung disease, some areas in your lungs are damaged. These damaged areas act as blockages, preventing oxygen from moving into your bloodstream. You are unable to capture enough oxygen during a breath for your body to thrive. You likely experience difficulties breathing, sleeping and performing daily activities.

See related post: Oxygen Therapy Helps COPD Sufferers.

 

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Oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen available to your bloodstream in each breath. The increased oxygen concentration eases the capture of enough oxygen by your bloodstream to supply your body. This therapy helps you breathe more comfortably, so you can enjoy your daily activities.

 

What are the types of oxygen supply systems?

The oxygen supply based on how much oxygen is needed, and how active the individual is. Oxygen can be supplied the following 3 ways:

  • Compressed oxygen  holds oxygen in a metal cylinder (tank) under pressure. The tank can be set to release only the amount of oxygen you need as you breathe. Compressed oxygen tanks are heavy, and are meant to be used when you stay mostly in one place. You may need help to move or secure it. Smaller tanks and wheeled carts are available to help you move with ease, or when you travel.

 

The Responsive Respiratory M6 Oxygen Cylinder  comes in brushed aluminum finish with clear coat-protective finish, which is lighter than steel cylinder. This cylinder designed with 5 year hydrostatic test capacity and its filling pressure is 2200 psi. These oxygen cylinders are shipped empty. This item is a case of 6

 

  • Liquid oxygen is kept chilled inside a small, insulated case. The liquid warms and becomes a breathable gas when you need to breathe in. Liquid oxygen cases are smaller and easy to carry around. You can refill your small liquid oxygen case from a big tank kept in your home. Your oxygen delivery service will fill your large tank every 1 to 2 weeks.

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  • An oxygen concentrator  is an electric machine that stores oxygen from the air. This machine is heavy and may come with a wheeled cart to help you move it from room to room.

 

Below is a video showing how to use an Oxygen Concentrator

What’s the difference between a “portable” oxygen tank and a portable oxygen concentrator?

Portable Oxygen Tank vs Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Invacare Xpo2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator  & Accessories
This lightweight, versatile and reliable oxygen concentrator has pulse settings from 1-5 to help meet the varying needs of those with respiratory ailments. FAA Approved for air-travel to make mobility, travel and independence easy.

You are probably aware that both devices deliver medical oxygen to those that require it. But the methods of delivery, as well as the device specifications, tend to differ beyond that.

The main difference between the two is in the way in which oxygen is provided.

Oxygen tanks have a finite amount of oxygen compressed within them, inhaled by the user until it runs out. Oxygen concentrators filter and generate medical grade oxygen, at an infinite supply so long as the battery that powers this mechanism has life.

An oxygen concentrator is akin to an air conditioning unit: it takes air in from one system, modifies it, and delivers it in its new state. But instead of cooling the air, oxygen concentrators compress and purify the air, removing nitrogen or other agents that complicate breathing. The new oxygen is then delivered via A nasal cannula in the desired flow setting to enhance the user’s breathing.

Tanks accomplish the same end through different means. All of the oxygen that a tank will ever have is already compressed within it. That supply is gradually reduced until the tank runs out and needs to be refilled or replaced.

That difference also highlights the dosage methods used by each type of device. All oxygen tanks deliver oxygen on Continuous Flow. With oxygen concentrators, it tends to vary by device, as some of the more portable options operate on pulse-dose delivery.

There are several other attributes that separate oxygen concentrators from oxygen tanks. Oxygen concentrators offer several advantages over oxygen systems that rely on cylinders and tanks. These advantages include:

  1. Consistency – Whereas oxygen tanks can run out of oxygen, an oxygen concentrator will never run out of oxygen as long as it has air available and a supply of power. An oxygen concentrator extracts oxygen from the air itself, making the supply unlimited and readily available.
  1. Safety – An oxygen tank could begin to leak, creating an atmosphere that includes oxygen enriched air. Air saturated with oxygen increases the risk of a fire. If a fire ignites under these circumstances, it is harder to extinguish because oxygen induced fires burn hotter than many other kinds of fires. Pulse dose oxygen concentrators simply create oxygen as needed, eliminating the concern of leaks, and therefore the concern of flammability.
  1. Size – An oxygen concentrator is designed for convenience. Oxygen tanks are generally both bulky and heavy while a portable oxygen concentrator can weigh less than 5 pounds. This makes a concentrator the perfect choice for those who want portability.
  1. Cost is another factor to consider. While each device will be priced differently, it is important to remember that when buying oxygen concentrators, the price will be largely upfront. For oxygen tanks, costs will be incurred over time in the form of new oxygen tanks purchased periodically as needed.

An oxygen concentrator is a great choice for any of the above reasons, but it is important for individuals to consider having a backup supply of oxygen in a tank available for use, as well as additional fully charged batteries in case of a power outage.

Do I want to rely on battery life or oxygen supply? What size device am I looking for? What are my intended uses for my medical oxygen? These are all questions that any medical oxygen user should be asking when deciding between a portable oxygen concentrator and an oxygen tank. It’s a decision that will affect one’s lifestyle moving forward.

In the end, it’s about deciding what offers the best chance for better breathing.

What are the types of oxygen breathing devices?

Each device is connected to the oxygen supply with tubing. The tubing should be long enough to let you move around your house. You may need a humidifier to moisten the oxygen. This may prevent dryness in your nose, mouth, and throat. Ask your caregiver if you need a humidifier, and how to attach it to your oxygen supply.

  •  A nasal cannula  is a 2-pronged plastic tube that fits inside your nostrils. Place one prong in each nostril. Loop the tubing around your ears, or attach it to your eyeglasses to keep it in place. Make sure your cannula fits you well and is comfortable.

  •  oxygen mask is attached to a plastic tube and covers your nose and mouth. It is usually held in place by an elastic strap that wraps around the back of your head. You can use an oxygen mask if you need a lot of oxygen. Your caregiver may tell you to use a nasal cannula during the day, and a  mask at night. A mask may help if your nose is dry or stuffy.

 

 

  • Transtracheal oxygen is given through a small, flexible catheter inserted into an opening in your trachea (windpipe). A necklace holds the catheter in place.

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How do I use oxygen safely?

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  • Do not use oxygen around heat or flame. Compressed oxygen can catch on fire. Keep the oxygen container 5 feet away from open flames or heaters, such as candles or hot water heaters. Do not use anything flammable, such as cleaning fluids, gasoline, or aerosol sprays near your oxygen. Keep a fire extinguisher and a phone close by in case of a fire. Tell your fire department that you have oxygen in your home if you need to call them for help.
  • Do not smoke while you are using oxygen. Do not let anyone smoke around you.

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  • Do not change the flow of your oxygen unless your caregiver tells you to. Turn your oxygen container or concentrator off when you are not using your oxygen.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take sedatives while you use oxygen. These may slow your breathing.
  • Put signs on all the doors of your house to let visitors and emergency workers know that oxygen is in use. Tell your electric company that you have electrical medical equipment. They will put you on a priority list to fix your power quickly if it goes out.
  • Follow instructions for use and maintenance of your oxygen equipment. <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/link?id=o6r6d6s5Cz4&offerid=417582.36411&type=2&murl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.medicalsupplydepot.com%2FRespiratory-Care%2FOxygen-Concentrators%2FXPO2-Portable-Oxygen-Concentrator-Accessories.html%3Futm_source%3Dlinkshare%26utm_medium%3Dcse%26utm_campaign%3Ddatafeed%26utm_content%3D36411%26zmam%3D43382607%26zmas%3D1%26zmac%3D83%26zmap%3D36411&LSNSUBSITE=LSNSUBSITE">Invacare Xpo2 Portable Oxygen Concentrator & Accessories - XPO160</a><IMG border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=o6r6d6s5Cz4&bids=417582.36411&type=2&subid=0" >Keep oxygen containers secured in an upright position. Oxygen containers may become damaged if they fall over. An oxygen container may cause serious injury if it breaks.

 

How do I clean my oxygen supplies?

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  • Wash or replace equipment parts as directed. Wash your nasal prongs with soap and water twice a week. Replace your nasal prongs every 2 weeks. Replace your tubing every 2 months, or when it becomes stiff. Change the tubing if moisture appears on the inside of the tube. Moisture can make bacteria grow, and cause infections.  Change the cannula and tubing after you have a cold or the flu.
  • Ask your caregiver how to clean your oxygen mask or transtracheal catheter. Replace the oxygen mask every 2 weeks.
  • Disinfect the buttons and outside of your oxygen concentrator. Clean your air filter at least once a week with soap and water. Let it air dry. Replace the filter at least once a week. Ask your oxygen supply company to service your concentrator at least once a year. Ask your caregiver if you have any questions about how to clean the air filter.
  • Wash your humidifier bottle with soap and warm water between each refill. Rinse and air dry the bottle before you refill it with distilled water. Do not use tap water. Disinfect the outside of the bottle and cap once the inside of the bottle has been washed.

 

What are some general tips for oxygen use?

 

  • Keep a backup oxygen supply in case of an emergency. Always keep a backup oxygen tank that does not run on electricity in case there is a power failure. Oxygen may leak out of your container. Ask your caregiver if your supply has a tool to reduce wasted oxygen.
  • Use gauze or water-based lubricants to help soothe your skin. Oxygen may dry out your skin, mouth, or throat. Place gauze on top of your ears or under the tubing on your cheeks if they become sore. Use water-based lubricants on your lips and nostrils if they become dry or sore. Do not use oil-based lubricants. They may be flammable.
  • Order new oxygen well before your current supply runs out. Your oxygen company may not deliver on holidays. Ask your caregiver for help planning your oxygen needs when you travel.
  • Keep the phone number of your oxygen supply company handy. Place it in an area that you see every day, such as on your fridge. Contact them if you have any problems with your supplies.

 

When should I contact my caregiver?

 

Contact your caregiver if:

  • The oxygen tubes create sores on your skin, or make you bleed.
  • You have trouble sleeping because you cannot breathe well.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

 

When should I seek immediate care?

 

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Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a headache, your heart is beating fast, and you are shaking.
  • Your breathing is shallow or slow, or more difficult than usual for you.
  • Your breathing becomes fast, or it hurts to inhale.
  • You have sudden chest pain.
  • You feel anxious or cannot sit still.
  • Your fingernails or lips turn blue.
  • You are tired, confused, cannot think clearly, or faint.

 

If you need to use oxygen at home, and are looking for portable oxygen for a loved one, I recommend  Medical Supply Depot.  They have been in business since 2005, and are trusted with the accounts of some of the best-known hospitals in the US.   They offer a wide variety of affordably priced oxygen equipment, and other home medical equipment.

Related:

Oxygen Therapy Helps COPS Sufferers

Air Purifiers for COPD

Start Your Own Blog
Medical Supply Depot

Choosing a Medical Walker

 

Choosing the Right Medical Walker

 

 

 

If your loved one is feeling weak and unsteady, it may be time to consider a walking aid. 

My mother became quite weak and unbalanced as a result of extended periods of being bedridden and muscle wasting.  She first began to use a walker when it was provided in the hospital for her to use to get to the bathroom and to walk in the hallway if she was able.

It can be difficult to see someone you knew as able bodied suddenly using (and needing) a walking aid because it is a stark reminder of their illness and disability.  This was early enough in the disease that Mom was having some periods of stability; so when she was discharged from the hospital, it was necessary to look into purchasing her own walker.

 

My parents purchased a terrific walker with a basket and a seat, and Mom found it very useful for when she was able to go out for short walks and visits, and for attending medical appointments.  Her walker was a “rollator” type, meaning it had wheels on it.  Hers was a four-wheel walker which allowed her to place weight on the walker as she  moved.

Later on, when Mom was back in the hospital, she brought her own walker with her, and was glad to have it with her, as it was the proper size and she was used to it.

 

 


Good Example:  The Drive Medical Adjustable Height Rollator with 6″ Wheels  includes an adjustable seat and handlebar height and offers great comfort and support.

 

The rollator frame’s height can be adjusted from 18in. to 22in. in 1in. increments and the height of handles adjusts from 29.5in. to 38in. This aluminum frame rollator comes with deluxe loop brakes for added security and features removable, padded backrest and padded seat with zippered pouch. It requires only simple, tool-free assembly.  You can see more details on the Drive Rollator here.

 

 

 

 

Considerations for Choosing Your Medical Walker

 

 

Will you be using it outdoors as well as indoors?

If using it outdoors you should consider looking at a rollator with larger wheels on it as they will be more stable outside. Wider wheels also track better over rougher surfaces.

 

 

Will you be lifting onto a bus, up stairs, or into a vehicle? 

Lighter weight walkers are better if you are lifting the walker. You also want to look at whether you have to remove the basket before it can be folded and if so how easy is it to remove.

 

 

Do you have limited space for storing it?

If you have a small home you should look at walkers that fold up smaller and can stand on their own when folded so they can easily be stored in a closet or hallway.

 

 

Note that basic walkers (without wheels) are also an option.  They are called “standard walkers,” and are designed  for people for whom stability is a significant concern.

 

 

Recommended Basic Walker – The Invacare I-Class Dual-Release Lightweight Folding Walker comes with a deep, wide frame with a large number of height adjustments. The walker features a lower side brace for added stability and is easy to lift and maneuver. It has anti-rattle silencers that provide quieter operation and PVC handgrips for comfort and long-lasting wear. 

 

The drawback with standard walkers is that you must pick up and move it as you walk.  Most people end up choosing between two-wheel and four-wheel walkers.

 

 

 

Fitting Your Walker

 

The walker should be adusted so that it fits your arms comfortably. This will reduce stress on your shoulders and back as you use the walker. To tell if your walker is the correct height, step inside your walker and:

 

  • Check your elbow bend. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, place your hands on the grips. Your elbows should bend at a comfortable angle of about 15 degrees.

 

  • Check your wrist height. Stand inside the walker and relax your arms at your sides. The top of your walker should line up with the crease on the inside of your wrist.

 

  • The height of the seat will vary from person to person and depend on leg strength; tall people with good leg strength sometimes prefer a lower seat, even though they might be measured for a higher one.

 

  • Shorter individuals might be measured for a low seat, but prefer a taller one because they have bad knees or poor leg strength. For them, the less they have to bend, the better. Generally, however, when sitting on the seat, your feet should be flat on the floor.

 

  • Walkers have adjustable arms that allow you to raise or lower the push handles.

 

 

A good rule of thumb for knowing if your walker fits you is to stand in front of your it in a relaxed but upright position. You don’t want to strain to point that you are creating discomfort while standing, but you do want to get better at remaining aware of your posture and striving to improve it. Standing straight, allow your arms to fall loosely at your sides. The top of the push handle should meet at the approximate location of your wrist. If the push handle is closer to your fingertips, the walker is too short and needs to be adjusted. If the push handles are closer to your elbow, the walker is too high. In both cases, you will need to adjust your walker so that it fits your properly (If you have already adjusted it and there is no adjustability left, you might need a new walker).

 

 

Keep in mind that walkers are not meant to be pushed in front of you like a shopping cart. Otherwise if you stumble the walker can push forward and you could fall. When you walk with your walker you should be standing in next to the seat.

 

Often people feel like the handles on their walker are too low but when you stand properly next to it you’ll find those handles are higher than you thought. Try standing next to the walker with arms at your side and to look for the handles to be at wrist-watch height. If they line up with your watch you should be good to go!

 

 

 

Walker Accessories

 

Accessories can make it easier to use your walker.

 

Trays can help you carry food, drinks and other items to a table. A pouch attached to the side can carry books or magazines. Some walkers can also be fitted with seats or baskets.

 

 

Some Ideas –

The Nova Ortho-Med Tray  is a convenient way to transport food and other personal items. The tray features a cup holder that prevents drinks from spilling. This is easy to installs with 4 attachable clamps. This tray can fit to 4080 and 4090 series folding walkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EZ-ACCESS ories Walker Carryon, Front Mount, 2.25 Pounds
 

 

EZ Access Walker Carry-On – Durable, lightweight, water-resistant nylon design and three deep pockets make this front mounted bag a necessity for every walker! Allows hands-free transportation of personal items. Custom designed detachable beverage holder.

Drive Medical Walker Basket, White

 

 

The Drive Medical Walker Basket  features a cup holder and a plastic tray. This basket can complement any 1″ folding walkers to make transporting personal goods easy.

Be sure not to overload your walker.

 

 

 

Remember that whichever walker you choose, make sure you maintain it. Worn-out or loose rubber caps or grips and loose or excessively tight brakes may increase your risk of falling while using a walker.

 

If you think it might be time for a walker, take some time to think about your physical needs, and how and where you will be using it.  Walkers come in a variety of configurations these days, most fold for storage and transporting and all help keep people who are unsteady on their feet stay safe while walking and standing by providing a stable device to put their weight on. Where they will differ is in their design.

 

View medical walkers on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Choosing a Transport Chair

Best Power Wheelchairs

Plan Some Summer Outings With Your Senior

Keep Your Elder Safe in Hot Weather

Important Tips to Keep Your Senior Hydrated

Best Digital Thermometers – Full Reviews

Getting Your Wheelchair Into the Car