If you have a family member, or friend, who is in a wheelchair, or you are their caregiver you are probably concerned about their comfort. It can be highly uncomfortable to be in a wheelchair for several hours each day. The good news is that there are products that help make being the wheelchair a more comfortable place, and much easier for your loved one to use. For many seniors problems with the aging process, surgery, injury, or disease, may necessitate the senior in your life to have to use a wheelchair. While it may take some time and effort to determine which items will work best for your senior, it can make a significant difference for the elderly who must now use a wheelchair. Here are some wheelchair comfort tips that can help improve the quality of life for a wheelchair bound senior-
Think about back support-One of the most difficult things about riding in a wheelchair can be the lack of back support. Until recently, flat cloth, or vinyl backs which necessarily had to fold with manual chairs, were the only option. The biggest problem was that flat backs provided no lumbar support, lateral stability, or accommodation for people with more advanced orthopedic needs. This lack of back support can produce everything from sore muscles, to more permanent kinds of back injuries. This problem can easily be eliminated by the use of a wheelchair back support. Working with the vendor of your wheelchair, you can find the right type of back support for your senior and their particular needs.
Think about foot support-A proper foot support will help reduce foot, and leg strain for the wheelchair user. Many times wheelchairs come with insufficient foot rests, or the ones they have are awkward, and unusable for the senior. You can attach footrest extension that will help promote circulation in legs and feet, and help promote proper posture and comfortable seating. At The CareGiver Partnership they can help you determine the right foot support for the wheelchair that is being used by your loved one.
Think about the sitting-Sitting in a wheelchair for any extended length of time can be cumbersome, and uncomfortable. This can be improved dramatically with the use of a wheelchair pad. One of the added benefits is that using a wheelchair pad provides insulation from cold, and heat. These pads are designed for maximum comfort; and are often lined with waterproof material for incontinence protection. For the elderly who are wheelchair bound, using one of these pads can also help protect delicate skin from pressure ulcers. Best of all these pads are generally machine washable making them easy to use.
Think about moving the wheelchair-It is imperative for caregivers to realize that your loved one will not always be in the wheelchair. After your loved one transfers to bed, or to a car, you will need to be able to easily move the wheelchair. Gone are the days of the bulky and hard to move wheelchair. Some of today’s wheelchairs weigh as little as 19 pounds, making them much easier for caregivers to put into the trunk of a car. A transport chair is ideal for this use – lighter, less expensive and you can take it with you in a car or airplane. It is crucial to check this out before purchasing a wheelchair, as much of the movement of the actual chair will be left to caregivers. The CareGiver Partnership offers a wide variety of lightweight transport chairs that make moving, and transporting your loved one much easier.
Think about power versus manual-For some seniors they can continue to move their wheelchair even after they are no longer walking. For other seniors an automatic switch will be needed to control their wheelchair, when their caregiver is not available. Checking out the options is crucial, since many manual wheelchairs can later be outfitted to be electrically powered should the senior need the change later on.