Those seniors who find it difficult to get around on their own may rely on powered or manual wheelchairs for their mobility. These chairs can open up many doors for seniors as they want to remain active in life, and they can significantly improve one’s quality of life. However, because many operate on wheels and others are also battery-powered, they can be safety hazards if they are not used properly. These tips will help keep you or your loved ones safe if a wheelchair is part of your or their lives.
Keep the Wheelchair in Good Repair
Excellent maintenance is vital to overall safety when using a wheelchair. If the wheels are difficult to move or if it feels nearly impossible to maneuver the chair into tight or difficult spaces, the wheels may need to be well-oiled. Additionally, the entire chair, including the tires, spokes, and brakes, should be checked completely and frequently by a professional.
Be Aware of a New Center of Gravity
When a person walks, he or she generally carries the center of gravity in the core of the body. Once sitting in a wheelchair, the center of gravity shifts, and it may be difficult to get used to this feeling especially when bending, twisting or reaching backward.
Be Careful Outside
A wheelchair cannot go everywhere that a person can. Individuals must watch out for bumpy or rocky terrain that could be difficult to get through or that could potentially tip the wheelchair. Even small amounts of sand or salt on otherwise smooth surfaces can be dangerous.
Watch out for Bad Weather
Finally, rainy days can make life difficult both for manual and electric wheelchairs and can make the controls stop working on electric wheelchairs. Plus, wet surfaces can be particularly slippery, especially if they are inclines. Puddles can be nearly impossible to get through at times as well. Those who must be out of doors in inclement weather in their wheelchairs should proceed slowly with extreme care.