5 Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Wheelchair
These recommendations apply to standard or basic models to high-tech and high-quality models since, generally, the functional life of a wheelchair will depend on the type of activities carried out by the user. This includes the time used per day and the environment where it’s used. As an example, an urban area without much requirement for the chair with flatter and well-kept surfaces versus a rural area with uneven terrain in inconvenient conditions that require greater obstacles.
A well cared for and well-maintained active chair can last from 5 to 10 years. There are chairs that due to the materials, can last more than 10 years, but typically, the functional life of a chair is 5 years.
In the case of standard or transfer chairs, this time is different since they are designed only for transfers of no more than two hours and on relatively accessible surfaces, not heavy use. The functional lifetime depends on the daily use and type of mobility you have, but generally it is about two years. Unlike active chairs, repairing this type of chair is not recommended since they usually warp out of square and will cause you to lose your stamina quicker.
1. Damage & Corrosion
Damage to a wheelchair is typically caused by external means, such as a shock or a strong blow. Most frames of active or daily use chairs are generally resistant to the wear and tear of use and handling without suffering any damage to its structure. Chairs that are near beaches or hot and humid areas, corrosion can also be a factor, which can weaken or break materials more quickly. A good anodization can help, but it is still an important factor when determining the life of the wheelchair.
2. Changes in Measurements
Another reason to replace your wheelchair may be due to changes in measurements - width, depth and height as well as weight increase or decrease. Some providers offer growth kits for their pediatric chairs so that it can be used for more than a year or two. Growth kits aren’t nearly as common in the case of adults or standard chairs, so the entire chair needs to be changed.
3. Accessory Updates
Accessories are a great way to slightly modify or upgrade your wheelchair without entirely replacing it. They can offer functional and aesthetic changes. For example, the rear and front bearings can be changed or updated when desired to ones that that are lighter, faster, and stronger and even more aesthetic.
Although many chairs come with basic cushions and backrests, if you’re using your wheelchair more than 6 hours a day, they will need to be upgraded to ensure comfort and proper positioning. This allows for more time (and a better time) in the wheelchair and prevents secondary injuries caused by poor positioning.
4. Advancing Health Complications
Sometimes pathology or its consequences require a change in mobility to ensure the safety of the user. For example, multiple sclerosis is degenerative and progressive and will require a wider or narrower chair with different accessories and functions over time. Sometimes a switch from a manual chair to a motorized model is needed.
5. Do You Want a New One?
The most important thing to remember is that your wheelchair needs to be be adapted to your measurements and real needs, not the other way around. Our representatives are here for you with advice so you can have the equipment you need.