Monday, September 24, 2007

Where the wild wheelchairs roam..

Heck if I knew I'd roll over and join 'em.

But I do know one thing - after reading online message boards over at a few forums, the "self help" fix it up tips for configuring wheelchairs the way users want 'em are growing by leaps and bounds. And this, in my opinion, is a great thing.

First of all, those of us who use wheelchairs know best what tweaks are needed to get our chairs to work in various environments. When a new wheelchair user asks one of us a question, we have the real life experience to answer him/her. We also can share what's comfortable for us, where and how we get our equipment and supplies at the most reasonable prices and what pitfalls to avoid.

There's also a growing trend toward adding accessories that personalize wheelchairs. I saw an entire thread devoted to places to buy castor wheels - with various patterns and rock groups on them. Very cool. Because we're in our wheelchairs all day, they do become part of our appearance and it seems that there are a lot of folks checking out different looks for their chairs. And for fashion tips for wheelchair users, check this site.

And last, but not least, I noticed that people are encouraging wheelchair users who order new chairs to empower themselves more in the process - to speak up about what they want in a chair and to review the measurements carefully to avoid ordering errors. This is a positive thing since most wheelchairs come custom made and are of little or no value if configured improperly. In one instance, a woman whose wheelchair was ordered with the wrong measurements refused delivery - and she was able to get another chair. This was because she was careful about the entire ordering process and the error happened on the seller's end.

So before you order that new chair or if you're new to using a wheelchair, I recommend you check out a few message boards online. There's a great one over at Wheelchair Junkie and I also recommend the CareCure forum. Don't forget the USA Tech Guide, where you can read other wheelchair users' reviews. Ziggi over at Wheelchair DIffusion has great posts on wheelchairs and all things pertaining to them.

If anyone wants to add more suggestions or message boards they've found helpful in the comments, that would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I'm a new wheelchair user. This is a big help to find this information. Thanks. I like your blog.


Katja said...

Must be something in the air - Mark just wrote a piece about wanting the latest and greatest snazzy wheelchair stuff: When Wheelchairs Can't Buy Happiness

Ruth said...

That's a great article. Mark deals with so many wheelchair buyers that his insights are very interesting.

There is one silver lining to some folks wanting the latest and greatest "stuff" - used wheelchairs in good condition are often available for those who can't swing the price on a new one :)

Ruth said...

Tracie -
Thanks for leaving a comment - glad this was of some help :) Hope you drop by often.