Wheelchair ramps vary in their durability, weight, and ease of use, depending on what type of materials were used in their construction. Below are some of the pros and cons for aluminum, rubber, steel, composite, and wooden wheelchair ramps.
Aluminum wheelchair ramps are the most popular because of their light weight, versatility, and low maintenance. Since aluminum is lighter in weight than other materials, aluminum ramps are easier to set up and carry. You can also purchase a larger ramp without worrying about it being too heavy to handle. For petite caregivers, aluminum ramps with detachable sections make it even easier to carry a wheelchair ramp.
Aluminum ramps offer high strength, multiple surface options, and weather resistance. They can be used outdoors in all weather conditions. The aluminum material will not rust, is easy to clean, and requires little to no maintenance.
Rubber wheelchair ramps are popular for thresholds because of their attractive appearance. Rubber threshold ramps are highly durable, nearly indestructible, and have virtually no weight limits. They can be custom fitted for doorways, and they are available in stylish colors to complement the décor of your home or business. Rubber ramps are quite heavy and are not designed as portable ramps.
Although steel wheelchair ramps are affordable, very strong, and highly durable, they can also be heavy, prone to rust, and high maintenance. A galvanized, rust-proof steel ramp offers an attractive appearance for a semi-permanent ramp system at home. Plus, it offers three times the strength of aluminum for heavy duty use.
Wheelchair ramps made of composite materials are extremely durable and scuff-resistant. They come with thick side curbs for added safety. On the flip side, composite ramps are heavy, offer less traction, and cannot be repaired. They are more expensive than other types of ramps and are not as widely available.
If you build a wheelchair ramp yourself, wood is one of the most affordable materials. If the ramp is built by a contractor, however, the high labor costs will make a wooden ramp quite expensive. Wooden wheelchair ramps require high maintenance and are prone to weathering. They are not practical for use in designing portable ramps.
These videos will take you through the simple process of setting up your Venture or Deluxe Rollator and will highlight some of the features on these products.
The Venture and Deluxe Series rollators from Roll Mobility provide just the right amount of support with a built-in padded seat and backrest. The lightweight aluminum frame is available in red or blue. The Venture Series comes with 6-inch wheels, and the Deluxe Series comes with 8-inch wheels for indoor/outdoor use.
After you remove the rollator and parts from the box, take a few minutes to read the instruction manual included with this product. Then you can begin the process of setting up your rollator by following the instructions in the manual.
To open the rollator, push down on the center bar until the side crossbars are locked down. Lower the padded seat all the way down.
Attach the backrest by sliding the support tubes into the frame, pressing the spring buttons, and pushing down evenly on both sides of the backrest until the spring buttons snap into place.
To attach the handles, remove the height adjustment knob and bolt, slide the handle into the frame to the desired height, making sure the holes are lined up, and then slide the bolt through the holes from the inside of the frame. Tighten the adjustment knob on the bolt to secure the handle in place. Do the same for the opposite handle, making sure that you put the bolt through the same holes as the other handle. Count the number of holes visible on each handle to make sure the handles are set at the same height. For information on how to adjust the push handles to the proper height, see the instruction manual included with this product.
This rollator comes with ergonomic handles and loop lock brakes. To use the hand brakes, pull up on the brakes to slow down or stop. When you let go of the brakes, the wheels will be free to move again. To lock the rollator in place, push down on the lower section of both brake handles until they lock in place. Pull up on the brake handles to release the brakes from the locked position.
The last thing we will cover is how to fold the rollator. First, lift up the padded seat. Then pull up on the center bar. If needed, you can remove the backrest before folding the rollator to make it more compact for storage. Simply push in the spring buttons on both sides of the backrest and pull up to remove.
Raised doorway thresholds that most people don’t even notice as they step over can be a frustration and barrier to an individual in a wheelchair. They can also create a tripping hazard for seniors with limited mobility or individuals who use a walking aid. Threshold ramps offer a solution for improved access.
Threshold ramps are designed to smooth out the transition from one room to another or from outside to inside. They install permanently, so that there is no need to ask for assistance setting up a portable ramp. The individual in the wheelchair has full access and independence to any room or building with a threshold ramp.
Threshold ramps are primarily made from either aluminum or rubber. Aluminum threshold ramps from PVI are lightweight, rustproof, and able to support up to 600 pounds. On average, aluminum ramps tend to cost less than rubber ramps.
Rubber threshold ramps from PVI are nearly indestructible and have no weight limitations. They are quieter than aluminum ramps and offer an attractive finish that complements your décor. PVI rubber ramps are made from 100% recycled rubber for an eco-friendly choice.
In order to find the right threshold ramp for your needs, simply measure the rise (from ground level to the top of the threshold or sliding door track) and find the ramp width needed to fit the doorway.
Threshold ramps can be used individually or in pairs on either side of the doorway. Patio sliding doors generally require a ramp on either side of the door tracks. Rubber ramps can be custom fitted with simple cutting tools. Installation of aluminum and rubber threshold ramps is simple and quick.
Choosing a walker or rollator is an important decision when it comes to your safety and comfort. Below are a few commonly asked questions along with some helpful advice on choosing the right walker or rollator for your needs.
Do you lean on the walker for balance? A medical walker with no wheels offers the most support, with no danger of the walker rolling away from you. A walker with 2 wheels is easier to move forward, yet the two legs in front keep the walker from rolling too fast.
If you do not need to lean your weight on the walker as you move forward, a 3-wheel or 4-wheel rollator will allow you to walk faster with no resistance. A set of hand brakes provides safety and gives you control over your speed.
Three-wheeled walkers are easier to maneuver around corners and tight spaces. Because they have only one wheel in front, they have a tighter turning radius. The smaller frame makes the rollator ultra lightweight. Some 3-wheel rollators weigh as little as 9 pounds!
Four-wheeled walkers offer more stability. If you need more support to maintain your balance, choose a 4-wheel walker. The larger frame and the extra point of contact with the ground makes this rollator more stable.
Accessories for medical walkers include trays, storage pouches, cup holders, and ski glides. Most three-wheeled walkers come with a storage pouch and/or a basket for personal items, making it easy to carry things with you from one place to the next. Most four-wheeled walkers come with a built-in padded seat that flips up for storage beneath the seat. A padded backrest provides support for short rest breaks.
When it comes to choosing a bath seat, there are a few things you need to think about in order to make sure the bath seat fits your tub and is comfortable and safe for the user. Here are a few questions to ask for purchasing a bath seat.
The bath seat must be installed properly in order to be used safely. Do not use a bath seat if it does not fit properly (i.e. the legs rest on the tub wall instead of the tub floor, etc.). Before making your purchase, measure the width of the bath tub and the height of the tub wall. Also, make sure the bath seat is designed to work with the tub rim, whether flat or curved. Some seats require a flat rim to attach to the tub wall.
If your tub or shower has sliding doors, we recommend removing the doors and replacing them with a shower curtain for use with a transfer bench or a bench that is designed to rest on the tub wall. When the bath seat is installed, you will not be able to fully close the sliding doors and the floor will get wet. Also, the doors can be dangerous if the towel bar is used as a grab bar.
With a shower curtain, you can tuck the curtain into the slot on the bath seat to prevent water from pooling on the floor. For the best fit, cut slits in the shower curtain and tuck it through the slot.
If the user has a difficult time stepping over the tub rim, use a bath transfer bench. A transfer bench allows the user to sit on the outside edge of the bench, lift each leg over the tub rim, and slide over into the middle of the tub.
For users with more limited mobility, look for a bath bench with a sliding seat. Keep in mind that even with a sliding seat, it would take a considerable amount of strength for a caregiver to move the seat with a person seated on it. The person seated should help move the seat as much as possible.
Users with difficulty standing may benefit from a bath seat with a cutout to make cleaning personal areas easier. A cutout is not recommended if the user has difficulty sitting upright and could slide into the cutout.
Check the weight capacity for the bath seat before your purchase to make sure it will safely hold the person who will be using the bath seat. A bariatric or heavy duty bath seat may be required for heavier users.
Looking for a lightweight transport wheelchair? Read what our customers have to say about the Roll Mobility lightweight steel and aluminum transport chairs.
“I am a 5’3″ woman with a 6′ husband. I can easily lift this transport chair into our vehicle and can take my husband to all of his doctor visits. It is well built, smooth handling, and very easy to get the foot rests on and off. We take the foot rests off in the house, and he scoots around in it using his own foot power. Great chair for a Great price.”
“Great Construction – really helps transporting my elderly father – without having to worry where I park or whether someone has a wheelchair available. The chair folds up easily and opens as easy as an umbrella. Great Product.”
- Frank T.
“This wheelchair is exactly what we needed. It comes fully assembled. I need it to transport my husband to doctors, barber, friends houses, etc. and it’s perfect. It folds up in one step and it’s lightweight for me to put in the trunk of our car. It has made my life a lot easier.”
- Virginia O’Connor
“I was looking for a light weight chair for my husband and this fits what we were looking for. Very easy to handle. Thank you!”
“Very well pleased with our purchase. Very fair price, excellent quality. Operates very easily and foot rests fold up and back so that occupant can sit at the table. Can not offer anything negative about our purchase.”
- Lawrence A.
Most standard wheelchairs can accommodate up to 250 or 300 pounds. For users over these weight limits, a heavy duty wheelchair is necessary for their safety and comfort.
Heavy duty wheelchairs can hold at least 400 pounds, ranging all the way up to 700 pounds. Check the weight capacity before buying to ensure that the wheelchair will be able to handle the user’s weight.
Along with increased weight capacity, heavy duty wheelchairs come in wider seat widths. Most standard wheelchairs come with a 16 to 20 inch seat width. Heavy duty wheelchairs start at a 20 inch seat width and can be as wide as 30 inches. With a combined 700 pound weight capacity and 30 inch seat width, a heavy duty wheelchair can accommodate almost any user.
The frame, axles, wheels, and upholstery on a heavy duty wheelchair are reinforced to be able to handle higher weight capacities. They are constructed with durable, long-lasting materials for reliability and long life.
Padded arm rests increase the comfort of the wheelchair and give the user a place to rest his or her arms. Leg rests provide extra support and keep the user’s feet out of the way. A wheelchair cushion can ease pressure on the back and/or seat while making the chair more comfortable for the user.
Heavy duty wheelchairs require more strength to push by the caregiver and by the user, if the chair is self-propelled. In some cases, it may be wise for the caregiver to ask for assistance from another person in order to push the wheelchair safely.
Because heavy duty wheelchairs are wider than standard wheelchairs, they require wider doorways and a larger turning radius. They are also heavier to lift into a vehicle and harder to push uphill.
November is National Family Caregivers Month, and we’d like to help you celebrate by giving you a few ways you can relax as a caregiver or help out as a friend of a caregiver. Make a commitment to honor caregivers this month by doing something special for yourself or your caregiver friend.