If you spend a significant amount of time in a wheelchair, you may benefit from using a wheelchair cushion. With the proper support that a wheelchair cushion can provide, problems like skin breakdown and pressure sores can be alleviated.
Wheelchair cushions run from as low as $25 up to several hundred dollars. Individuals with limited mobility but who are not confined to a wheelchair can get by with a cheaper wheelchair cushion. To find out which type of wheelchair cushion is right for you, talk to your doctor or a health care professional.
Here is a breakdown on a few of the different types of wheelchair cushions available.
Foam wheelchair cushions are generally the cheapest option available. They are available in different densities (soft, medium, firm, and a combination of densities), thicknesses (usually 1 to 4 inches thick), and sizes (to accommodate various seat widths and depths). A stiff foam provides more support, while a softer foam offers more pressure relief. Some include memory foam for added comfort.
Since foam can easily absorb liquids, use a waterproof cover protects against moisture. Keeping out moisture will also prevent the foam from retaining odors.
Foam cushions wear down faster than gel or flotation cushions and need to be replaced more often, but they also cost less than other types of cushions.
Flotation cushions are filled with gel, air, water, or other fluid substances. Since they shift with your weight, these types of cushions provide excellent pressure relief that adjusts to the movement of your body.
Wheelchair cushions filled with gel or water are heavier than air-filled cushions, but they offer more stability and require less maintenance. Air cushions need to be checked regularly for proper inflation. Gel cushions need to be massaged occasionally to redistribute the gel. Leaks are possible with flotation cushions, although the heavy duty material is difficult to puncture and should last a long time with proper care.
The 18″ Lightweight Steel Transport Wheelchair from Roll Mobility is now on sale for only $74.99! Available in blue or red, this transport chair is an economical choice for trips to the doctor or around town. With a fold-down backrest, this chair packs down into a compact size for small vehicle and storage spaces.
This transport wheelchair comes with swingaway, removable footrests, dual push-to-lock rear wheel brakes, and full padded arm rests. The powder coated finish protects against nicks and scratches for a lifetime of use. See the transport chair features below or see our product page to learn more.
A textured plastic seat is not as comfortable as vinyl, but it includes drainage holes to reduce slipperiness. Padded vinyl is gentle on delicate skin and provides a softer seat.
For added safety and comfort, place a towel on the bath seat. The towel increases comfort on a hard plastic seat and reduces slipperiness on a vinyl seat. Choose a brightly colored towel for individuals with poor vision. Since most bath seats and tubs are white, a colored towel makes it easier to see the bath seat.
A seat cut-out makes it possible to wash personal areas without standing up. This comes in handy for individuals who find it difficult to stand. However, good posture and balance is required to keep from slipping into the cut-out, especially on vinyl padded seats, which tend to be slippery when wet.
A back support is available on some bath seat models for balance and comfort. A padded back rest is softer than hard plastic, but you can drape a towel over the back to make it more comfortable.
Wide suction cups on the bottom of each leg hold firmly to the bottom of the tub and increase the stability of the bath seat. The legs are adjustable to accommodate different tub heights. Make sure all four legs are adjusted to the proper height and the seat is level before using the bath seat.
Which type of material you should use for a wheelchair ramp depends on a number of different factors, including cost, maintenance, safety, durability, and portability.
Wood is one of the cheapest sources if the labor is donated. The cost of labor to build a wooden wheelchair ramp makes it one of the most costly sources in the long run. Steel is the lowest cost material available, although it is less popular because of its weight and its tendency to rust. Concrete is one of the most expensive materials, while aluminum is in the low to medium range as far as cost.
Wood ramps require the most upkeep to maintain their appearance and safety. Steel requires occasional care to prevent rusting. Concrete and aluminum ramps are practically maintenance-free, which makes them a better option for long-term ramp use.
An anti-slip, high traction surface coating reduces the risk of slipping on any ramp surface; however, snow and ice accumulation can make the surface dangerous. Drainage holes in a steel or aluminum ramp help to prevent this problem. Another safety concern is the tendency of wood material to rot over time. Without proper maintenance, a wood ramp can rot, warp, or split.
Steel and concrete wheelchair ramps last the longest. Aluminum ramps are durable, but the raised traction grooves wear down over time. Wood ramps deteriorate the fastest, due to rotting.
Aluminum wheelchair ramps are the most portable ramps available. They are lightweight and easy to carry. Portable steel ramps are available, but they are heavier and bulkier than aluminum. Wood and concrete ramps are permanent and not portable.
Folding walkers are fairly simple to set up and adjust. In just a few steps, the walker is ready to use. Make sure all four legs are adjusted to the correct height for the user.
To fold up the walker, press down on the release/lock button located on one side of the center brace and fold the side frame panel inward. Repeat for the opposite side frame
Stand behind the walker with arms hanging loosely at your sides and the walker in front of you. When the walker is adjusted to the correct height, your elbows should be slightly bent at a 20-30 degree angle when you grip the walker handles.
To adjust the walker legs, push in the adjustment button and slide the tube up or down until the button pops through the correct adjustment hole. Repeat for the remaining legs. Count the holes on each leg to make sure the legs are adjusted to the same height.