How long should a wheelchair ramp be? Shorter ramps might be cheaper and easier to handle, but don’t skimp on length. If a wheelchair ramp is too short, you’ll have a difficult time pushing a wheelchair up the ramp (which can be dangerous) because of the steeper incline. Steep ramps can also be dangerous if there is snow, ice, or water on the ramp.
The ramp must be long enough to clear all of the stairs in the distance from the top of the landing to the bottom.
Do you have enough room at the bottom of the ramp to turn the wheelchair? If the end of the ramp is too close to a wall, fence, railing, or other obstacle, you could run into the obstacle or have a difficult time turning to avoid it. There should also be sufficient room at the top of the ramp to maneuver the wheelchair.
While longer wheelchair ramps are easier to navigate, they can also create difficulties when it comes to parking and clearance. The longer the ramp, the more room you need to set it up. Parking can be tricky, especially since you don’t want the ramp to extend into an area where other vehicles will be driving.
To find the correct wheelchair ramp length, measure the vertical rise from the bottom of the landing to the top. Then use the recommended incline for your wheelchair to find the proper ramp length using the incline chart below.
For comfort and ease of movement, it’s important to choose a wheelchair that fits the person using the chair. A poor-fitting wheelchair will make it difficult to sit for long without getting sore, pinched, or numb. Even more important, it can result in bad posture, poor ergonomics, and muscle strain for the user.
The three most important measurements to use for a wheelchair fitting are seat width, seat depth, and seat height.
For wheelchair seat width, measure the distance between the user’s hips while seated. If you have trouble getting the measurement, try placing a book upright on each side of the user. With the books pressed lightly against the user’s hips, measure the distance between the two books.
After measuring hip width, add a couple of inches for a more comfortable fit. The extra seat width also makes room for bulky clothing or a winter coat.
|Seat Width Measurement|
|Width of hips in seated position + 1 inch|
With the user seated all the way back in a chair, measure the distance from the back of the knee to where the user’s back meets the chair. Subtract an inch or two to account for relaxed posture while seated in a wheelchair. This is the correct seat depth.
|Seat Depth Measurement|
|Distance from back of knee to back of seat, minus 1-2 inches|
With the user still in a seated position, measure the distance from the underside of the knee to the bottom of the foot. The standard 19″ to 21″ seat height works well for most individuals 5’4″ and taller. Seat-to-floor height is especially important for users who want to propel the wheelchair around a small area with their feet.
|Seat Height Measurement|
|User Height||Approx. Seat Height|
|4’11″ and under||14″ to 16″|
|5’4″ and under||17″ to 18″|
|5’4″ and above||19″ to 21″|
We love hearing from our customers! The following wheelchair reviews are just a sample of what our customers have to say about Roll Mobility’s wheelchairs and customer service. These reviews are for the GT Aluminum Lightweight Wheelchair and the Alpha Lightweight Wheelchair.
“I could not believe that it has arrived already…my wife, who for the first time is facing her lack of mobility, smiled when I got it together, smiled when she tried it the first time, and smiled again when she sat on the seat. Thanks for the quick delivery and the very, very good product.”
- Judson Joyce
“I love this chair and my husband does too; he finally can lift my wheelchair to put it in the car and I can now go more places. Thank you so much.”
- Sharma C.
“We are very happy with our purchase. The chair arrived earlier than expected and in great condition. It is lightweight, but sturdy, and very useful – it fits nicely in the back of my CR-V – and dad says it is comfortable, too.”
- Betty M.
“This wheelchair arrived 18 hours after I ordered it. No assembly was required. Foot rests snapped right on. I will do business with this company again gladly.”
- Jeffrey L.
“Exactly what we needed without spending a lot. Mom is large and had to squeeze into the into the 16″ model but stated even though it was a tight fit it was very comfortable. If needed to ride for long periods in chair, 18″ model would be a better choice, but we are very happy with the chair.”
- Juliette C.
“These are great people who care about their customers. I had a minor issue with my wheelchair which I caused and they took care of it immediately! What a great company!!”
- Mark C.
This month’s caregiver story features Susan McHugh, a full-time caregiver for her parents. Sheila is the co-owner of Pink Ribbon Associates, a company that specializes in unique inspirational and motivational pink ribbon gifts for cancer patients and their families and/or caregivers.
“In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with mesothelioma. I am an only child and live in South Jersey. My parents lived on Long Island. I would work all week and then drive to their house on Friday nights. I finally quit my job and basically moved into their home.”
How do you find the support that you need as a caregiver?
“It was difficult for me to find support, as I was caregiving full-time, as well as attempting to take care of my father who was bipolar. When I had hospice come in, I asked for a social worker and she was wonderful. She came a couple of days a week and became my rock. I cannot say enough good things about hospice.”
What brings you joy in caregiving?
“It is obviously difficult to find joy in this situation, except that I got to spend quality time with my mother for two months. She worked my entire life and I was raised by a nanny, so it was wonderful to spend that time with her before she passed. It was also good to see some of the friends I had grown up with.”
What are the biggest obstacles that you face in caring for your loved one?
“The biggest obstacle for me was my father. He was angry and would have terrible outbursts. He would scare both of us. My husband would come to the house on weekends, and he was the only one who could control him.”
What is the most helpful caregiving tip that you could share with another caregiver?
“The biggest tips I can give someone is to make sure you (1) have a good, solid support system; (2) take breaks and get outside when you can; (3) seek out professional help if necessary.”
In partnership with Courage Center, Roll Mobility is now offering wheelchair seat bags for seat back and under seat storage. These bags give you more space to store your stuff while keeping your hands free. These wheelchair bags will not interfere with your wheels or the movement of the wheelchair.
The under seat and backpack storage bags provide easy access by the wheelchair user. The seatback bag includes slits in the top and sides of the bag to allow access without needing to open the bag flap. Hook-and-loop fasteners eliminate the hassle of fumbling with zippers or buckles.
The underseat bags include heavy duty zippers with a large pull string loop for easy opening and closing. The adjustable fit can be used with almost any wheelchair.
These products are designed by Courage Center, a nonprofit organization specializing in rehabilitation and independence. Courage Center’s rehab technology expertise and Roll Mobility’s product manufacturing expertise have combined to produce high quality, custom designed wheelchair accessories that enhance the lives of those with disabilities.