If your aging parents are having a difficult time getting out of the house, using a wheelchair can make outings safer and easier. For occasional trips to the doctor or the shopping mall, a lightweight transport chair is your best option. For heavier wheelchair use, a standard wheelchair offers more comfort.
Wheelchairs come in several different styles. For users who want to sit in the wheelchair and propel themselves forward, get a chair with large rear wheels. If a companion will be pushing the wheelchair instead, consider getting a transport chair for a lighter, more compact version.
Get a folding wheelchair to make it easier to store and transport the chair. Lightweight wheelchairs and lightweight transport chairs make it easier to lift the chair in and out of a trunk or vehicle. Some wheelchairs include removable accessories, such as arm rests and leg rests.
Before you purchase a wheelchair, take a few measurements to make sure the wheelchair is the right size for your elderly parent. With your parent seated comfortably on a chair, measure the width of their hips. Add one inch to make room for bulky clothing and wiggle room.
You may also want to measure for seat height. With your parent seated and feet flat on the floor, measure from the underside of the knee to the bottom of the foot. If you plan to use a wheelchair cushion, add about two inches to the seat height. The seat height measurement is especially important if your parent needs to be able to propel the wheelchair with his or her feet.
Finally, measure for seat depth. With your parent seated upright against the backrest of a chair, measure from the inside of the knee to where their lower back meets the chair. Subtract an inch or two for relaxed posture.
Need a better way to get your elderly parent out of the house? Check out our selection of wheelchairs and transport chairs from Drive Medical, Invacare, Medline, and Roll Mobility. Free shipping on all orders to the lower 48 U.S.