Do you battle with a loss of strength or balance? Are you coping with a mobility issue that can make walking difficult? If so, you likely have some experience using a wheelchair. For centuries, wheelchairs have enabled people to get around without the fear of slipping and falling. Wheelchairs are well known for providing safe passage from one point to the next, in lieu of walking.
It’s important, however, to not take your wheelchair for granted. It endures a lot of wear and tear over time. Being mindful of the ways to maintain your wheelchair will prolong its life, better its usefulness and increase your safety.
Here are three tips for keeping your wheelchair in tip-top shape:
1. Check the brakes.
If you own a motor vehicle, you’re used to having maintenance performed at least once a year. Look at your wheelchair in much the same way you would your care. Now increase your concern by reminding yourself that your wheelchair is used daily and needs to be safe. Unquestionably, the brakes of your wheelchair must always be in proper working order. It’s wise to check in on them at least once a week.
“Make sure you check them right away if you notice any braking issues during daily use of your wheelchair,” says Australia’s Sunrise Medical, “The efficiency of your wheelchair’s brakes can be degraded by incorrect adjustment or placement of the braking system. Having wet or low-pressure tyres on your wheelchair will also impair the performance of the braking system.”
2. Make sure the battery is always charged.
If you own a power wheelchair, you can get lulled into assuming it will always work for you. With the wheelchair’s ability to move around without being pushed, you may assume that it’s “self operational”. Of course, it isn’t. It needs juice! Many power wheelchair batteries can last for months. Nevertheless, you want to make sure you charge your wheelchair’s battery regularly to guarantee its extended lifespan.
“Avoid letting the batteries run completely flat,” warns advises Jackie of Best Mobility Aids, “Instead recharge them before they get to below 50 per cent. Recharge your wheelchair overnight while you’re asleep. This way, you’ll always have a fully charged-up wheelchair when you wake up and you will never be caught out with a flat battery when you’re out and about.”
3. Maintain good tire pressure.
If your wheelchair’s tire pressure is too low, it will cause unnecessary stress on the shoulders. This is true for users who propel their own wheelchairs and caregivers who assist in pushing wheelchairs along. As well, tires with low pressure will increase the likelihood of damage to the wheel. Be sure to read your wheelchair’s manual to discover the recommended tire pressure range.
“Your wheelchair’s mobility and maintenance can be heavily disrupted if your tires and inner tubes are in poor condition,” Sunrise Medical reminds us. Their website also warns us not to overinflate wheelchair tires. “If your tire pressure if too high, you run the risk of bursting the tube and outer tire,” it reads.
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we provide a variety of wheelchair solutions for simple and complex situations. Contact us for manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, seating and positioning products, wheelchair lifts for home and even vehicle lifts for your wheelchair. Simply give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!