How Long Will it Take to Get Used to your New Wheelchair?
When it comes to feeling comfortable in your new chair a few factors come into play, including the type of wheelchair you’re using, and your previous chair-use experience. If you’re a first time wheelchair user, have no fear! It may seem challenging for the first few weeks, but you’ll be an expert in no time.
Here are our top five beginner tips to feeling at home in your new chair:
Read the Instruction Manual
Seems like the last thing you’d want to do when embarking on the world in your new chair, but it can be very helpful! Your instruction manual will give you information on all the unique features and functions of your wheelchair, making it a great place to start.
Follow these basic guidelines to sit
- Make sure you have the brakes locked in place so the chair doesn’t move around as you go to sit.
- Fold the footplates to the side to give you more room as you sit.
- Brace yourself on the arm rests while sitting.
- Simply fold your foot plates back in and disengage the breaks once seated.
Now that you’ve got down the basics, it’s time for practice to make perfect! Make any adjustments you may need to the backrest or seat as you go, add or take away pillows, and take the time to ensure your chair is customized to your comfort. A well-fitted chair will make all the difference in the long run!
Seated and comfortable? You’re ready to get a move on! If you’re utilizing a manual chair, grip the handrails tightly and roll them forward or backward to move forward or back, respectively. To turn, hold one wheel in place and roll the other forward to swivel (moving the right wheel to turn left and the left wheel to turn right. You’ll get the hang of it, we promise!) Don’t forget to practice at home before heading outside and remember to avoid glass or other debris that could puncture your tires.
Getting back out of your chair
To get back out of your chair, first make sure you’re near your next desired location, like a chair. Then, reverse the steps in #2 by engaging your breaks, folding your foot plates out and bracing yourself on the arm rests to stand.
How long will it be before I’m used to my new chair?
Timing will depend on your level of experience and your illness or injury, however here are a few tips to help speed the process of becoming accustomed to your new wheelchair along:
- Utilize gloves when operating your wheelchair to avoid uncomfortable blisters.
- Remember to use cushions to make your new ride as comfortable for you as possible.
- Exercise your upper body. Keep in mind that the muscles in your upper body will be doing the majority of the work to operate your chair. Doing a few strength training exercises a day to help build up the muscle in these areas will help you to be cruising in no time!
Looking for a power chair to make this transition easier? Take a look around our website and see how Redman Power Chair is taking the motorized wheelchair to the next level!