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Tips for Adjusting to Life in a Wheelchair

Category: Wheelchairs
October 12, 2015

person in wheelchair

Whether you are in a wheelchair temporarily due to an injury, or permanently due to serious damage, it’s tough to get used to it. And it’s not just moving around in a wheelchair you have to get used to. You might have had to quit your job, give up your car or forget about ever going for a hike again—these are some big changes from your former lifestyle! At Freedom Mobility, it’s one of our goals to help people like you make a life in a wheelchair not just tolerable, but also as enjoyable as possible. Here are a few tips to help you eliminate frustrations and make the most of your current situation.

Invest in a Good Wheelchair

A good wheelchair makes a big difference, trust us! In a well-fitted, customized wheelchair you can finally drive around and turn easily, as well as reach things better. It will also be more comfortable and will allow you to use your chair for longer periods of time without getting restless. A standing wheelchair is a relatively new technology that allows you to stand up while still being strapped to a chair. This is especially convenient if you are allowed to stand but could use extra support.

If putting weight on your feet causes pain or slows down the healing process, then getting the right wheelchair is especially important. As you get frustrated with not being able to reach items or move in the right direction, you may be tempted (or sometimes have no choice but) to use your feet, which will lead to further damage.

Consider Modifying Your Home

We realize that money is usually tight when you have medial bills and medical equipment costs piling up. But you shouldn’t completely disregard the idea of modifying your home to better suit your current needs, especially if you are in a wheelchair long-term. For example, if your only bathroom is upstairs, there is really no way for you to get up there without a stair lift. And if your bathroom doorway is too narrow for a wheelchair, you may be forced to walk even though the doctor specifically advised you against it.

Start with things that will make the biggest impact on your life. Remove the clutter, so that your wheelchair wheels don’t get stuck on things. Add threshold ramps in places where floor levels are uneven between rooms. A modular outdoor ramp will also make it much easier to get in and out of your home. If you can’t afford anything outside of what your insurance provides, reach out to local businesses and charity organizations. There are many people out there who are happy to help a fellow human out.

Find Ways to Exercise

Physical exercise has many benefits from improving mood to strengthening muscles and energizing your body. Depending on the type of your disability, find the ways to exercise, whether sitting in a wheelchair, standing up or laying down. This will also help you burn calories and improve blood circulation. As you know, sitting for a long time is bad for your health and may cause you to gain weight and become weak. This, in turn, may lead to low self esteem and depression. Talk to your primary physician about an exercise routine that is safe for you and stick with it. Your may be able to go to the gym and work with a trainer or work out in your pool if you have one.

If you need help choosing the right wheelchair or modifying your home, our Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) certified consultants will be happy to get you fitted with the best mobility equipment for your needs. Give us a call or contact us online with any questions.

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