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mazingerz88's avatar

What is the best type of manual wheelchair for outside trips?

Asked by mazingerz88 (27264points) 1 month ago from iPhone

A friend is about to buy a manual wheelchair for her Dad who is 88 years old. She plans to take him on trips using the local metro system which includes trains and buses to go downtown to museums, restaurants etc.

She saw two kinds of wheelchairs recently. One with brakes on the handles, 4 small wheels at 300 bucks and one with the big wheels with small wheels in front. The price is much less.

She wants to know the functional differences between these two designs. Any insight on which model would suit her purpose better would be much appreciated. Thank you!

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11 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know a lot about this, but brakes on the handles sounds like a good feature in her situation. If she will be outside she could be going downhill at times.

I think the big wheel is so the person in the chair can move it themselves. Just a guess.

Also, I’ve noticed wheelchairs are getting wider and wider. If he is thin I would look to buy a relatively narrow one (probably the standard from years ago) so it’s easy to maneuver through spaces. Also, she might want to consider what’s comfortable for her arms regarding the space between the handles and the height of the back of the wheelchair. It’s not easy to push wheelchairs for long stretches.

Those are my thoughts just as an observer with very little experience.

janbb's avatar

I can’t speak to the two different designs but she definitely wants to consider the relative weights of each if she’s going to be shlepping it around with him in it or putting it in vehicles. She will probably want to buy a cushion for whichever one she gets if he is going to be sitting in it for a while.

LadyMarissa's avatar

The one she needs should be lightweight & marketed as a “travel” chair!!! Of the 2 you described, I’d probably go for the one with the large wheels on the back & the small wheels on the front because it will maneuver better going over curbs & rough terrain. The larger wheel will be much easier on the subway. The person sitting in it will also be able to maneuver themself independently without having to ask their caregiver to do everything for them. The 4 small wheels will only work reasonable in a home with all flat surfaces. The user will be at the mercy of the caregiver & the caregiver at the mercy of the needs of the patient. As an FYI, Medicare might possibly help to defray some of the cost of the chair as it will be used to get the patient to the doctor for better medical care.

Part of the consideration should be the width of the chair…making sure it will fit through the doors of the house & be able to maneuver the hallway. In other words, you need to make sure it works in the home as well as outside. IF you can’t get it in the house, you’ll have a problem getting the patient into it to go outside!!! The larger wheel chair wil also be more important in maneuvering the steps & curbs around the home.

gondwanalon's avatar

A tricycle.

mazingerz88's avatar

Thanks so much jellies! Friend and I are using all these valuable insight in picking the right chair for her and her Dad.

I didn’t mention that her Dad is blind and has dementia. So she’s thinking about safety belts.

LadyMarissa's avatar

^^ In that case, a safety belt is a MUST!!!

Smashley's avatar

@gondwanalon swoops in with the ableist non-sequiter. Nice,

gondwanalon's avatar

@Smashley you’re full of BS.
You have no idea about who I am or what I believe.
An adult tricycle can be very helpful for the elderly for therapeutic exercise.

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