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Manual Wheelchairs Vs Electric Wheelchairs - The Pros & Cons

Posted by Joanne Q on

Manual Wheelchairs Vs Electric Wheelchairs - The Pros & Cons

As family members grow older, more physical signs of ageing show, such as restricted mobility. Due in part to the physical changes in the body, ageing persons may also suffer from certain diseases that can restrict their mobility and thus, require them to use a wheelchair. These include osteoarthritis, diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy, to name a few. Seniors who may be suffering from mobility impairments can use a PMA (personal mobility aid) device, like an electric or manual wheelchair or mobility scooter to move around more freely.

Now, the question is which one should you choose for your loved one? A manual or motorised wheelchair?

Take a look at the pros and cons of each option to ensure that you’ll make a sound decision.

Manual wheelchair

  • PROs
    • Low-maintenance
    • No battery needed
    • Easier to navigate in tight spaces
    • Lightweight, foldable, and easy to transport
    • CONs
      • May cause upper-body injury with repeated use
      • Requires balance and strength to operate
      • Difficulty in traversing long distances and slopes

    Motorised wheelchair

    • PROs
      • Easy to operate and does not require a lot of strength
      • Has lots of controls to ensure the user can move the chair with a lot of ease
      • Can be equipped with accessories and adjustments to ensure maximum comfort, such as armrests, and recline and tilt features
      • Won’t easily tire out the user
      • Can traverse any terrain
    • CONs
      • Heavy, bulky, and may be difficult to transport
      • High-maintenance
      • May cost more

    Aside from considering all the pros and cons of each option, there are some more factors that you need to take into account when deciding between a manual and motorised wheelchair.

    • Upper body strength – how long will the user be using the wheelchair on a typical day? Will they have ample body strength to operate a manual wheelchair?
    • Clinical needs – are they more comfortable manoeuvring a manual or electric wheelchair? Which chair will enhance the user’s posture and reduce their risk of wheelchair-related issues, such as digestive problems, poor blood circulation, and pressure sores?
    • Lifestyle – will the PMA device fit inside their home? Is their home equipped for supporting the requirements of a power wheelchair? Does it have stairlifts, ramps, or other necessary adaptations?

    The user’s day-to-day life is another huge factor that needs to be considered when deciding on the best wheelchair. If they are someone who loves to travel or explore the outdoors, for example, it’s best to opt for an electric wheelchair to let them enjoy the things that they love doing.

    Conclusion

    Between a manual and an electric wheelchair, the latter does not require the user to propel himself, saving them a lot of upper body strength and preventing muscle strain. So, when it comes to maximum comfort and ease of use, a motorised wheelchair is definitely a wise choice, especially for individuals who wish to remain active despite being over 60 years old.

    Another advantage that a power wheelchair has over a manual wheelchair is that it can be customised with controls and adjustments to suit the user’s different needs. With that in mind, find a fantastic range of power wheelchairs that are specially designed to help people gain back their independence at Falcon Mobility. Get in touch with us today for assistance.


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