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What Caregivers Need to Know about Wheelchairs

By Marius Butas, 11:20 pm on

While some seniors take to their wheelchair as though it is an extension of their body, others may find their new wheels to be bulky and unwieldy. Caregivers also may require an adjustment period during which they learn how to safely maneuver the wheelchair throughout a senior’s daily routine. If you are new to using a wheelchair, then these expert tips from Home Care Assistance of Mesa will help you navigate like a pro.

  • Encourage Proper Posture – Wheelchairs have a center of balance that must be maintained to ensure senior’s stay seated in the chair, and making sure the senior sits in the correct posture will help you to push them correctly. Use the appropriate type of seat cushion for seniors who may feel pressure or pain from sitting for extended periods, and make sure that their feet sit properly on the footrest. Seniors who struggle with maintaining their posture may benefit from an added seatbelt.
  • Follow Best Practices – Although it may be tempting to pull the wheelchair downhill or through unwieldy paths, it is important to always hold the wheelchair from behind as you push. This will ensure that you have full control of the chair at all times. When stopped, be sure to set the brake, and learn how to maneuver the chair safely over bumps. For small bumps, you can apply downward pressure to the back of the chair to lift the front wheels. However, larger bumps may require you to turn the chair around and use the back wheels to back over the obstacle.
  • Know Your Route – When you are first learning how to navigate a wheelchair, you will discover that many routes are not as accessible as they may seem at first glance. As a trusted provider of 24 hour home care in Mesa, we’ve learned the home may be one of the most difficult, requiring you to move furniture and create a clear floor path through the main living areas. If you will be accompanying the senior on a trip out of the home, then use smartphone applications to identify wheelchair accessible areas that can make transportation easier.

As with most new skills, maneuvering a wheelchair may take some practice, but soon you and your loved one will adjust to using it on a daily basis, while benefiting from easier mobility. If you have additional questions or need assistance in providing care for your aging loved one, contact a Care Manager at (480) 699-4899. In addition to assisting with activities of daily living, we also provide advanced in-home care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as post-stroke and hospital care.