Why Would You Want A Reclining Wheelchair?
Reclining wheelchairs are a good option for seniors with certain health needs. If the user needs additional support due to a condition like ALS, Cerebral Palsy, or arthritis, this type of chair could be useful.
Seniors might also choose a reclining wheelchair because they distribute weight better than a standard chair. Doing this helps to prevent bed sores and additional pain or stiffness for an older adult recovering from an illness or injury, for example.
One thing to look out for is whether or not you can use the reclining feature as the operator of the chair. Some chairs only allow the caregiver (or person pushing the wheelchair) to recline the chair. If you are a senior capable of reclining it yourself, definitely get a chair with that feature.
What To Look For When Buying A Reclining Wheelchair
If you have decided on a reclining wheelchair, there are a few important factors to consider. Because it’s a long-term investment, you’ll want to make sure the chair meets your unique needs.
No chair in the world fits you perfectly off the assembly line, which is why we think adjustability is such an important thing to look for. The best chair is one that can be customized for your preferences – even if those preferences change.
Look for a chair that has adjustable armrests, headrests, leg rests, etc. These elements allow you to tailor the chair to your needs and decide for yourself how the chair should feel.
If you cannot find something that is adjustable, look to see if the model comes in different sizes. Steer clear of chairs that only come in one standard size.
When the chair is fully reclined, it can easily tip backward, so it’s important to protect yourself from this risk.
A lot of reclining wheelchairs come with an anti-tipping mechanism attached to the rear tires. This part acts similarly to training wheels by helping prevent falls and adding extra stability. This feature is a must for a senior who lives alone and is going to recline often without the help of a caregiver.
Your ideal chair should have plenty of padding on every section of the chair. There should be padding on the headrest, backrest, and leg rests. Having the right amount is essential because it prevents skin breakdowns in older users and helps preserve comfort overall.
Depending on the user of the chair, you may want to opt for a “roll-stop” headrest which is a cradle to prevent the user’s head from rolling side to side. It adds comfort and stability to the chair and is a great option for seniors with muscle weakness or coordination issues.
This option also depends the individual using the chair. Hydraulic assist lowers the chair with just the press of a button or the pull of a lever. This feature is usually easy for the user to operate by themselves.
If the senior using the chair wants to recline by themselves, hydraulic assist is a great way to do that safely. This can help increase the wheelchair owner’s mobility and independence.
Hydraulic assist is also helpful for the caregiver since it’s easier and safer than reclining the senior by hand.
While armrests can improve comfort, they can also prevent the user from getting underneath tables, so removable armrests are a great feature. Make sure you pay attention to how easy they are to remove.
Some chairs have a breakaway system that pulls off and then clips back into place, but some require hardware and tools everytime which is inconvenient for most users.