What to Look for in a Wheelchair Ramp
If you have never shopped for a wheelchair ramp before, it could be difficult trying to determine which features are most critical. Below, we’ve listed some of the criteria we believe you should consider when making your purchase. While each situation is different, these criteria should serve as an excellent starting point to help narrow your buying options.
Does the Senior Have Assistance?
If a senior in a wheelchair has assistance with a ramp, their buying options increase tremendously. They will not have to worry about purchasing a ramp that folds into the car or van automatically. By having someone else who can take care of the ramp and fold it, seniors merely need to worry about getting in and out of the vehicle.
Similarly, another factor that customers will want to consider is the weight of the ramp. Ramps can range in weight considerably. For example, two options on the list above, which are both compact and foldable, weigh about 15 and 30 pounds. Whether it’s loved ones or staff at an assisted-care facility, customers will want to make sure they can lift and maneuver the ramp.
Type of Vehicle in Which They’ll Travel
Another critical option is the type of vehicle in which the senior will travel. For example, if you elect for a foldable ramp, you must ensure that you have room in your car to store it. Additionally, you’ll also need to make sure that there is room in the vehicle to secure the senior passenger in their wheelchair during travel.
You may also come across ramps that attach to the back of a car. These ramps are best intended for power wheelchairs. Seniors will want to ensure that they can sit in a seat in the car comfortably since their wheelchair will be outside the vehicle in the open air. Additionally, drivers will want to make sure that their car has the appropriate trailer hitch for the ramp.
Lastly, seniors will want to consider the height of the vehicle into which they’re onboarding. If the ramp is too short and the vehicle height is too high, it will be difficult for seniors to wheel themselves up the ramp. Similarly, when offloading from the vehicle, they could gain too much momentum, which would cause them to lose control of their wheelchair.
As a rule of thumb, ramps should have a grade of three to four inches for every foot of the slope. This means that a ramp measuring five to six feet long should provide seniors with enough of a gradual incline to move up and down the ramp quickly and safely. Customers should measure the height of their vehicle’s entrance before purchasing their ramp.
If purchasing out of pocket, customers can expect to pay at least $150 for a wheelchair ramp. Prices tend to go up from there depending on the model and its intended use. Seniors may be able to look into alternative payment options, such as Medicare and Medicaid. However, they must also make sure that these programs will cover ramps purchased from third-party vendors, such as Amazon.
One of the last things to consider when purchasing a wheelchair ramp is the safety features it includes. Many of today’s ramps come with features such as traction grips and high sides to prevent seniors from accidentally falling over the side. This can give seniors peace of mind knowing that they will be safe, no matter what the conditions.