Selecting a light weight wheelchair can be a bit overwhelming. The two basic types are Standard Wheel Chair and the Transport Wheel Chair. The standard wheel chair is distinguished by the two large wheels an the back with the two smaller caster wheels in front.
The standard wheel chair is most often propelled by the user or this chair can be pushed by a companion. The transport wheel chair has all four smaller caster type wheels and can not be propelled by the user but has to be pushed by a companion. The lighter the chair the easier it is to be propelled by the user or pushed by the companion. The weight of the chair will of course determine how difficult it will be to carry up the stairs or pick up and place in the trunk of a car. The standard wheel chair will generally have a weight capacity of 250 pounds. If the user needs a stronger chair, the heavy duty or bariatric wheel chair can support up to 500 pounds.
The width and depth is used to measured the seat size. Most wheel chairs will come in different sizes, the standard size is usually 18 inches wide and 16 inches deep ( 18” x 16” ). To determine accurate measurement for the hips—while sitting down, measure the distance for one hip across to the other hip. Add one to two inches on each side to allow for a comfortable fit, for example the extra space you might need for wearing a thicker and heavy coat. Measurement of the seat depth is from the back of the seat to around one or two inches behind the knee, while sitting down of course. The seat height is measured from the seat to the floor. A seat that is too high will give the user a hard time of entering and exiting the chair. The seat being too low will have the users feet dragging the floor. Proper seat measurement can be obtained by the user sitting down and measure the length from the bind in the knee to the heel. It is important to add one to two inches for clearance but subtract the cushion thickness. Seat cushions are recommended.
Arm rests provide shoulder and arm support. There are four basic types of arm rest. Fixed or Permanent. Adjustable. Removable. Flip-Back. There are also combinations. The length of the arm rest is either full length or the shorter desk length that allows for the user to sit closer to a desk or table. Leg rests will elevate the leg so it has a calf pad. The foot rest does not allow for the legs to be elevated. Both are available in the swing-away design that can be moved from the normal position directly in front of the chair and allows for ease of access in and out of the wheel chair seat. If the inside of your house you may want to consider if the need for a stair lift is needed. Some of the reconditioned stair lifts can be quiet a bit cheaper then the newer ones. This will help not to worry about your loved one on the stairs.