Wheelchair accessories have been created specifically to improve your quality of life: they are useful, facilitate your mobility and independence and, ultimately, provide you with a good dose of comfort. Choosing them depends on the needs of each individual and, of course, on the type of wheelchair, although many of them are available for manual wheelchairs as well as electric wheelchairs and scooters.
In any case, it is advisable that before looking for wheelchair accessories you investigate which ones can truly improve the appearance and functionality of your chair.
What should you keep in mind when choosing wheelchair accessories?
Mobility is one of the biggest challenges for the recovery of abilities and compensation of disabilities, and for this reason a large proportion of wheelchair accessories are intended precisely to improve that mobility, which as you already know is synonymous with autonomy and independence.
For example, if you practise sport or recreational activities it is important that the accessories don’t hinder the practice of these activities. On the other hand, you have to keep in mind if your chair is going to be used outdoors, indoors or both in order to choose some accessories that could be very useful for you, as well as if you combine the use of a chair with that of a cane or crutches.
If you know how to choose adequate wheelchair accessories you will considerably improve your mobility and comfort and you will have your chair ready for your daily routine (going to work, university, the gym) as well as for special occasions (trips and vacations, excursions, get-togethers with friends, etc.). Consider that most wheelchair accessories are easy to install, are lightweight and not fixed, so that you can use them only on the occasions that you need them.
Types of wheelchair accessories
There is a wide range of wheelchair accessories. These are some of them:
- Cushions. Choosing the right cushion is very important and it depends as much on the conditions of each person as on what we want to achieve. The market is full of this type of product but the most recommended is to choose a pressure-relief cushion. The JAY wheelchair cushions provide postural stability and an optimal distribution of pressure, keeping in mind the individual clinical necessities of each user.
- Supports. These serve to hold and transport objects such as glasses or bottles but also crutches and canes. Within the supports we could also include tables, which are very useful both at home and away from home. Generally, all these accessories are easy to install and don’t require special tools. However, before deciding on a support ensure that its dimensions are suitable for the objects that you want to place in it.
- Brake extensions. These allow the user to reach the brake more easily if the standard handle is too short for you, in which case it is crucial to improve your mobility.
- Backrests. The most important thing about backrests is that they help us to maintain an upright, stable, and ergonomic posture. The selection is very wide but the use of materials such as carbon, which is lightweight and resistant, can help you to make a choice since this material offers the same resistance as aluminium but is much lighter. At Sunrise Medical we recommend our line of JAY wheelchair backs, which will help you get the best posture.
- Umbrella holders. Although you don’t use them in your day to day, it is interesting to look at these wheelchair accessories. Consider that if you take a trip you will need to be prepared to fight against inclement weather in one way or another.
- Bag holders. These are supports placed on the footrests of manual chairs to be able to place the trolley.
- Off-road front wheel. In this case, we’re talking about an additional front wheel for manual wheelchairs that eases the propulsion on sand, grass, mud, pavements or paving slabs.
- LED lights. These are similar to those found on bicycles. They increase visibility in dark places and at night. Keep in mind that it is often necessary to drive on the road if the pavements are not accessible, thus making yourself visible is essential. Normally the packs of LED lights include two (white for the front end and red for the back) and generally with different positions (fixed and blinking).
- Kerb climbers. These are assistive devices for electric wheelchairs that facilitate climbing kerbs.
- Anchors for transport in vehicles. These serve to enable anchoring the chair with full security to the floor of public transport or adapted taxis, in a way that the user can travel seated in their own chair.
- Gloves. This is not a wheelchair accessory per se but we can include it here. There are specialised gloves reinforced in strategic points and specially designed for wheelchair users. There are some more suitable for practising sports and others for day to day situations (to protect us from cold in winter, for example).
Did you already know about these possibilities? These are some of the major wheelchair accessories. We hope that this list can help you choose those accessories that best fit your needs.