There is a lot to choose from
Wheelchair reviews and choice is a minefield! What do you want to know about wheelchairs? Do you want to know what others think by reading a review? Or what their particular wheelchair choice is?
The search begins
The search begins for wheelchair reviews and choice, usually sat at a computer. If you punch ‘wheelchair reviews’ into Google, almost immediately, several companies hit the top of the list, claiming they have found the top products. Or their expert advice is unbiased. But really? How difficult can wheelchair choice be? Do wheelchair reviews help the consumer? As they are just a persons, professional or not, opinion of the products?
But a wheelchair is a person lifeline to leading a happy life and can be expensive.
But these wheelchair reviews and choices can mean nothing to some people because it is a delicate claim for someone to know what someone else needs, wants, or prefers. Do these people who write the reviews work for a sales company and need to hit sales targets? Is the review just an opinion?
If you type in the words ‘wheelchair choice’ into the search bar on Google, a list of suggested companies is quickly listed, lit by the white background. As you scroll down, the Which? Website creeps up from the bottom of the screen after the paid Ads. Strangely the Meta Description or SEO title is ‘Choosing a wheelchair for the elderly‘.
Um, HELLO, WHICH? I couldn’t even click on it to find out what they said! Wheelchairs are not just used by older people, or is this review page of theirs to pass on information to the older generation? I will never know?
Everyone is in on it
It seems like everyone is at it. People give their wheelchair reviews and choice, and even the retail giant Amazon provides an opinion. Hence temping the consumer to click on Top Rated Wheelchairs and Customer Reviews….. I didn’t dare to look.
Next on the list was the 21 Best Lightweight Wheelchairs. A website I did click on only to back click straight away. The first block of pictures were attendant wheelchairs, which may be, or probably will be, suitable for some. I know a little about them, and that is enough for me!
Surprisingly, Review My Wheelchair is quite far down the list. Review My Wheelchair gives Independent and unbiased reviews and news about wheelchairs and accessories. The reviewer is Dominic, who himself has a physical disability. Points of view on other sites might come from an able-bodied Occupational Therapist or salesperson who has a clinical background but little or no first-hand experience using a wheelchair.
Strangers in the night
You get these people, maybe a stranger in a shop waiting next in line that strikes up a conversation, or a drunk in a pub, who comment, ‘I know what it’s like, I was in, or had to use a wheelchair for a week once’. No, you DON’T know what it’s like! To need a wheelchair for a day or a week is nothing like using it 24/7.
Do some ‘salespeople’ use a wheelchair for a day and think they are experts?
I would recommend purchasing a wheelchair from an end-user – someone who uses a wheelchair for their mobility. I’ve used a wheelchair for most of my life, and I will not say I am an expert with wheelchairs – how to use one, maybe. Although, if clients, friends, or whoever asks me where to get a wheelchair, I say, look around, check out the alternatives, but consider specific options before finalising a purchase. I think there are three things to consider to help you decide.
- Do I like the salesperson?
- Do I like the look of the wheelchair?
- Can I afford it?
Size does matter
When ordering a wheelchair, measurement is crucial — depending on how active a user is, the Centre Of Gravity (COG) measurement will make a big difference in how responsive the wheelchair is to the user’s actions.
But I’m not
I’m not going to discuss the wheel size, seat depth, tapered front angle or not, and other features of measuring up a wheelchair. It’s a jungle out there, and many people are climbing they know best or maybe think they know?
Each wheelchair I have had has had a slightly different set-up each time. The changes made are mine and the salespersons, who is measuring me up and finalising after suggestions and discussion. As a result, finding out if the sometimes ‘minor’ changes work for me is only discovered after weeks or months of using the wheelchair post-delivery date. Using it Every day. But then, they have to work for me!
Wheelchair skills and wheelchair training
Using a wheelchair with confidence and assertiveness is essential. Choosing the correct wheelchair will help if the user has the right option. Learning wheelchair skills to overcome those everyday obstructions will help relieve everyday dependence on others. Confident wheelchair skills are especially relevant to becoming independent. Even a simple craft like the proper pushing technique, will bring assurance to the end-user.