Currently, there are about 2.7 million wheelchair users in the US. If you are a new wheelchair user, just know that you are not alone. It may be difficult to adapt at first, but following a few tips will keep your life on track.
Read on to learn about seven helpful tips for new wheelchair users.
- Add Extra Time
As a new wheelchair user, you may not be used to how much time it takes to get to places compared to when you were out of a wheelchair. Things are going to take longer than you think so be sure to add extra time to every trip you take.
For example, if you have a long road trip to go on, you need to plan for the extra time. These trips can already have unforeseen circumstances like traffic and weather that can put you behind, so don’t get more behind by not making time to get around in your wheelchair.
Bathroom and eating stops can take more time because you will have to get out of the car differently than before. These breaks can add up quickly on the road so leave an extra hour or two earlier.
- Get Comfortable
Sitting down all day can be a drag so it is important to make your wheelchair as comfortable as possible. Most wheelchairs do not have comfortable seating, but there are ways to deal with this issue. For example, you can add a wheelchair seat cushion to make your sit better.
You can also get comfortable in other ways. Some wheelchair users make the width of their seat narrow because a wide chair can cause bad posture and affects the performance of the chair.
Other wheelchair tips include finding the right seat depth for you. A deep seat can make you slouch and a shallow one won’t give you enough support.
A seat angle is when your chair will have a permanent slope. This angle will keep your weight in place so you don’t slide forward. Too much of an angle will cause problems in your spine and back.
- Learn to Clean Differently
The easiest way to get all your cleaning done is by hiring someone to help you out. However, this is not realistic for most people. Because of this, you need to learn how to clean differently now that you are a wheelchair user.
If you can’t get wheelchair assistance, you may have to come with terms that your home won’t be as clean as it once was. Don’t let this cause you any frustration, just learn as you go.
You may have to learn to live with some clutter just so that everything is more accessible to you. You should also make sure your outlets are accessible.
For an easier clean, you should consider getting items like a cordless vacuum. If you have to mop, starting in the corners is the easiest technique for those in a wheelchair.
Try picking up any unnecessary clutter throughout the week so you have less to do when cleaning day comes around. You should also keep a reacher around in case you drop something in an area where you cannot get to.
- Keep Playing Sports
A new wheelchair user may think they cannot play the sports they have always loved. However, being in a wheelchair should not stop you.
Nowadays, wheelchair users can compete professionally. You could play power soccer, basketball, or Quad Rugby. This sport combines ice hockey, basketball, handball, and rugby.
A lot of electric wheelchair users play power soccer while wheelchair basketball can be enjoyed by almost all. Quadriplegics who cannot play basketball can enjoy Quad Rugby instead. You can even get wheelchair accessories for when you play sports such as drink holders, belts, harnesses, and back supports.
- Check the Wheelchair Condition
You always want to play it safe by checking that your wheelchair is in good condition all of the time. The first thing to check for safety reasons is the brakes. Loose breaks will affect your safety and therefore should be regularly checked.
You should also consider stability and balance. Common wheelchair guides will tell you to never lean over the armrests, don’t pick things up by reaching between your knees, and don’t shift your weight in the direction you are reaching.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health
Becoming a new wheelchair user can take a toll on your mental health. Your mental health is connected to your physical health, so you should still get some exercise.
You can do cardiovascular exercise to maintain your lung and heart health. Raise your heart rate and get a little sweaty every so often. You can do this by swimming, playing sports, or doing wheelchair sprinting.
You should strive to get physical activity daily. If this activity does not benefit your mental health, you should talk to your doctor.
It can become easier to experience depression if you are not used to being in a wheelchair. This can sometimes also cause anxiety. These treatable conditions should be taken care of as soon as you notice the symptoms.
- Shower Regularly
Basic hygiene should be a requirement for everyone, regardless if you are in a wheelchair, or not. A wheelchair user individual especially needs to regularly shower. It becomes more important for them than others.
Staying clean and hygienic will also help health and well-being. Get a showerproof wheelchair so you have no issues showering regularly.
Tips for Wheelchair Users
Becoming a wheelchair user can be difficult at first, but practice will make perfect. There are a lot of tips you can follow to make your life easier. Start with these 7 tips for wheelchair users now to begin your new life.
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