“You’re simply the best! Better than all the rest” that’s what Tina Turner would suggest being the best means, but when considering wheelchairs for the great outdoors, what does that really mean?
Simply put it means finding the best fit between the person, the activity and the environment.
In recent years, there has been lots of research showing that being outdoors in the fresh air is good for us – it improves both physical and mental wellbeing. Group activities outdoors also help us connect to others. Spending at least 2 hours a week is recommended for good health and wellbeing. Living in greener urban areas is associated with less likelihood of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma hospitalization and mental distress.
There may be a perception that wheelchair users might add some challenges to certain outdoor activities, but it is not the use of a wheelchair that is exclusive, more the environment that can be disabling. Choosing the correct outdoor wheelchair therefore supports enablement and engagement in an otherwise disabling environment.
Making the best choice starts with getting the best assessment. Working with your wheelchair professional will help ensure you get a comfortable wheelchair, suitable for your abilities, body type and posture. However, the assessment also needs to figure out what will suit the type of outdoor life you really want. Perhaps you want to sail, scale mountains, explore forests, ski or maybe something closer to home like the local arboretum or park.
Your wheelchair assessor should be asking you the following questions, but perhaps have a think about them yourself, before you go along to an assessment:
What outdoor activities would you really love to do?
Don’t limit your choice of activity straight away as there are many activities out there and many organizations which can help you.
How often can you see yourself doing this activity?
If you are going to camp, hike or paraglide every weekend, then having something more specialized might be best. If it’s not very often, perhaps an outdoor wheelchair which can suit a variety of activities might be best.
Who will be with you or will you be alone?
Perhaps you and your partner like exploring cosmopolitan towns with narrow streets or stately homes meaning you need something compact but stylish like the TDX SP2 NB
Where might you go? What is the terrain likely to be?
For uneven ground, you might need good shock absorption such as with the Storm4 Xplore. Perhaps it needs to manage snow and ice?
How might you travel there?
Does the wheelchair need to go in the car, train or plane?
Tell me more about the activity – let’s figure out what special features might your wheelchair need?
If you need a speedy, quiet chair, the Storm4 True Pack Plus might be the one.
If looking for style with extended range for larger urban experience such as a day shopping or city exploring then the TDX SP2.
Assessments are only as good as the questions we ask and the things we consider, so give yourself a flying chance of getting into the great outdoors more often, in the best possible wheelchair.
Invacare presume Medical professional and care team have made an individual assessment of the user to determine the patient’s risk level or therapy requirements. Reader should get in contact with a Medical professional prior to acquiring the medical equipment.