Wheelchair: The Advancements and Benefits of Wheelchair Technology

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Wheelchair is one of the most common mobility devices used by individuals, usually seniors who have difficulty moving or walking due to various illnesses. This assistive tool allows these people to live a good quality of life, increase their independence in doing activities, and engage in social activities like work, study, and business despite their condition.

Wheelchairs are now considered a necessity for disabled individuals. This has driven the government and different organizations to conduct wheelchair services for disabled individuals who have no access to wheelchairs and appropriate care.

The Primary Role of Wheelchairs

A wheelchair’s primary role is to help physically impaired individuals in moving and completing tasks with minimal to no assistance from a family or caretaker. Illnesses such as stroke, arthritis, amputation, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries are just a few conditions that need the assistance of wheelchairs.

This assistive device is not only a mere product for disabled patients, but it is also a pathway to opportunities that physically impaired individuals have been deprived of. Not only that but studies also revealed that wheelchairs make a significant impact on both the patient and caregivers. This is by reducing the caregiver’s burden and providing a sense of independence among the patients.

Benefits of Wheelchairs

There are a ton of benefits that a wheelchair offers to physically impaired individuals which include the following:

Sense Of Independence

People who are suffering from stroke and other physical impairments tend to be frustrated as they try to do activities that they can’t. A fully functional and durable wheelchair will provide more mobility for disabled individuals, thus giving them a better sense of independence.

Instead of relying completely on a family or a caregiver, disabled individuals can now do activities that they want with more freedom as they can engage in such activities whenever and however they like.


Studies have shown that disabled individuals who limitedly engage in physical activities are more susceptible to other illnesses and may worsen their existing condition. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle causes boredom and irritability among elderly people. Thus, getting a wheelchair allows them to do daily physical activities and hobbies they used to do. This will help them remain busy while reducing the boredom that most seniors experience living with a disability.

Improved Self-Esteem

People suffering from physical disabilities tend to experience anxiety and depression, and they often question their worth and purpose. Wheelchairs have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression among disabled individuals as it allows the patient to participate in various activities and communicate with society in general.

Research has also proven that wheelchair users tend to have higher self-esteem than those who don’t use wheelchairs. This is because people who use wheelchairs have more opportunities for socializing with other people within the community.

Improved Health

Having a comfortable, ergonomic, and functional wheelchair offers a lot of benefits to one’s physical and mental well-being. As mentioned earlier, wheelchairs enable disabled patients to have more freedom to do hobbies and activities that they love.

This will increase motor movements necessary for healthier muscles, tissues, and joints. It can even serve as therapy for people with arthritis or stroke. Also, since they can do activities without assistance, it’ll give them more sense of independence and self-esteem. With all these mentioned, a disabled patient can still have a physically and mentally healthy being.

Increases Community Interaction

The more physically active you are, the more people you will meet. This is another benefit of using wheelchairs.

Instead of staying on your hospital bed and watching other people live their lives from your window, wouldn’t it be better if you also interact with them, know something about them, and even relate with them? Wheelchairs can give you that opportunity, and with increased community interaction, you’ll be able to live a more purposeful and better quality of life.

Improved Quality Of Life

Young or old, people who are suffering from illnesses like stroke, arthritis, or impairments struggle in finding opportunities for education, employment, and community engagement. With the help of an appropriate and functional wheelchair, more doors will open for disabled individuals.

In this way, people with disabilities no longer have to feel isolated, lonely, and unworthy as they can live their lives just like ordinary people.

Contribution To The Economy

A wheelchair not only contributes to the well-being of individuals but also helps in driving the economy. This is because as more and more disabled are allowed to study, get employed, and establish a business, the higher revenue will be the community.

Not only that, instead of lying there bedridden and incapable of working, with the help of wheelchairs, disabled individuals can have the opportunity to help their families in terms of financial means. It will also lessen healthcare expenses because the disabled will no longer depend on caregivers for completing basic tasks.

Types of Wheelchairs

There are different types of wheelchairs based on the patient’s needs. Below is a list of the common types of wheelchairs and their features.

Standard Wheelchairs

Standard wheelchairs are like the ones you usually see in hospitals and health facilities. It has 2 large back wheels and small front wheels. The size ranges from 25-36 inches in width and usually weighs 35 lbs.

Though it might be a little hard to propel and is less adjustable than other types of wheelchairs, it still works best for temporary and short-term use such as transferring a patient or carrying a patient with a leg injury.

Lightweight Wheelchairs

Lightweight wheelchairs, as the name states, weigh a little lighter than standard wheelchairs. It ranges from 20-40 lbs which works well for traveling long distances. Additionally, these kinds of wheelchairs are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or titanium for durability. If you’re aiming for versatility, this kind of wheelchair is a good choice.

Recliner/Tilt Wheelchairs

Recliners or Tilt wheelchairs work best for patients who struggle a lot getting in the toilet or bed. This wheelchair allows you to recline backward if you want to relax your back and recline forward to assist you in going to the toilet or transferring to your bed.

Heavy-Duty Wheelchairs

Also known as Bariatric wheelchairs, this type of wheelchair is suitable for people weighing between 300-700 lbs. Also, to give the caregiver lesser effort in pushing his/her patient, it features a reclining seat to properly disperse the weight of the patient on the wheelchair.

Transport Wheelchairs

This is another type of wheelchair usually seen in hospitals. The only difference between transport wheelchairs from standard wheelchairs is that transport wheelchairs have smaller back and front wheels while standard wheelchairs have 2 large back wheels.

This means that the patient cannot propel themselves and should be pushed by someone else. It is best used for the patient transfer or during outings as it is more lightweight compared to standard wheelchairs.

There are other specific types of wheelchairs such as:

  1. Pediatric wheelchairs - Wheelchairs are intended for children.
  2. Sports wheelchairs - Wheelchairs are intended for injured athletes.
  3. Hemi-height wheelchairs - For people who use their feet to control the movement of the wheelchair.
Appropriateness of Wheelchairs

To make sure that you or your elderly patient has the right wheelchair, it must:

  • Be safe, functional, and durable.
  • Meet the needs of the patient based on his/her condition and environment.
  • Just the right fit for the patient to support posture and movement.
  • Be available in the country you live in.
  • Have aftercare and maintenance services available in the country you live in.

Final Thoughts

A wheelchair is one of the necessities not just for seniors, but also for people of all ages who are suffering from physical impairments and disabilities. Not only that it will help the patient to accomplish basic tasks and activities, but they are also able to have access to the community per se.

This will allow them to learn, earn, and engage. Who wouldn’t want to get the best experiences out of one's life, right? Well, I’m here to say that a simple wheelchair can make a big difference. I hope you learned a lot about wheelchairs, their importance, benefits, and types after reading this article.

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