Choosing a wheelchair for yourself or a senior family member is always a big decision.
It’s important to select the right wheelchair for the user’s wants and needs, as they will be spending a significant portion of their time sitting on the device.
There are many different wheelchair options available on the market for seniors with limited mobility.
With a little research, a new chair can greatly enhance the independence of the user and improve their quality of life.
This article provides an overview of the best wheelchair options for seniors struggling with limited mobility while also highlighting what you should consider before purchasing a wheelchair.
Types of Wheelchairs Available for Seniors
Every senior has slightly different mobility needs.
Some people may be using a wheelchair as a permanent, everyday mobility solution, while others might need one for temporary use or a little extra assistance during longer excursions outside the house.
Review the options below to determine which type of wheelchair will best fit your specific mobility requirements.
Electric or motor-powered wheelchairs are ideal for older adults who have limited upper-body mobility.
Electric wheelchairs provide additional independence on longer excursions, as they do not need to be self-propelled or pushed by a companion.
While most powerchairs are quite heavy and need to be transported in a van, a growing number of portable electric wheelchairs on the market – such as the M01D – disassemble for easy transport.
Foldable electric wheelchairs are also becoming a popular option for users who travel frequently.
Standard Manual Wheelchairs
A standard manual wheelchair is often the first option that people will look at when choosing a wheelchair for themselves or a senior family member.
Unlike motorized chairs, manual wheelchairs either need to be pushed from behind or self-propelled by pushing the handles on the wheels.
These wheelchairs can be ideal for both independent users and users being cared for by a nurse or loved one.
There a many different brands and styles of standard wheelchairs.
For a comfortable and dependable option that is loaded with features.
Heavy-Duty Manual Wheelchairs
Heavy-duty wheelchairs are ideal for seniors who need additional support from their mobility devices.
These wheelchairs are designed to accommodate taller or wider adults and usually have a max weight capacity of around 500 lbs.
Because they can accommodate heavier people, these wheelchairs tend to be heavier, making them slightly more difficult to transport or store than a regular wheelchair.
Lightweight Manual Chairs
Lightweight wheelchairs for seniors are designed to fold up and move easily.
They are typically less wide than standard wheelchairs, making them more maneuverable in narrow hallways and other tight indoor spaces.
Lightweight wheelchairs also have a lighter frame and can fit in the trunk of most car models, making them far easier to transport than electric or heavy-duty wheelchairs.
Ultralight Manual Chairs
Ultralight wheelchairs can weigh as little as ten pounds and are ideal for seniors who need to travel and transport their chairs quite often.
These chairs are not as rugged as the wheelchairs mentioned above and usually cannot accommodate heavier users.
An ultra-lightweight wheelchair like the Transport Wheelchair can be easily folded and lifted by most people, making it a great fit for an older adult with various caregivers with different strength levels.
Lift chairs and reclining chairs can serve as a great complementary product for seniors looking to purchase a wheelchair.
Lift chairs come in various sizes and weights and are great for seniors who may need additional help standing up or need to be resting at different angles for comfort.
Walkers and Rollators
Walkers and rollators can be an excellent full-time mobility option for seniors who can walk without significant pain but require a little extra assistance on longer excursions.
Rollators often come equipped with a seat, allowing users to take short rests as needed.
A walker or rollator can also serve as a valuable secondary device for seniors already using a wheelchair as their primary mobility device.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Wheelchair for a Senior
There are many things to consider when purchasing a wheelchair for a senior, including features, weight, transportability, and (of course) the price tag.
For example, a wheelchair like the wheelchairs from TOUSDA comes in three different widths and has multiple legs, rests and arms options, which can affect the price of the chair.
Let’s break down some of the common wheelchair features you need to consider before making a purchase.
A wheelchair can cost anywhere from one hundred dollars to a thousand dollars or more, depending on the make and model.
Not everyone has the budget or needs an expensive wheelchair.
Be sure to research all your options beforehand, either online or in-person, at a mobility equipment store.
It’s always a good idea to balance quality and cost when making your choice!
When purchasing a wheelchair for a senior, it’s important to consider the weight of the user and the weight of the chair itself.
Heavier seniors may require heavy-duty chairs that are tip-resistant and built to support larger people.
It’s also a good idea to think about who will be lifting the wheelchair into a car or van for transport.
If an older adult is caring for their spouse, you may want to consider purchasing a lightweight chair that can easily be folded and put in a vehicle.
Wheelchairs come in a variety of widths depending on the model.
A wider wheelchair can often provide more comfort for seniors, which is a plus, but you’ll want to measure the door frames in your home and the width of your vehicle’s trunk before making the purchase.
If you’ll mostly be using the chair indoors, investing in a smaller transport chair or compact electric wheelchair may be a good idea.
Check out our blog posts to learn everything you need to know about wheelchair turning radius and the best narrow wheelchairs for tight spaces and doorways!
Several factors can affect how comfortable a wheelchair is, including the upholstery and padding.
A chair built using high-quality materials will typically be more comfortable than one with sub-standard construction.
It’s also important to consider how the leg rests and armrests function.
For example, the Wheelchair has arms that flip back so the user can easily roll up to a desk or dinner table.
Mobility of the User
Seniors with severely restricted mobility may prefer an electric wheelchair, as they require less upper mobility to operate than a standard manual wheelchair.
Powered wheelchairs can also be a good option for users who do not have a constant caregiver to help them maneuver around.
Alternatively, a sturdy rollator or walker may be all they need for seniors who can stand for long periods and are still quite mobile.
Many electric wheelchairs (and even some heavy-duty manual chairs) must be transported by van or SUV.
If this is not possible, you may want to consider purchasing a smaller wheelchair or a powerchair that can be disassembled for greater portability.
What Are the Best Wheelchairs for Seniors?
The best wheelchair for seniors depends on the wants and needs of the specific user.
If they travel with the wheelchair frequently, a transport chair such as the Lightweight Wheelchair would be a great choice, while someone with limited upper mobility may want to go with an innovative electric wheelchair like the M01D.
For larger users who require additional support from their mobility device, the Aluminum Transport Chair may be just what they’ve been looking for.
You can find these wheelchairs and other options online at TOUSDA!
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best wheelchair for an older adult.
Be sure to consider the needs of both the chair user and the caregiver and the features of the chair that you feel are most essential.