4 Essential Maintenance Tips for Your Wheelchair
Wheelchairs are utilised by people the world over for a host of reasons. Some people have temporary injuries that require temporary wheelchair use, while others have permanent disabilities and infirmities that make mobility near-impossible without the aid of a wheelchair. Each wheelchair has a user, and every user has their own story for using a wheelchair. But they all share one thing in common: They are better off and can move around better with a wheelchair. Using a wheelchair can improve the user's quality of life, and also afford them the freedom and comfort to carry on with their lives the way they want to.
Wheelchairs are available in a wide variety of forms and designs, each one devised to accommodate a specific disability, condition or need. For instance, folding wheelchairs allow for easy transport, beach wheelchairs are designed to be used on sandy and snowy terrain, and some wheelchairs can even be used for dancing and sports. Wheelchairs, which used to symbolise disability, is now a chance at freedom for many people.
Like most machines, wheelchairs need regular maintenance to ensure it remains in good working condition. People need to exercise and eat healthy to maintain good health, and so do wheelchairs require constant upkeep to guarantee that their users can reap the benefits of wheelchair use for the years to come. A small issue can quickly grow into one that can destroy the wheelchair, so it is vital that the causes of wheelchair breakdown are arrested while it can be easily fixed.
Here are a few maintenance pointers to ensure your wheelchair stays in top shape.
1. Know your chair
Only the user can best know their wheelchair. After a while, the user becomes slowly familiar with the wheelchair's many quirks: the sounds it makes, the way the backseat hugs the back, the way the wheels squeak when it is being pushed around. Any new sound or feeling will immediately be registered, no matter how tiny. And most importantly, the user knows what it can and cannot support. For many people with disabilities, the wheelchair becomes an extension of their self.
If anything new is registered (new sound, new squeak, new feeling), then the wheelchair should probably be checked out by an authorised service technician. As I've said before, a small issue can quickly grow into one that can destroy the wheelchair. Arresting the problem while it is small will save you a lot of pain down the line.
2. Steer clear of obstacles
While most reputable manufacturers strive to build a durable and quality wheelchair, they're not exactly a 4-wheel-drive off-road vehicle. Wheelchair users should steer clear of obstacles like big rocks and puddles. The combination of mud and water can clog up the wheels, making pushing the wheelchair around much more difficult and inviting rust to form. Always wipe the wheelchair down after contact with moisture to ensure it stays dry and rust-free.
Similarly, always look out for sharp objects and other debris like shards of glass, garbage, and vomit. You definitely do not want your wheelchair to come into contact with disgusting debris and anything that can tip the wheelchair off its balance and possibly damage it.
3. Inspect before use
Most wheelchair users use theirs on a daily basis, and wear and tear will slowly and steadily add up over time. Always inspect the wheelchair for cracks and other signs of damage, especially in high-stress and sensitive areas like the wheels and the bracings.
Cracks are particularly dangerous since they tend to give birth to more cracks and will become a threat to your safety. Always fix the cracks while they are small to keep them from becoming into a major headache.
Collapsible wheelchairs should fold and open easily and effortlessly. The gears that allow for folding should be regularly lubricated to allow for easy movement and as protection against moisture. All joints and pivots have to be lubricated as well. Consult with a reputable technician regarding the correct type of lubricant to use.
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