Over the past few months I’ve been on a quest for a new power chair. I look around and see my friends who use manual chairs and get a little jealous because their chairs are lightweight, sleek, sexy, and easy to transport. I look in the mirror and exhale disappointment and frustration at the thought of choosing a new chair. I’m due for a new chair and as I sit in my power chair all I see is big, bulky, clunky, heavy and cumbersome. I think of this long drawn out process of choosing a new chair, getting fitted, ordering, waiting, fixing everything that is wrong with it, and finally getting used to a new life companion all while missing my old friend I have grown so accustomed to.
My friends who are not wheelchair users get excited for me at the prospect of a new chair. “Get it in pink!” They say. “Add some LED lights for when we go to the club!” “Can you get spinners?”
As fun as all this may be, my thoughts are not on color or lights or any bling whatsoever. Yes of course I want sleek and sexy, as vain as I may sound, aesthetics are important to me…but more important is functionality. Here are all the power chairs and power-assists I have looked at.
Permobil: Powerful chair with many options like seat elevator, recline, and tilt.
Quantum: Powerful chair with options iLevel seat elevator, recline, tilt and a compact frame.
Amy Systems: The Hybrid option combines features of rear-wheel and mid-wheel drive.
Whill: All directional wheel technology and cool design. Plus, you can drive it with your smart phone!
Tailwind: Power-assist wheels for a manual chair.
Spinergy ZX-1: Power add-on for a manual chair.
Smart Drive: Power assist attachment for manual chair.
Genny: This I have not tried but think it’s cool- Self balancing technology- like a Segway!
Whether you are a full-time power chair user, part-time power/manual chair user, or a manual user looking to give your shoulders a break, take a look at the options out there so you can make a good decision when looking for functionality and aesthetics.
Some of these options are covered by insurances, others are partially covered or not covered at all. Obviously, this is another consideration so while you are looking around keep in mind that some of our options and accessories are currently in danger of not being covered by Medicare. United Spinal Association’s Advocacy Alliance is working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen. Please check out their work and see what you can do to help SAVE THE WHEELCHAIR!
When you get that wheelchair that is just right for you, look in the mirror, not with frustration but with a smile on your face because you like the way you look and exude confidence. Power to the chair! Power to YOU!