Powered wheelchairs help thousands of people in the UK to stay mobile and enjoy as full a life as possible. Some people with long-term disabilities can manage well with standard wheelchairs. However, this is not the case for everyone. Certain conditions like, MS, lead to muscle weakness meaning that manually powering a wheelchair is not possible.
A Short History of Powered Wheelchairs
Many people do not realise that powered wheelchairs have only been available for just over 70 years. The first powered wheelchair was made by the prolific Canadian inventor George J. Klein. In the 1940s, he was moved by the plight of injured soldiers returning home. Some were quadriplegics who could not operate a manual wheelchair.
Mr Klein realised that if he could come up with a powered wheelchair he could considerably improve their life. Pushing a wheelchair is very tiring and there are many places it is not practical to use one. Powering the wheelchair meant that quadriplegics could go more places, because their carers would not have to push them. It made getting about far easier and more practical.
Modern Powered Wheelchairs
Over the years electric wheelchairs have evolved. They have become lighter, sturdier, more stable, and can now cover much longer distances than they once did. Today, it is possible to buy a powered wheelchair that is tailored to the exact needs of the user. Some are designed specifically for quadriplegics. These can be operated and controlled in a variety of ways, for example using sip and puff controls or tongue controls. This allows quadriplegics to manoeuvre around their homes without help and to go out should they want to.
However, the majority of electric wheelchairs are still sold to people who have the use of their limbs, just not enough strength to operate a manual wheelchair. This includes people with breathing difficulties and arthritis. These powered wheelchairs are much more basic, so can be mass-produced. They are relatively inexpensive to buy and extremely cheap and easy to maintain. They have a range of between 6 and 20 miles and can travel at speeds of up to 4mph. There are many different kinds out there, so it is not difficult for someone to find the right powered wheelchair for their needs.
For a good range of powered wheelchairs
, at great prices visit the Simple Life Mobility website.
Article By: Adam Nicolson