What You Should Know About Caring For a Senior Who Uses a Wheelchair

Wheelchairs help seniors get back into life

If you are the child, or the caregiver, of a senior who uses a wheelchair for mobility assistance, you may be feeling overwhelmed, by all of the issues that surround that situation. Helping the senior in your life, deal with the ramifications of using a wheelchair, can be difficult, but with the right resources, and knowledge, you can help your loved one live as full a life as possible. An important aspect to remember is that there are resources, and tools, that are available to help you as the caregiver.

Here is what you should know about caring for a senior who uses a wheelchair for mobility assistance:
  • Size of the wheelchair needs to be right-Selecting a wheel chair for a senior, who must now use it for the majority of their waking hours, is an important decision. A wheelchair needs to be sized correctly for the user. If the wheelchair is to small, the occupant will be uncomfortable, and unable to use it. If the wheelchair is to big, then mobility for both the user, and the caregiver, becomes an issue. In addition, the overall weight of the wheelchair should be factored in. Today there are many lightweight wheelchairs, that allow the user to move about freer (if they are able), and allow the caregiver, to stow the wheelchair in the trunk of a car, or other space. Doing the right amount of research before you purchase a wheelchair become crucial. At The CareGiver Partnership, they offer a different sizes and selections of wheelchairs, and their staff can help you determine the right size.
  • Comfort is of paramount importance-It is critical to realize that being in a wheel-chair is not like sitting in a regular chair. There are a number of comfort factors that should be taken into account. Several of these factors can be resolved with the use of wheelchair accessories which include but are not limited to:
    1. A footrest extension can reduce fatigue, relieve leg strain and stress on the back and feet of the user. Using a footrest extension also promotes circulation in the legs and feet. In addition, it also promotes proper posture, and comfortable seating.

    2. A padded lap tray.  This type of wheelchair accessory is especially important for those at high risk for pressure sores. A lap tray can act as an elbow rest and help prevent forward leaning. This type of wheelchair accessory also provides extra support, and comfort, for those at risk for skin breakdown. This type of tray easily hooks onto the side of the wheelchair.

    3. A seat pad.  This can be an important accessory for both comfort and cleanliness. Wheelchair seat pads can provide extra comfort, to make the seat easier to sit in and can help deal with any incontinence issues. Most of these pads are washable and re-useable. In addition a seat pad can provide added comfort and dignity.
  • Functionality should be considered-Just because a senior uses a wheelchair, does not mean that they should not have access to things that they want to do. Carriers can be attached to the side of the wheelchair to allow the senior to carry books, magazines or other handiwork, with them. These carriers can also be used to store phones, remotes and security devices. Trays can also be attached that allow the senior to comfortably eat their meals, while sitting in their chair, without the hassles of transferring. 

 About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit http://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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