We’re all well aware of the purpose of a wheelchair. For individuals with mobility issues, wheelchairs provide safe travel from one spot to another. Wheelchairs are especially useful for those who have diminished senses of balance and strength. If walking is painful or simply unsafe, it’s wise to utilize these excellent mobility solutions.
However, wheelchairs should never be taken for granted. It’s always important to practice wheelchair safety. How can you ensure your safety while sitting in a wheelchair?
Be Careful of How You Shift Your Weight
Of course, the use of a wheelchair can help to prevent slips and falls. The simple fact that users sit instead of the stand all but eliminates the threat of taking a tumble. Or does it? When seated in a wheelchair, it’s important to maintain your balance by not shifting your weight significantly in any one direction. Cedric Soh of HealthNetCafe.com highlights the need to use casters in order to maintain a proper position in a wheelchair.
“When reaching, leaning, bending sideways or forward, it is important to use the casters as a tool to maintain stability and balance,” he informs, “Finding your proper position is essential to your safety when using a wheelchair. In the beginning, you will want to use the casters to help maintain your balance and stability. Practice conducting a variety of activities such as bending, reaching and transferring in and out of your wheelchair. All of these movements will cause a change in the weight distribution of the wheelchair.”
Keep All Pathways Clear
Yes, wheelchairs are known for helping seniors and individuals with mobility issues to avoid slips and falls. However, wheelchairs don’t work magic. They can’t miraculously hop over obstacles and debris. When indoors, be sure to have all pathways clear of clutter. When outdoors, be mindful of the terrain upon which the wheelchair user is traveling.
“Keep all pathways traveled by the individual in a wheelchair clear and accessible, and remove throw rugs, clutter, and loose electrical cords,” insists Elizz.com, “Arrange furniture to allow a clear path so the wheelchair can easily be moved.”
Mind the Curb
A wheelchair can certainly help you to avoid tripping over a curb. However, it can’t necessarily protect you from bumping into one. Soh advises caregivers of wheelchair users to mind the curb. He also encourages wheelchair users to accept the assistance of their caregivers when maneuvering their wheelchairs outdoors.
“You should only move through curbs with the assistance of another person,” he insists, “It is important for you to develop your own safe technique that is best suited for your abilities with the aid of your healthcare professional. Curbs, steps, and stairways are dangerous obstacles that confront the wheelchair user. When you encounter these obstacles, try to find a way around them by using curb cuts, ramps or designated disabled elevators now available in most areas.”
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