Read these 34 Wheelchair Accessories Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Wheelchairs tips and hundreds of other topics.
Wheelchair accessories can make life a lot more comfortable, and having a comfortable wheelchair cushion to sit on is essential to your physical well-being. For more information on wheelchair accessories, like wheelchair cushions, please visit TheWheelchairSite.com.
If you're considering which battery to purchase for your wheelchair, it's also time you consider what battery charger you plan on getting as well. A battery charger for your wheelchair is typically made for a specific battery rating and battery type. If you plan on changing your battery rating or battery type, you'll likely need a new charger as well.
Choose an automatic battery charger so that it will shut off when your battery is completely charged. If you choose a manual one which continues charging even after your battery has reached full capacity, you run the risk of damaging your batteries. If you do decide you'll need more than one type of battery, remember to look for battery charger models which allow you to charge more than one type of battery.
Once you've figured out what type of battery you should get – gel cell or wet cell – you need to figure out the battery power you need. Battery power is rated in amp hours and comes in three sizes. If you want a more powerful battery, you'll get one with a higher number of amp hours. Wet cell batteries tend to have amp hour ratings ten percent higher than that of gel cell batteries.
The three sizes of battery power are group 22, 24, and 27. A group 22 battery is the standard size. A group 24 battery is suited for heavier high performance chairs. The most power goes to the group 27 battery which you might use for extended travel distances and frequent use over sloped terrain.
Want to make daily activities such as reading, eating, and playing games easier in your wheelchair? Consider the addition of wheelchair trays to your wheelchair. Wheelchair trays provide a flat surface like a table so you can enjoy daily activities right at your wheelchair. You have a wide variety of choices and materials to select from depending on your preferences and needs.
Deciding what to add on to your wheelchair yields a lot of options, including whether or not to include wheelchair armrests. Wheelchair armrests would serve you well by allowing you to position yourself more easily while in your wheelchair. At the same time, they can also get in the way if you're at a desk or wheeling your manual wheelchair. Before you decide to whether or not to add wheelchair armrests, take a look at some of the benefits and disadvantages.
If you're in the market for new wheelchair batteries, you need to know what your options are. There are two main types of wheelchair batteries: gel cell and lead acid (also known as wet cell).
A gel cell battery is the most common type of wheelchair battery. They are costlier than their wet cell counterparts. However, maintenance is lower since you don't have to deal with maintaining water levels or acid spillage as you would with a wet cell battery.
A wet cell battery has been known to last longer. However, in recent years, the gap between the battery capacities is closing due to advancing technology. Many airlines will not allow a wet cell battery on board because it contains hazardous materials.
"Shop...and...compare online...before...you buy!" No, that isn't you with sore muscles or a gotta-go complex. That's William Shatner in the Priceline commercials.
While Captain Kirk, aka Denny Crane, aka Mr. Priceline, doesn't show any signs of needing a wheelchair, he's a try-before-you-buy kind of guy. You can't try before you buy with airlines, but you can with wheel chair cushions.
You can't send back wheelchair cushions you bought online--at least not if you've had them for a year! But you can go down to your local mobility aids store or consult your doctor. Ask to try out several before picking wheelchair cushions. Try a cooling wheelchair cushion or a solid air one with a little bounce. Check the way it fastens to your wheelchair. Is it large enough? If you have an Enterprise "captain's chair" in your electric wheelchair, does the cushion help you or make you leap out of your chair as if the ship's being attacked by Klingons?
As another "Star Trek" star (who pretended to replace his captain in the Priceline ads), would say, it's only logical to try before you buy. Now, if you could just try out that Hawaiian vacation. Oh well. Ahead...Warp Nine...engage!
The number of wheelchair accessories you can add are endless. If you're looking for wheelchair accessories that will help you carry items on the go, take a look at our list for some ideas on what you can use.
Pouch Packs – Hang pouch packs on your wheelchair for easy access to your personal items. You can use Velcro attachments or an over the armrest attachment to carry everything from pens to books and more.
Arm Tote – A little bit larger than pouch packs, an arm tote hangs over the armrest of your wheelchair. You can find compartments for your cell phone and wallet as well as store your papers in a zippered area.
Back carry-ons – This takes a bit more work to reach around and get your items, but with back carry-ons, you'll have more room for your belongings and will also have compartments to organize whatever you want to bring with you.
Under the seat packs – Under the seat packs work by carrying items under your wheelchair seat. You can find ones that will hold laptops, notebooks, or even clothing. These wheelchair accessories require more dexterity to reach under your wheelchair seat for your items.
You're hot. But you knew that. You're also uncomfortably warm thanks to friction. Do you choose a cooling wheelchair cushion or a cooling wheelchair pad? Picking wheelchair cushions is hard! Why not both if it's a hot day and you're dealing with friction? You can fasten a cooling wheelchair pad to the chair back, and a cooling wheelchair cushion to the seat.
You're so hot you're cool. But can you stay cool so you never let them see you sweat? Many cooling wheelchair cushions and pads contain technology to stay cool for days without refrigeration.
So let your natural coolness and hot looks shine through now that you don't have to worry about heatstroke. You're on fire thanks to your personality, not because of your chair.
If you find yourself frequently going outside with your wheelchair and finding your clothes dirty in the process, consider getting clothing guards to help keep clean. Clothing guards, also known as side guards, keep your clothing from getting caught on the wheels or dirt from splashing on your wardrobe. You can select armrests for your wheelchair with built in clothing guards. If you'd rather go without armrests at all, consider separate side guards to protect you from outdoor grime. You'll find clothing guards made of various materials, including plastic, metal, and cloth.
Wheelchair cushions are vital to making your wheelchair comfortable as well as ensuring proper posture. There are several types of wheelchair cushions you can choose from. This handy guide will give you the basics.
Foam wheelchair cushion – The foam wheelchair cushion is an inexpensive and lightweight seating option. Keep in mind it's prone to wear within a short period of time.
Gel wheelchair cushion – If you want a comfortable option, choose the gel wheelchair cushion. The downside to this type of cushion is that it is heavy and may have gel leakage.
Air flotation – This waterproof, lightweight seat cushion will keep you comfortable during wheelchair use. However, the air flotation seat cushion is prone to puncturing and requires frequent monitoring of its air pressure.
Urethane honeycomb – The urethane honeycomb is a newer type of seat cushion which provides you with good support and helps to absorb shock.
You're a kid and despite the chair, with its awesome racer-like style, you feel you can do anything. You even learned how to charge the batteries...you read the manual while your parents are struggling with programming the VCR/DVD combo. You know about the plugs wheelchair battery chargers need. See, you're a responsible kid with an aptitude for all things mechanical. How come your dad gets upset when he sees you trying to move your wet wheel chair battery?
Relax—he's not dissing your initiative. He's probably proud (parents have to tell you how to do things, share their wisdom and all that). Then your grandma jumps in with tips she learned. Turns out she can charge an electric wheel chair battery better than you can. And, she reminds you, you forgot the water for your wet wheel chair battery.
To be honest, you could use your dad's help lifting those wet wheelchair batteries...they're heavy, even though you're the strongest girl on your wheel chair basketball team.
So yes, kids can do anything, and you can charge and change those batteries...but be smart about it. Talk to your grandma, read the manuals, talk to the people who sold you the wheelchair (ask about selecting wheel chair batteries). Watch how to install a wet or gel electric wheel chair battery.
People say kids today are lazy. But nothing slows you down (including explaining to your mom one more time how to surf the Web).
You've got cameras and alarms in your house and car, in your office, and at school...did you ever think you'd need wheelchair anti-theft devices? If not, you've been choosing wheelchair accessories unwisely.
Sad to say, there are probably people who get their jollies out of stealing your wheelchair—there's such a thing as karma, the ultimate wheel chair accessory. However, you don't want to give anyone the chance to rip you off. While alarm wheelchair accessories usually prevent patients from getting up and wandering off, they can also keep your chair from disappearing or getting trashed (again, karma works too.)
An anti-theft wheelchair accessory bar fastens to the wheels, stopping movement—It's like the Club for wheelchairs. An overhead anti-theft wheel chair accessory device fits all brands of wheelchairs. It may not deter everyone, but you can't forget karma.
You keep hearing about AGM. AGM is better. AGM is powerful. It sounds like a stock. And, if AGM were a stock, it would be the best of breed. AGM, short for Absorbed Glass Mat, is an electric wheel chair battery similar to a gel cell wheel chair battery. Both batteries are leak-free when it comes to acid (no acid rains or acid trips). AGM is the newest design, built to last...remember that when you are selecting wheelchair batteries.
You're probably thinking, "That's what my broker said about the last stock she recommended." Unlike stocks, which are speculative, batteries can ride out trouble no matter how many ups and downs your wheelchair goes through. It recombines oxygen and hydrogen more efficiently than companies meet their projected earnings estimate, with 99 percent efficiency. Wall Street blue chips would kill for those ratings!
Best of all, AGM wheelchair batteries can sit in storage for long periods without starting to decay or needing to charge. This is great if you're a day trader who mainly stays indoors. Remember, that can extend electric wheel chair battery life to two years before you have to replace the wheel chair battery.
We rate AGM wheelchair batteries a strong buy.
You like the room and car cold but your honey likes it warm. Or she likes the air conditioning turned up full blast and you're searching for the electric blanket. You don't have to compromise with your wheelchair, no matter what temperature you're in. You can be comfortable anywhere by choosing wheelchair accessories wisely.
Wheelchair accessory style mavens have created ponchos, seat coolers and warmers, even sleeping-bag-like covers for your legs. The sleeping bags pair perfectly with the poncho wheel chair accessories. Does your sweetie like Seattle in the winter? An umbrella that attaches to your wheelchair arm completes the weather readiness kit in case of rain. Want a fan or spray bottle handy in hot weather? The Universal Wheelchair Caddy and Universal Tote CarryOn Jr. hold everything but the air conditioner. With the right wheelchair accessory kit, you can stay as refreshed as if you were floating in the pool...which, come to think of it, sounds like a great idea. The question is...heated pool or cold pool?
Is a gel or wet electric wheel chair battery better? As Deion Sanders says, "Both." Unless you happen to be traveling on an airplane. Even with football star perks, Mr. Sanders would have to remove wet wheelchair batteries from his wheelchair when flying.
But Mr. Sanders would have to recharge his gel wheelchair batteries, since they have 10-20 percent less capacity than a wet wheel chair battery. For a jet-setting football player, that might pose a problem. He could carry wheelchair battery chargers...or he could just opt for a wet wheel chair battery.
Sanders would, however, have to make sure that the team doesn't pour all the water on him during the victory dance (every two months a wet electric wheel chair battery needs the water changed). Still, football players with bulked-up muscles are equal to the task of reaching and lifting the batteries. Just watch the guys—someone might pour Gatorade in as a joke.
You might not be a pro football player, but armed with information about wet versus gel, you can make a good call when selecting wheel chair batteries.
You're a kid and wearing out your wheelchair tires has lost its thrill. Stuck in the chair? Wish you could sit by the creek and fish, or knock down those pins? You can, the old-fashioned way or with a cool wheel chair accessory or two.
Fishing rod holders work the same way cup holder wheelchair accessories do, you can have a cup holder on the other arm of your wheelchair as you sit on the bank of the river and wait for a tasty trout to bite. You can carry lures in your under-seat or over-the-back backpacks, essential wheelchair accessories for the avid junior fisherman. There's nothing like fishing to capture the essence of childhood.
Kids also love to bowl. Mobility4Kids' Poss-I-Bowl attaches to the tubular bowling ramps at the bowling alley and allows children to release the ball with the touch of a bowling switch. This is ideal for kids with limited mobility in a wheelchair. Technically, it's not strictly for wheelchairs, but it allows independence and fun, so it definitely ranks on our list of wheelchair accessories. Who knew that choosing wheelchair accessories could be so much fun?
Now you can go back to being a demon on wheels in-between lazy afternoons fishing and beating your best friend at bowling.
Oh no, do I have to fill out a Medicare form for my wheel chair cushions too? Haven't I suffered enough? When will it end?
Take heart and fluff up that foam cooling wheelchair cushion or Invacare Lo Contour that breathes to cool you down just like a cooling wheelchair cushion. Medicare can actually reimburse for wheelchair cushions.
Retailers such as SpinLife let you know with a little "M" symbol that products are eligible for Medicare. All of the wheel chair cushions on SpinLife.com have the "M" symbol. Retailers selling wheelchair cushions will usually advertise that the products are Medicare eligible. You can also search the Medicare.gov database of approved manufacturers.
If you still have a headache, you probably have been sitting too long in the heat. Now that you can stop worrying (for the moment) about Medicare, take a load off, take an aspirin, and don't touch another Medicare or insurance foam for the rest of the day.
Your auto mechanic loves you so much he's cut his inflated estimates to half-inflated. All the modifications to your car have made him, or her, happy. You have the wheelchair lift or ramp. But assuming your wheelchair doesn't strap into the car seat, and most don't, where do you store the chair? Most foldable simple manual wheelchairs ride in the trunk, but can be jostled around easily and you need to store all your wheel chair accessories.
It's time to make your mechanic happy again. You can install wheelchair car carriers, a new one in wheel chair accessories. They'll even fit in your pickup truck bed or on a standard trailer hitch—anti-sway bars keep you from having an accident that will give your mechanic a trip to Maui…bad for him, good for you.
Just as you would a bicycle, you can mount your foldable wheelchair on a bumper or a roof rack. With the car-top racks, you can automatically hoist your wheel chair accessory case, your wheelchair ramp, and oh yes, your wheelchair.
If you have a scooter, you're out of luck—scooters usually need to be disassembled, which means you're stuck with your trunk lift wheelchair accessory. Still, your mechanic has to install that too. Is it any wonder he or she has named that first baby after you?
You're running to that doctor's appointment and, wonder of wonders, the doc's always on time.
When you're recharging your Invacare or Levo electric wheel chair battery, you don't want to find out that you packed the wrong model of wheelchair battery charges. Your chair takes wet batteries, but the charger will only handle gel wheelchair batteries. Or you have an old 12-volt wheelchair and your modern wet/gel electric wheel chair battery charger makes the batteries go kaput. The doctor's meter is running while yours is stalled.
Thankfully, the Lester 12 Volt. 6 Amp Battery Charger handles the old 12-volt models. For newer model chairs that need wet or gel wheelchair batteries charged, most wheelchair battery chargers will charge both wet and gel wheelchair batteries.
Another surprise: When you get to the doctor's office after speeding up the wheelchair ramp, your doctor is late. Relax, cool your wheels, and read the two-month-old magazines in the office.
You're so crazy about your wheelchair accessories you take them everywhere. Your friends say you're crazy, period. Not so—some of the wheelchair cooling cushions can also help when you're out of the chair. Now, to feed your wheelchair accessory habit, Allegro Medical is an accessory to your mania.
You love wheelchair trays—they're steady and can take punishment. You wish you had one that works when you're in bed. The Deluxe Overbed Table allows you to indulge your obsession whether you're in bed or in your chair. Who can blame you for going slightly overboard? Look at that padded footrest! Still, we admit that hanging your spoke guards on your bedroom wall might be a sign you need therapy.
You're on the go, wheeling and computing. You're working on that sales report or term paper, great American screenplay...or maybe just chilling out with a computer game. But your lap is getting tired. You haven't found the right tray wheelchair accessory—most trays are as cramped as airline trays, or too big for your needs. Maybe you're choosing wheelchair accessories that aren't right for your chair.
When lap desks don't do the job, you can order a Lap Top Wheelchair Desk wheel chair accessory. The slanted adjustable lid supports your LCD screen or holds sales figures, character notes and cheat codes. The tray can even hold your cell phone, although you have your electric wheelchair turned off so the laptop and phone don't interfere, right? You're a computing wizard on the go—get yourself some high-tech wheelchair accessories and be geek chic.
You're in the middle of a lecture and you can't stand it. How much longer is your chemistry professor going to talk? Admittedly, she gets a little long-winded when she talks about covalent bonding. But your discomfort isn't the usual bored-student variety.
When you're sitting too long in one spot, you need comfort. When you have any kind of a muscular or neuromuscular condition (arthritis, anyone?), you need a supportive cushion for your seat and/or back. The question for the ages, and one your chemistry prof will love, is: foam, gel or air?
With so many choices, from basic models to deluxe-contour "ahhh" wheelchair cushions, let's review the options on the blackboard before your head explodes from picking wheelchair cushions to buy!
Example: Jay Soft Combi W/Lumbar Support Option Foam Wheelchair Cushion
• Easily the cheapest, but high-quality.
• Won't leak.
• Can be shaped to fit your back, which is not easy because you used to be a linebacker.
• Wear out quickly and lose shape.
Example: Invacare Gentle Contour With Flogel Gel Wheelchair Cushion.
• Can leak. Your professor would tell you it's viscosity.
• Contoured to support your spine and often include memory foam.
• Absorb less impact, say if you hit a wall while cramming for the chemistry final.
• Too heavy.
• More expensive, especially for a college student.
• Have inserts to keep your legs from getting restless during class.
Example: ROHO Airlite Air Wheelchair Cushion
• Inflate as large as you need.
• Distribute pressure evenly, which your prof will tell you is important.
• Higher maintenance, a con when you're trying to concentrate on chemistry lectures.
• More expensive, especially with your student loans.
• One jab from the wiseguy behind you and all the air leaks out.
Did you take good notes? For a college student, foam or gel wheel chair cushions may be your best bet, especially if you need the extra comfort of a cooling wheelchair cushion for when your prof. talks for thirty minutes about viscosity. The good news: With all you've learned from your wheelchair cushions, you can ace that chemistry final with confidence.
When you're sitting for a long time, you need some form of pressure relief to stay comfortable and prevent stress on the surface of your skin. An alternating pressure seat cushion works to accomplish pressure relief through an air pump. For instance, the ErgoDynamic Seating System pumps air into and out of varying parts of the seat cushion, helping to relieve any pressure you might feel after using your wheelchair for a length of time. Alternating pressure seat cushions have a heavier weight, due to the necessity of pumps and batteries. However, technology advancements over time, will lesson the weight of this type of seat cushion.
You have the coolest kid around. Or you are the coolest kid around. Unfortunately, with friction and sliding, you don't feel like you're all that. You feel hot and sticky and uncomfortable.
You may be big enough to realize you need a change, but adult wheelchair cushions won't work for you. Once again, you're too young. Not to worry. Companies such as Supracor make wheel chaor cushions just for you. Imagine, a cooling wheelchair cushion or wheelchair pad just your size. You stay cool, and best of all, as you grow, the cooling wheelchair cushion or cooling wheelchair pad can grow with you.
If you need to be cooler, and what kid doesn't, ask your parents or doctor about getting a cushioning wheelchair back that ventilates and supports. You're a kid in complete control, you have big dreams, and now that you're not hot and sticky, nothing's going to slow you down.
You're sweating under the California or Tuscan sun. You can't find a freezer cooling wheelchair cushion or cooling wheelchair pad anywhere. Specialty stores don't carry what you need, and you're not able to enjoy your vacation. Don't book a flight home. Buy a one-way ticket to cool with new wheel chair cushions.
All wheelchair cushions cool you and circulate air. Some of our "chill out" favorites:
• Varilite Evolution Air Wheelchair Cushion
• Varilite Pro-Form Single Air Wheelchair Cushion
• Varilite Pro-Form Dual Air Wheelchair Cushion
• Invacare Personal Seat Gel Wheelchair Cushion
• Invacare Gentle Contour With Flogel Gel Wheelchair Cushion
• Invacare Gentle Contour With Visco Foam Wheelchair Cushion
Your new cushion keeps you relaxed and there's a mai tai, nice chianti, Napa Valley white wine, or daiquiri in a frosted glass waiting. In terms of hot vacation spots, your wheelchair should get its own Fodor's five-star rating!
Keeping up with new technologies is fun. You relish the challenge of making Macintosh and Windows technologies mesh, love installing software for your iPod, and watch Windows crash.
Have you finally met your match now that you've bought an AGM electric wheel chair battery for your Golden electric wheelchair? Could even Windows engineers wrestle with wheelchair battery chargers for AGM wheelchair batteries?
Before Bill Gates makes a wheelchair that's only compatible with Microsoft batteries, let us reassure you that the AGM electric wheel chair battery works with standard wheelchair battery chargers.
You'll need to check, as usual, whether the charger is compatible with your wheelchair. Don't worry—you don't need a whole IT department. No cross-compatibility issues. Oh well, thankfully for you, there's bound to be a computer crisis tomorrow.
You're pondering the essence of existence and the nature of God. In the meantime, can you answer yes to three of these questions?
1) Does your back feel stiff and sore, though you just got a new mattress and magnetic belt or pad?
2) Do you have osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, arythrogryposis, or other condition that requires you to use a wheelchair?
3) Are you wheelchair-bound permanently (quadriplegic, paraplegic)?
4) Do you use wheel chair cushions and pads?
5) Do you dread being in your wheelchair?
While many conditions that require a wheelchair also drive you to get out of the wheelchair several times a day--you should be moving around anyway to prevent muscle atrophy, sores and bone injury--you may need a new cooling wheelchair cushion or a new wheelchair cushions in general.
Wheel chair cushions are designed to be durable, but foam wears out faster, so if you prefer foam wheelchair cushions, have a backup. The Jay Soft Combi W/Lumbar Support Option Foam Wheelchair Cushion is supposed to last much longer than ordinary foam cushions.
If you use air wheelchair cushions, they may just need inflating to prevent chafing and soreness when you sit. Make sure you've chosen the right size cushion and that wheel chair cushions are fastened securely, since sliding can wear out the surface and filling more quickly.
Now that you've replaced your cooling wheelchair cushion, can you answer yes to this one question: Does your back feel better than it has since you first sat in the wheelchair, even since birth?
If you answered yes, you have the right wheelchair cushion or pad, God's in His Heaven, and all's right with the world.
Chafing, bruising, soreness...as Frank Sinatra sings, "That's life." But you can bet Ol' Blue Eyes would have gone first class in his wheelchair if he'd used one. Class with a capital K. You do the same, kiddo. With a martini in your hand, a babe on your arm and fashionable functional wheel chair accessories: adaptive hip and thigh supports in stylish colors.
Cool, man: Hip and thigh supports, in comfortable nylon, naugahyde, or mesh, attach to drop hook seats or solid fixed seats. These wheelchair accessories are adjustable, designed for maximum cushioning as you cruise the Strip. You can flex them like the Rat Pack flexed its muscle.
Even if your toes are a-tapping, a stable footrest wheel chair accessory provides muscle and bone stability. You'll just have to settle for being a casino shark, and hope luck will be a lady tonight.
You have ear plugs, hair plus, nose plugs...and now you're obsessing about battery plugs. Wheel chair battery plugs, to be exact. With all the wheelchair brands out there, how can you find an electric wheel chair battery charger that accommodates the plugs?
Many wheel chair battery plugs come in two styles: square and round. Invacare wheelchair batteries have both styles, so Invacare wheelchair battery chargers are designed to accommodate an Invacare wheel chair battery.
If you aren't sure which wheel chair battery charger you need, if your wheelchair brand isn't listed, check with the electric wheel chair battery seller or with your wheelchair manufacturer.
Now you'll have plenty of time to concentrate on your collection of spark plugs.
Wheelchair stalling or lagging behind the crowd? Your electric wheel chair battery probably needs replacing. You can put more juice in your battery every day with our wheel chair battery tips.
• Charge the wheelchair batteries every night to keep the chair fully revved in the morning, especially if you ride outdoors most of the day and night.
• If you use your chair mainly indoors, keep it turned off when sitting at the table or doing stationary tasks. Tip: The same battery can last for two years if your chair is an indoor animal.
• If you use "wet" batteries, keep a water jug handy every two months, which is when you'll need to refill the water. Have a friend or family member help.
• Don't leave your wheelchair running when you're not in it.
• Have backup batteries on hand. Most wheelchair sellers will include wheelchair batteries. Order extra.
After all, your batteries don't need recharging as you rush through your routine and emerge ahead of the pack. Make sure your wheel chair battery can keep up with you.
Cloth clothing guards are great wheelchair accessories, not only because they are easy to remove during transfers, but because of their flexibility. However, these wheelchair accessories won't protect your clothing completely. Plastic and metal side guards work much better to keep your clothing free of dirt. But because of their stiffness, you need to take extra care to avoid their sharp edges.
Both power wheelchairs and mobility scooters run on wheelchair batteries. Wheelchair batteries are one factor in determining how far your wheelchair or scooter will take you. However, you also need to consider the weight of your chair as well. A heavier chair will use up more power than a lighter one.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|