Family caregivers are responsible for many things that they may never have had to use before and may be wondering what is the best way to accomplish certain tasks.
Caring for a wheelchair may be one of those things.
Often we are learning about wheelchairs at the same time as our senior, so they are unable to direct us based on their experience.
That does not, of course, reduce our desire to do as well as we can for them.
Tips for Keeping the Wheelchair Safe for Use
It isn’t enough just to push you senior loved one here and there, out in the community, or just inside the house from place to place.
Caregivers want to be sure that the wheelchair their senior is using is safe and in good working condition.
There are many ways for wheelchairs to wear out or be used in such a way that harm could occur.
Here are a few tips for wheelchair safety:
- Check the wheels regularly – be sure the wheels aren’t loose or have flat tires, which may impact its braking ability. Don’t forget the spokes, which can keep the chair from moving freely if they are broken. In addition, keep the spokes clear of obstructions such as lap blankets.
- Keep the wheels well-oiled for proper functioning.
- Check the brakes often to be sure they still lock tightly to prevent accidents. Always lock brakes before transferring!
- Don’t overload the chair with heavy bags, especially on the back which could cause it to tip over.
- If it is battery powered, inspect the system for safety and keep it out of the rain. Check the speed and reprogram it to a lower rate for safety if needed.
- Don’t allow children to play on wheelchairs.
- Keep the chair clean, including chair seat, arms and wheels, to prevent the spread of germs and prolong its life.
- Pay close attention to the surface on which your senior is riding to prevent tipping over on cracks or holes in pavement.
- Be aware of people nearby (not to mention small pets) so that they don’t get run over, causing injury to them or the senior in the wheelchair.
You may want to keep the owner’s manual handy in case service or warranty information is required.
Using a wheelchair can be vital to seniors who have difficulty walking or have limited stamina so that they can stay engaged in the community and socialized with those they love.
Keeping the wheelchair in good working order will help you keep them safe and them a part of the action!
Those tips are a quick snapshot about caring for a wheelchair but here are a few more articles you might find informative.