9 Wheelchair Safety Tips for Seniors

Family caregivers are responsible for many things requiring skills 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 loved one, so they are unable to direct us based on their experience.

That does not, of course, reduce our desire to care for them and their well-being as we care for their wheelchairs.

Tips for Safe Wheelchair Use

Here are a 9 tips for wheelchair safety

# 1 Check the wheels regularly
Ensure the wheels aren’t loose or have flat tires, which may impact its braking ability. Don’t forget the spokes, as broken spokes can keep the chair from moving freely. In addition, keep the spokes clear of obstructions, such as lap blankets.

#2 Check the brakes before transferring the patient
This is one of the most common mistakes that happen out in the real world. You want to be sure that the brakes still lock tightly to prevent accidents. Regular wear and tear can make the brakes loose. Always lock brakes before transferring your senior in and out of chair!

#3 Keep the wheels well-oiled
Well lubricated wheels ensure that the wheelchair can be moved with minimal effort. We recommend oiling the wheels at least once a month to avoid rust. DuPont’s Teflon silicone lubricant works pretty well for this. You can look it up on Amazon here.

#4 Don’t overload the chair
This is often done when we put heavy bags, especially on the back, which could cause it to tip over.

#5 Inspect the computerized propeller system
If the wheelchair 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.

#6 Keep children away from them.
Don’t allow children to play on wheelchairs.

#7 Keep the chair clean
Frequent cleaning including chair seat, arms, and wheels, to prevent the spread of germs and prolong its life.

#8 Pay attention to the surface
Pay close attention to the surface on which your senior is riding to prevent tipping over due to cracks or holes in pavement or any change in grade, including carpeting.

#9 Lookout for other pedestrians/objects
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!

Additional Resources

Those tips are a quick snapshot about caring for a wheelchair but here are a few more articles you might find informative.