The motorized wheel chair: Bringing more of your world into reach.

Working in the community care field as I have for the past ten years, I have been exposed to a real wide variety of both manual and motorized ( or electric ) wheelchairs, as well as a number of personal mobility scooters. During that time, both from speaking with different people involved in the maintenance of such vehicles as well as just searching out information out of curiosity, I have come to gain a better understanding of how these different kinds of mobility devices enable individuals in their own ways respectively.

So, motorized wheel chairs and mobility scooters, what are they?

Well, with this post I would like to delve into the subject of the motorized wheel chair. Electric wheelchairs are motorized wheelchairs that make use of either a system of gears or a system of belts or sometimes even both. Power wheelchairs with belt drives are typically very quiet, but they require more maintenance. Modern gear drives are fairly quiet and low-maintenance, but they tend to wear out more quickly then belt drives, and get noisier in the process.

The motorized wheelchair does seem to vary in its durability. The more low end motorized wheel chairs have lighter frames and are usually more suited for primarily indoor use; the lighter wheelchair frame can more easily crack, and the frames' front forks can bend. Also, it seems that wheelchair motors die out faster when they are used to excess in an outdoor environment. The more recent and higher priced motorized wheel chair seems to be more durable and reliable and the frames are designed to handle more weight. Some of the newer electric wheelchair models are even designed with spring suspension, which can allow for a much smoother ride over more uneven territory.

Motorized powered wheelchairs currently can run you from anywhere between $1,800 and up if purchased either from a brick and mortar retail location or from an online online retailer. These kinds of wheelchairs are available in three basic models: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and a mid-wheel drive.

The front-wheel drive motorized wheelchair has become more common because it offers a tighter turning function. Most of the front-wheel drive wheelchairs have a slightly lower top or maximum speed than their rear-wheel counterparts because they are known to turn too readily at higher speeds. The rear-wheel drive electric wheelchair is the more traditional and most popular style of chair. It is generally faster then a front-wheel model but provides for a poorer turning capability in comparison to the front-wheel and mid-wheel models. The mid-wheel drive wheelchair provides the tightest turning of all motorized chairs, but has a tendency to be somewhat unsteady when stopping and starting. The mid-wheel drive has caster wheels in the rear and an extra set of anti-tip wheels in the front. This set up of wheels limits their use on more uneven surfaces.

Finally, there are some additional features that are available on many motorized wheelchairs. Many chairs have an electric wheelchair power tilt, this is a feature that allows the chair's user to tilt the entire chair's seat assembly and footrests upwards to a 45-degree angle. The electric wheelchair recliner is a feature that allows the user to tilt the seat back and raise the leg rests up horizontally. Both of these features provide relief to the chair's occupant and are of help in the prevention of pressure sores.

Well that about does it for me in laying out there what I have come to learn about the motorized wheelchairs that are out there. With my next post, I will take a look at what I have observed and learned about another classification of mobility device: the mobility scooter.


The home stairs lift chair: The upstairs of your home does not have to be out of reach any longer.

When I was a young boy, I remember going with my mother to visit the home of an elderly lady who lived alone in a very large house; In this house there was a mechanical stairs lift chair that ran all the way up the side of the main staircase. I remember at the time thinking that that was something that you didn't see all the time and that for someone to have such a thing in their home must mean that they were somebody special. Of course this was during the late seventies and the truth of the matter was that this was a person who was quite well off and could afford a mobility device that was much more expensive to have installed at that time compared to today. Since that time I have had the opportunity to see a few more of these enabling devices and come to appreciate how much of a difference they can make in the life of the elderly and the disabled. For such people, going up or down the stairs can oftentimes be a challenge considering their physical condition. Of course many elderly and disabled individuals are able to live independently in their own homes with just some assistance instead of twenty four-seven care, of course an implication of this is that such individuals might need help and assistance at times when there is no one there to be of any help or assistance. So if you are on your own and need to do something that most might take for granted like, say, go up or down the stairs, then the installation of a home stair lift chair makes perfect sense. In the past you might have heard references made to such types of devices as a handicapped or handicap lift chair, a stairs lift chair or a motorized chair lift, these are all pretty much referring to the same kind of thing: a chair lift for stairs in the home.

When considering the purchase of any chair lift for stairs in your home, disabled and handicapped individuals should make sure that they are dealing with a reputable retailer offering reliable manufacturer brand names of stair lift chairs before making their purchase to be sure that they are purchasing a product that is going to last as long as needed. Among the top suppliers of stairlift equipment are names such as Savania Concord, Bruno, Thyssenkrupp Access, just to name a few. In most cases, the stair lift manufacturers are the ones responsible for the proper installation and maintenance of the equipment. Many stairlift manufacturers have gone and designed chairlifts with a variety of different features that cater to the differing requirements of disabled users. Stairlifts can be utilized both inside and outside of the home. A stair-lift adapted for the outdoors will provide features such as weather resistant coatings, powder coated painting which serves as protection from the elements, and electrical enclosures to protect the operating equipment from the elements, these are all examples of how the stair lift can - and needs to be made resistant to the elements.

There are basically two main types of stairs lift available to consumers for purchase on the home market: these are the straight lift and the curved lift. The straight lift is designed to fit straight staircases in the home environment, while the curved stairlift is designed for use with curved staircases. As a rule of thumb, straight stair lifts are cheaper to install in the home than the curved lift. The elderly and/or handicapped individual has a choice between going with either electricity powered lift or a battery operated lift. The battery powered option is more advantageous because it allows for use of the stair lift even during a power failure. A more recent addition to the stair chairlift marketplace is the recent availability of the hydraulic stair chairlift, although i don't really know anything about this manner of equipment. As well, many modern home stairlifts come with safety features that protect the individual occupant of the stairlift. Many of the name brands and models of stairlift have a safety belt included. Some stair chairlifts even have sensors which allow them to detect any potential obstacles in the path of the stairlift equipment. Once the sensors detect an obstacle the stair lift stops, preventing the lift equipment from being seriously damaged and to prevent any chance of injury to the lift's occupant.

Although I just finished explaining how there are two main categories of lift, there are a variety of styles or formats available for both the straight and curved stairlift. The first style of stairlift is the seated variety of lift. These machines are the kind of lift usually found in most home lift systems. This type of stair chair lift is the preferred format for your mobility issues if you can walk by yourself or with minimal assistance (from say any kind of mobility aid) but could not manage to get yourself up or down a typical flight of stairs. If the user has crutches, the seated stairs lift chair is likewise ideal. This seated stair lift style consists of a swivel chair that is complimented by custom armrests which can be lifted up to assist the user in conveniently transferring him or herself to and from the stair lift's seat. The included seat belt also provides more security for the user of the seated stair lift.

Another kind of stair lift is the standing variety of stair lift. This machine is designed for people who can walk or stand with the aid of a walking stick or similar aid, but find it very difficult to move up or down the stairs without assistance. If an individual's legs have difficulty bending or they are in a cast, then the standing stair lift might be the ideal alternative. Likewise, the standing stairlift is also perfectly suited for narrower staircases. The provided guardrails also provide an added level of safety for the user.

A final type of stair-lift is the perching stair chairlift. It is similar in design to the standing stair lift. The only major difference is that the perching stairlift has a small seated area where the user can lean against while the lift is moving up or down the staircase. The perching lift is the preferred type of straight or curved stair lift for someone who needs to support their back but does not need to be entirely seated. Likewise, the perching style stair lift is ideal for staircases that are narrower in their design. Guard rails offer an added level of security.

An alternative form of lift is the wheelchair lift; it is a type of stair lift designed to transport people confined to a wheelchair up and down a staircase. There is no need to leave the wheelchair. The individual only needs to roll onto the stair lift platform and use the controls to move the stair lift up or down the stairs. It is worth keeping in mind however that a wheelchair lift is not a space saver and usually requires a wider staircase. The wheelchair platform is fold able, however.

Another point I should make here is that if you are able and willing to spend some more on the installation of a stair lift, then you might want to consider such touches as having the seat cover material customized to match the overall decor of the home in which it is to be installed.


Reclining electric lift chairs: An enabling mobility aid suitable for any home.

A while back, I was helping to look after an elderly gentleman in his own home as a community support worker and one of the enabling mobility devices that he had in his home to help aid him on a daily basis was a motorized or electric lift chair recliner. When out of curiosity I started looking into what kinds of electric lift chairs were out there, I have to admit that I was a little amazed at the diversity of chairs that are to be found on the market today. The important thing to remember is that often when our bodies start to show serious signs of aging, some tasks become more difficult. One task that can become very titanic is standing and sitting. lesser chairs, like recliners, are often surprisingly onerous to raise out of for a senior, especially if an individual has been sitting for an extended period of time. This is why many folks use lift chairs. A lift chair is a recliner, but it is also much more. In the base of the chair, an electric motor helps to control the backrest and footrest. This motor also raises the chair slowly through the air. Such mobility aids are also commonly known as motorized lift chairs and even handicap or handicapped lift chairs, however that last term is somewhat pejorative in nature.

From my own experiences in the workplace dealing with some of my clients, the ones that have their own lift chairs in their own homes have made it clear to me just how much of a difference owning such a mobility aid has made in their lives; the fact that they can relax in comfort in their own homes and not feel any stress or sense of urgency in regards to needing to have someone come to their assistance any time that they need to vacate their recliners for such reasons as that of needing to go to the bathroom. The feelings of inconvenience, frustration, and even alarm are not uncommon in situations where one may need to transport them self to the bathroom facilities on short notice and therefore require the assistance of others to leave their own chair hastily. the home lift chair recliner solves this dilemma quite effectively for many individuals with restricted mobility.

So how do they work? When the person sitting in the lift chair is ready to stand, they activate a switch on the lift chair. As the liftchair is raised, the occupant remains seated within it. When the liftchair has completely risen, it is possible to exit the chair in a near standing position. When later it is time to now sit down, simply lean against the seat and push the button marked down, and the lift chair will lower the user into a comfortable sitting position once again. The chair does not raise completely vertically, but instead at an angle, so that when it is actually fully risen it is possible to stay safely in the seat with no fear of falling out. The chair also moves very slowly and steadily, therefore there are no unsteady movements.

It is important for the sake of user comfort that a home lift chair is suited to its intended user. Actually, you will find that the issue of comfort comes back full circle to the issue of safety; It is highly important to fit the lift chair to the person who will be using it, as failing to do this can present a very big safety concern. The persons height and their weight are very important, because each lift chair is designed for a certain body size. However, there are chairs available that will comfortably fit virtually any individuals figure or frame. For more information about how to understand lift chair measurements, so you purchase a lift chair that will be safe, you can find the information at any local lift chair retailer or home care outlet or online at any of the large number of mobility aides websites that are out there. A quick search for chair lifts on either Yahoo or Google will bring up a number of these sites.

It is important to know that most modern liftchairs have a number of safety features built in as a part of their design. Good quality lift chairs always use a constant pressure switch to control the movements of the chair. This switch ensures that the chair will only move while the button is being pushed. This way if the up button is accidentally pushed or the hand held control is dropped, the chair will not move, greatly increasing safety and most importantly preventing falls. A lift chair is controlled electronically and also plugs directly into the wall. Many models also offer a battery backup, which is used if there should for whatever reason be no power to the chair. Conveniently a nine-volt battery is most often used as the backup, so it can be replaced inexpensively when it is time to do so. If the backup is used, it should be replaced afterward, but otherwise the nine-volt battery should be replaced once a year. Many people choose to replace them when they change their fire alarm batteries. The prime service that a lift chair provides is of course that of making sitting and standing both easier and safer. However, lift chairs can again be a very comfortable place to sit, sleep, or watch television. Similarly to a recliner, the backrest reclines also the footrest extends, but unlike most recliners, these components are controlled electronically, making the lift chair much easier to use; Finding that comfortable position can be done quickly with just the push of a button.

Subsequently, no matter the chair, finding a comfortable sitting position is much easier in a lift chair, the degree to which the lift chair reclines will vary by model. Generally there are three categories that are used to describe lift chairs. These three categories describe how far back the lift chair can recline. The first type of lift chair is the two position lift chair. These chairs are capable of reclining about 45 degrees, so while not superior for sleeping, they are conducive to watching television or reading a book. A three position lift chair is perhaps the most common. The backrest reclines nearly horizontally, the result being that it is a chair very well suited to reading, watching some television or even sleeping. The third commonly available design of chair is called an infinite position lift chair. This model of chair reclines as far if not slightly farther than a 3 position lift chair, however the footrest is capable of moving independently. In other types of lift chairs, the footrest moves in conjunction with the backrest, but infinite position lift chairs allow these two components to be adjusted separately. This makes them much more customizable. Speaking of customization, I believe that it is also possible to order a lift chair from a number of different colors and cover material patterns as well, if necessary, it may be possible to order a limited variety of replacement lift chair parts if the need for such items should ever arise.

See, I told you that I was slightly amazed at what there was to learn about this subject of home lift chairs!


Lift chairs, stair lift chairs, motorized wheel chairs, mobility scooters and more - all there to offer increased mobility and access to the disabled.

It recently occurred to me that I have been working in community health care for almost ten years now as a Resident Care Attendant. wow, where has the time gone, eh? I have to admit that my work has really increased my awareness of the issues related to and involving access and mobility for elderly individuals and for those individuals who are physically disabled. Before entering the health care field, I knew that there were many people who were - due to their various personal circumstances - say, confined to a wheelchair, but I did not have much appreciation for the varying degrees of limited, restricted access or disability that people experience and how each individual has to deal with them.

Now, with some years of exposure and experience behind me I have to admit that I can really appreciate these differences in the individual situation. Recently, i have had reason to think over what I have actually learned about the issues of mobility and access and have decide to in a sense codify or unify this knowledge by putting together this site. At one time I knew what wheelchair was but could not adequately describe to you the difference between a wheelchair and a power chair or what a 'power chair' even was; I could not have told you the difference between a wheelchair and a lift chair or a stair lift ( effectively a chair lift for stairs ) and a mechanical lift. And if you asked me the difference between a scooter and a mechanical wheelchair, I would have been challenged to tell you. Well, here is where I hope to present some helpful information on the differences. I figured that one of the best ways to present this information would be to break it up by category, giving each category of mobility aid or device its own area of focus. This way I can give such things as lift chairs, stair lift chairs, mechanical or motorized wheelchairs and scooters appropriate coverage. So with this site I will be able to elaborate on what I have seen with my own eyes; I will be able to reflect on how I have seen various clients go out on the town and far afield in their electric or motorized wheel chairs and be able to attend functions such as Weddings and other social gatherings and feel more a part of their local community because they were not so greatly affected by factors like having to find someone able to physically help move them around or to even help get them to the location of an event: with their power chair, they often are able to transport them self to a location unaided. With the standard home lift chair recliner, I can reflect on how I have seen clients be able to relax at home in their own living rooms and not feel stressed because they now have the capability of getting out of their own recliner without the need for any assistance; without such an accessible chair, they were facing the regular and often urgent concern of needing help to get out of their chair for any time that they needed to use their bathroom. Any discussion on here regarding the variety of stair lift chairs out there would certainly include my observations of how the installation of such devices in the home of someone I have known has meant a huge difference in her ability to access all points of her multi-storied home, something that she was no longer able to do before due to a slow or gradual decrease in her personal mobility. Finally, I will want to include my experiences working with a t least one client who, due to severe decreases in her personal mobility resulting from advanced stage Cerebral Palsy, had until recently found herself much more dependent or reliant on others to get around in the community than she had ever been before - at least that is until she was able to acquire a medical mobility scooter and once again decide for herself how and when she was going to go out and about. These examples and more all come to mind. I will also try to include some mention of the different manufacturers of these vehicles and devices so that references to terms such as Golden lift chairs or Pride lift chairs will have some more relevancy to the reader.

Today, so many life-enhancing mobility aids are available that can greatly improve or enhance the accessibility and mobility of mobility challenged or disabled individuals in the community and I hope that with this site I can reflect this reality. The levels of increased accessibility for the individual and basically an individual's freedom to pretty much just get around today are so much further advanced in the last few decades, that what were once thought of as just 'pipe dreams' for so many of the disabled, have for the most part become a reality for so many people now in similar situations...