How to Choose a Wheelchair for Elderly Seniors

With so many electric wheelchairs on the market, it can be overwhelming and it’s even hard to start on how to choose a wheelchair for elderly seniors. However, with some tips and knowledge, it’s possible.

What Is a Power Wheelchair?

A power wheelchair is a type of wheelchair that can move on its own and is best used by people who aren’t able to use a manual wheelchair or an electric scooter. A joystick is used to operate the chair and allows the chair to move right, left, backward, and forward. There are different seating options available, but these chairs usually offer a captain’s style seating for added comfort. Power wheelchairs feature a foot platform that can be flipped up when not in use. Optional leg rests can be added as well for greater comfort for the user.

Different Types of Power Wheelchairs

When considering how to choose a wheelchair for elderly seniors or disabled individuals, it is necessary to consider the needs of the individual. Everyone is different. One of the first things to consider is the weight requirement since many power wheelchairs offer different weight capacities.

Next, think about how you plan to use it. Some are more designed for the home, while others are designed for longer trips outside. Also, consider some other features. Some users will value comfort more and want something with ample cushioning. Others may benefit from a chair with elevated seating, to better reach countertops, cabinets, and shelves. The seat elevation can provide better independence to those who rely on a power wheelchair. If you are going to be traveling with your electric wheelchair, then you need to know how to transport it. The chair will need to be compatible with a lift you already have, or you need to be able to purchase a lift.

There are also different accessories that can be added to a power wheelchair. These accessories can offer storage options or USB chargers to charge smart devices on the go. Some offer cup holders. The accessories you choose can help you make sure the wheelchair is customized for the individual.

Consider the drive wheel configuration of a power wheelchair and what you may be more comfortable with. Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs can go over curbs and bumps more easily and can go around tight corners. They are a stable ride when traveling on slopes because the battery is located at the back of the chair to help balance the load.

Mid wheel drive electric wheelchairs have the best turning radius, making them great for anywhere space is limited, such as apartments. They work great indoors or outdoors on flat surfaces.

Rear-wheel drive power wheelchairs allow for better maneuverability, even at higher speeds. These types of chairs are ideal for outdoor and rough terrain.

Does Medicaid Pay for an Electric Wheelchair?

When considering how to choose a wheelchair for elderly seniors, Medicare coverage may play a big role. Depending on your state’s Medicaid eligibility requirements, Medicaid may cover electric wheelchairs. However, Medicaid will only pay for an electric wheelchair if the individual who needs it has a specific medical need that requires the chair. A doctor’s prescription is also required. Get more information on power wheelchair Medicaid coverage.

Will Medicare Cover an Electric Wheelchair?

If it is deemed medically necessary, Medicare may cover the cost of a power wheelchair if you qualify. You will need a doctor’s prescription. Plus, Medicare will only cover the cost of a power wheelchair that is needed in the home. Learn more about motorized wheelchair Medicare coverage and the required steps that need to be completed.