Why I Love My Wheelchair
By Chris Gaspar
Are you sporty? Outdoorsy? A hockey parent? An office warrior? A whiz in the kitchen?
Whatever your lifestyle and daily habits, there is a wheelchair just right for you.
Today’s wheelchairs are designed in ways most of us could not imagine 20 years ago. They have become more adaptable and lighter while offering greater durability and strength. Both standard features and custom options are available for specific mobility needs and individual passions.
With so many choices, there are bound to be favourite features for many wheelchair users. Check out what a few members of our community most appreciate about their chairs.
Permobil C300 (power chair)
“When I requested my chair, I chose the features I need: tilt, recline and leg elevation. Of them all, the tilt feature is my favourite. It reduces the stress on my rear and redistributes it across my back. This helps with avoiding pressure sores by improving blood flow. We all need good circulation through our tissues to keep them nourished and avoid any damage.
I’ve had my chair for about three years now and it’s holding up beautifully. Of course, I do yearly maintenance, and I might need to change the wheels this year. Snow and salt are hard on a chair! It’s certainly worth taking care of. Whatever happens in the future, the tilt feature will always be at the top of my list.”
Invacare Storm Series Arrow (power chair)
“I have an ultralow feature on my chair, and it’s my favourite aspect. I was very specific about the seat height. My pet peeve is not being able to wheel under regular-sized tables, like at a restaurant. I’d like to be able to eat my soup without reaching across a great divide!
This chair fits my life so well. I also feel like people see me before the chair. The lower profile helps with that. I have a custom cushion and custom backrest, so my chair fits like a glove and provides great mobility. I’m classified as a heavy user – 15 to 16 hours a day – and I also like to get out on the trails when I can. The stability I get from the lower height is great for different terrains.”
Tilite TR Series 3 (manual)
“I call this chair my steel horse. It’s a tank and puts up with all my abuse! The best part of it is the strength that titanium offers and the dual tube frame. It’s strong and super rigid while also being very light. That makes the strength to weight ratio excellent.
My family says I lack fear and commonsense! It’s true that I have broken a few chairs. Wheelchair manufacturers know me and sometimes send me models to test. It’s just how I live my life – a lot of time outdoors, tending horses, hiking, getting around with my kids. I need a tough chair that’s also easy on my shoulders. This model is exactly that.”
Permobil F5 Corpus (power chair)
“My favourite feature is the seat elevator. I press a button to reach different heights. So at a bar or restaurant, I can sit at a high-top table with my friends. Or I can reach things in my condo on all the shelves. Or I can be at the same height as someone standing.
Being raised up saves my voice – I don’t have to shout at someone in a noisy place, like at a hockey game or sports event. I have compromised lung capacity, so that’s important to me. And the seat elevator makes outside events enjoyable – like a concert at Nathan Phillips Square – as I can see over people’s heads. Overall, this feature gives me more accessibility and makes my physical challenges less front and centre.”
Start your journey toward finding the perfect wheelchair. Access the Cortree Disability Education Centre to get more resources and information to help with this process.