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Reasons to Switch from a Manual Wheelchair to Power Assist




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If you are in a manual wheelchair, then you have undoubtedly seen the advantages that it can offer you in your daily life over a power chair. Some of the benefits of a manually-propelled chair when compared to its joystick-controlled counterpart, are:

  • Independence
  • Exercise
  • Transportability
  • Cost

However, there can also be many drawbacks to long-term manual wheelchair use, which include:

  • Fatigue
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Lack of powered assistance on inclines and uneven terrain


Ideally, you need a manual wheelchair with power assistance that requires much less effort to push, as this would still keep the advantages of a manual chair while reducing its long-term health risks. If any of the following descriptions of manual wheelchair users applies to you, then you should consider power assist for your next wheelchair.

1. You’ve Used a Wheelchair From a Young Age

Since early in your youth, you’ve relied on various wheelchairs and other equipment to get around. A wheelchair is nothing new to you, and perhaps it is all you have known when it comes to mobility. Leading an active and independent lifestyle in your manual chair has never been an issue, but lately you’re feeling twinges of pain in your joints after a long day. Maybe you are feeling the onset of fatigue set in earlier than usual. You don’t want to use a full power wheelchair, but you also don’t want to limit your activity because of a lack of energy. You should consider power assist.

2. Your Life Circumstances Are Changing

Your routine had always enabled you to live how you would like. The people around you could help out if necessary, and things like your job, school, home, and transportation were compatible with your mobility needs. Everything was figured out, but perhaps now you’re moving to the country or going off to college. New environments and situations may not have the luxuries and conveniences to which you had grown accustomed. A manual chair may no longer be a suitable option for the distances or terrain that you will traverse each day. If so, you should consider power assist.

3. You’re Strong with Many Years of Wheelchair Use to Come

Now that you had an accident, life has changed. Although you’re learning to adjust to life in a manual chair, you still have plenty of energy and want to continue pursuing your interests. Getting from point A to point B had never seemed like exercise before, and you don’t want it to start now. Following your passions shouldn’t exhaust you and keep you from being at your best. You should consider power assist.

4. You’ve Used a Wheelchair for a Long Time

Plain and simple, the many years of propelling yourself in a manual chair have finally caught up to you. Your arms are worn out, your shoulders are overdue for surgery, or a few minutes of pushing come with the inevitable pain. Despite all of this, you still don’t want a power chair and will do anything to stay out of one. Good news – there’s another option out there that you should consider, and it’s power assist.

5. You’re New to Wheelchairs but Lacking Strength

Maybe you’ve been using a walker, a cane, or nothing at all, but you’re noticing that you’ve been progressively slowing down. Sure you can still walk around if you’re careful, but suppose fatigue causes you to fall and injure yourself? Even if you don’t, you still come to the realization that your days of walking ability are numbered. Thankfully you still have control in your arms so a power chair isn’t exactly necessary, but the idea of pushing yourself around 24/7 is just too much to handle. You need something in between the 2 extremes – you should consider power assist.

Long-Term Users of a Manual Wheelchair are Ideal Candidates for Power Assist

Power assist offers manual wheelchair users an opportunity to continue to self-propel while reducing or even eliminating the health risks of damaging their upper extremities. Maintaining an active lifestyle is key to your health, but not if it does more harm than good.



by Andy Maas