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A wheelchair is indispensable for anyone with limited mobility and other disabilities. It can help someone to regain their independence and freedom and allow them to live a more rewarding life.
Choosing the right wheelchair accessories for a user’s particular needs can make all the difference. They can provide a number of benefits, from making it more comfortable to increasing safety. In this article we will explore some of the best accessories currently on the market for both manual and powered wheelchairs.
Fleece-Lined Wheelchair Cozy Cover
People who suffer with reduced mobility are likely to feel the cold more than others due to poor circulation. It is for this reason it is important for wheelchair users to stay warm when they’re out and about.
A fleece-lined wheelchair cozy cover can be a great way to stay comfortable and snug on those cold winter days.
The wheelchair cozy cover from BundleBean has a fleece lined inner layer that will keep you nice and warm during the colder months. It also has a waterproof outer-shell that will keep you dry from the elements. There are no fiddly fixings so you don’t even need to get out of your wheelchair to pop it on or take it off.
In colder weather avoid wearing tight clothing as this may restrict blood circulation.
One of the drawbacks of a wheelchair is the lack of storage space. If you’re carrying every day essentials such as a wallet, reading glasses, medication, smartphone it can often be a struggle knowing where to store your valuables when using a wheelchair.
A wheelchair bag can be a useful accessory allowing the user to store their personal items securely and allowing them to take everything with them that they require.
There are two main types of wheelchair bags, pannier bags and backpacks.
A pannier bag attaches to the armrest of a wheelchair or scooter and allows for easy-access to items without having to get out of a wheelchair.
The following pannier bag has roomy pockets in the front and back with zippered compartments to store all your essentials. It also has credit card compartments to store your cards securely. The pannier bag also has a separate cup and smartphone holder so they’re always easily accessible.
While a pannier bag attaches to the armrest, a backpack on the other hand attaches to the push handles on the back of a wheelchair.
We would recommend choosing a waterproof backpack that will keep your belongings nice and dry in all weathers like the one manufactured by Vive.
The Vive is a waterproof and sturdy but lightweight bag and has a large inner pocket which is ideal to store bulkier items such as medication, a change of clothes, a wallet, books etc. It also has two outer easy accessible pockets where you can store everyday items such as reading glasses, drinks and a smartphone. It has adjustable straps which attach easily to any standard wheelchair and it has a padded shoulder strap which allows for easy transportation when the bag is removed from the wheelchair.
Pressure Relief Cushion
Sitting for extended periods in one position in a wheelchair can be uncomfortable and it can cause painful pressure sores to develop.
The use of a pressure relief cushion can help the user to remain more comfortable and it can help to keep pressure sores and ulcers at bay as it helps to distribute the user’s weight. It can also help to cushion the user’s back and hips and it can absorb any bumps resulting in a smoother ride.
The well-made pressure relief cushion from Drive Medical contains an inner gel casing which provides optimal pressure redistribution and it provides excellent comfort and support. The cover for the cushion is made from waterproof vinyl for easy cleaning and durability.
An alternative to a pressure relief cushion is a T-shaped pillow. A T-shaped pillow is designed to fit snugly in the wheelchair. It helps to reduce the pressure and discomfort on the body and it makes a wheelchair much more comfortable for the user.
The T-shaped pillow from Active Care is just like one large really comfortable pillow. Not only does the pillow cover the wheelchair’s seat, it also covers the back, the sides and the armrests. It has a polyester fiberfill and a polyester/cotton surface and it can be cold washed when needed.
Hands-Free Wheelchair Flashlight
If you regularly use your wheelchair in dimly lit areas, you may want to consider attaching a flashlight to your wheelchair. It can improve visibility and it can help to keep you safe from any potential hazards and obstacles that you may not otherwise have spotted.
The flashlight from Life Mounts is a powerful 300 lumen light that operates on a single AA battery. It has a universal mount which means it attaches to most wheelchairs, walkers and rollators for hands-free use. It has 3 modes including, high, low and a safety strobe that can be seen for over 1000 feet.
Wheelchair Carry Case
If you need to store your folding wheelchair at home, in the car, or you need to transport it while on vacation, a cover/carry case can protect your valuable wheelchair when not in use from scrapes and knocks helping to prolong its life.
The wheelchair cover from Vive allows you to easily store a compact wheelchair when not in use. It is constructed from lightweight, waterproof material and has a full zipper closure. It is TSA approved so it’s perfect for transporting your wheelchair when flying. It has padded carry straps allowing you to comfortably carry the bag. When the carry case is not in use it folds down for compact storage.
Wheelchair Waterproof Poncho
Being caught in a downpour and having to sit in a wet chair with damp clothing is certainly never a comfortable or pleasant experience for any wheelchair user.
A waterproof poncho is a useful piece of clothing that protects a wheelchair user from the rain and wind allowing them to stay dry and warm when they’re out and about. Taking a waterproof poncho with you when you go out means you will never need to worry about getting caught in increment weather ever again.
The waterproof poncho from ComfortFinds has been designed especially for wheelchair users. It has a waterproof outer-shell that will keep you dry and it also has a warm lining that will keep you warm even on the coldest of days. It is universal one-size fits all so it should be suitable for most users. It has a zip-up hood and it has a front zipper which means you can easily slip in and out of it effortlessly. It has a wider bottom cover to keep your feet nice and dry and to prevent the poncho from getting tangled in your wheelchair wheels it has shorter back design.
Wheelchair Cup Holder
Trying to manoeuvre a wheelchair while holding or balancing a drink can be tricky. It can also be particularly dangerous if you’re carrying a hot beverage which could easily spill all over you.
A cup holder is a useful accessory for any wheelchair user, it securely holds your beverage in place so you don’t need to balance it allowing you to have both hands free. Whether you want to take a hot beverage with you to keep you warm or whether you need to take a drink to take your medication, you never need to worry ever again.
The well-designed cup holder from NOVA is recommend. It attaches to most wheelchairs, walkers, rollators and transport chairs. Installing one is quick and easy, all you need is a Philips screwdriver as demonstrated in the below video. The cup holder is adjustable so it can hold different sized cups and bottles and when not in use it conveniently folds down.
Oxygen Cylinder Wheelchair Bag
If you carry oxygen tanks with you, and you require the use of larger sized oxygen cylinders, you may find that they may not fit in a regular sized wheelchair bag.
You can instead use an oxygen cylinder wheelchair bag to carry your tanks safely. The following oxygen cylinder bag from AdirMed has been designed to fit larger sized oxygen tanks (size D and E) as well as smaller tanks. It is made from long-lasting water-resistant nylon fabric and it has adjustable straps that loop over a wheelchair’s headrest.
Wheelchair Seat Belt
Manoeuvring a wheelchair over uneven surfaces or negotiating steep slopes can cause a wheelchair to become unstable which can result in the user jolting forward or even falling out.
A safety device which can prevent such incidents from occurring is a wheelchair seat belt. The device fastens around the user’s waist, it helps to restrain the user from slipping forward or failing out of the wheelchair.
Walking Stick/Cane Holder
If you’re a wheelchair user and you also use a walking stick, you will know that trying to manoeuvre your wheelchair while trying to hold or balance a walking stick can be a real challenge.
A walking stick holder is a simple device that attaches to the wheelchair’s frame and accommodates a walking stick allowing it to be readily available when required.
Armrest Wheelchair Covers
Sitting for extended periods of time in a wheelchair can be uncomfortable. A good way to maximize your comfort is to invest in some comfortable armrest covers like the ones from Nova Medical Products.
These sheepskin fleece armrests from NOVA Medical are extremely soft and comfortable and they are a great way to rest your weary arms and they can also protect against soreness and help prevent pressure sores. They are extremely easy to put and take off using the Velcro fasteners and they have a universal fitting so it should be suitable for all types of wheelchairs.
Roll-Out Rubber Runner Mat
Manoeuvring a wheelchair over uneven surfaces such as gravel driveways or lawns can prove an issue.
If you want to use your wheelchair out in the garden or other exterior areas, you may want to consider laying down a rubber runner mat.
A runner mat is a relatively inexpensive way to help cover uneven areas such as gravel, soil and grass surfaces allowing you to create a smooth surface for easier and safer wheelchair access. They are hard-wearing and are easy to clean and they can be rolled up when not in use and stored away.
If you regularly use your wheelchair at home, an accessory that you may find useful is a lap tray.
A lap tray attaches the arm of a wheelchair and provides a stable surface for the user to perform common activities such as eating, reading, writing and other such activities from the comfort of their chair without having to balance things on their laps.
The following tray from DMI has hook and loop straps which easily secure to the wheelchair’s armrests and it has a universal design which means it should fit most standard wheelchairs. The tray is contoured with a semi-circle cut-out which provides extra space for the user. The tray has a raised strip to help prevent items from rolling off.
Hand Grip Extensions
Pushing someone in a wheelchair can often be uncomfortable and it can put an unnecessary strain on the carers back which can result in potential injuries. This is especially true if the handles are too low on the wheelchair or the person pushing the wheelchair is tall.
A valuable aid that can safeguard against such injuries are hand grip extensions. These devices attach to the existing hand grips on a wheelchair and they help to raise the height of the push handles. By helping to raise the height, it reduces the need for the carer to lean over to push the user.
Rear View Mirror
An important safety device for wheelchair users is a rear view mirror. It can help a wheelchair user to see what’s happening behind them and it can assist with making decisions such as whether it is safe to change direction or make a turn.
A rear view mirror can prove extremely useful for anyone who struggles to look behind, as well as anyone manoeuvring in tight locations such as sidewalks or in busy places such as malls, office buildings or nursing homes.
The rear view mirror from 21st Century Scientific can be installed on all types of powered or manual wheelchairs. The mirror can be attached easily to the wheelchair’s handles using its simple clamping mechanism and it be quickly adjusted for better viewing angles. If you’re manoeuvring your wheelchair in a tight area, the mirror can also be folded down to prevent any potential damage.
Curbs, steps and other such obstacles are a worst nightmare for a wheelchair user. When you’re out and about, you will no doubt unfortunately encounter lots of places that are not wheelchair friendly.
It can be extremely frustrating having to struggle to get over these obstacles, in some occasions you may even be forced to alter your journey altogether if you’re unable to traverse them.
Fortunately for the wheelchair user, there are a number of portable ramps that are available that can help in these situations.
If you’re looking for a lightweight ramp maybe to use at home, a rubber slip-resistant ramp for wheelchairs like the one from Silver Spring is good option. It is constructed from durable rubber and supports weight up to 600 lbs and it has non-slip textured surface which is suitable for all weather conditions.
If on the other hand you’re looking for a ramp to get a heavier powered wheelchair in and out of your car, you will probably want to opt for a multi-fold reach ramp like the one from Prairie View Industries.
Operating a manual wheelchair for extended periods can have an adverse impact on your hands. You may suffer with pain in your fingers and your hands may even develop callus or blisters due to repeated friction with the wheelchair wheels.
The use of wheelchair gloves are great way to protect your hands while operating a self-propelled wheelchair and they can make your journey much more comfortable.
The following wheelchair gloves from Rebo have an open finger design which allows for greater dexterity. The gloves are constructed from high quality 4 way stretch material and they have a wrist closure strap for a snug fit which means they won’t slip off. They have shock absorbing and reinforced design which makes them extremely comfortable. The palm is also made from textured leather which helps with gripping.
For lower back pain sufferers, a coccyx cushion is an ideal cushion to use. This type of wedge cushion has a cut-out section for the coccyx. It helps to relieve the pressure on the lower back and it can promote a better seating position by helping to tilt the pelvic forward to align the use’s spine.
The following coccyx cushion is constructed from memory foam which moulds to your individual shape and helps to alleviate pressure on your lower back. It has a breathable mesh cover to help with air circulation and to prevent the cushion from getting too hot. In order to prevent the cushion from slipping off and to help keep it in place it has a non-slip rubber base.