SMA News Forums Forums Assistive Technology When do you decide to get a new wheelchair?

  • When do you decide to get a new wheelchair?

    Posted by deann-r on June 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Recently I had a few minor repairs done on my chair. It’ll be six years old within the next month. The motors have been replaced once, other than that just routine stuff. Overall this really has been a good chair. Within the last week I noticed the slight squeak of the motors again. Now I’m debating if I should start the process for a new chair, work on getting motors replaced or do nothing and bide my time for a year or so. The wheelchair guy said that after about 7 years it can get harder to get parts. Honestly getting a new chair makes me a little nervous. I hated my last chair from day 1, but I love my current chair. I wouldn’t mind trying for some of the newer features, but this has been such a good chair and I’m not a fan of change. Plus I’d have to decide on make & model. How do you guys decide when it’s time for a new chair? How do you decide on what chair to get? I did a video a while back on choosing a chair, but I’d love your input.

    yvette-haas replied 4 years, 10 months ago 6 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    June 1, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Your body will tell when it’s the right time. It’s instinct. Just like when birds migrate from one part of the world to the other. Your wheelchair will also start showing signs that it needs replacing as well. Never go over 10 years.

  • tracy-odell

    June 1, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Hey DeAnn – Getting new wheelchairs has been a nightmare for me. It seems every chair is worse and worse. Even sitting 1 cm higher or lower can mean the difference between being able to do something or not be able to do it. As I have gotten weaker over time (I’m now 60+, SMA 2), every millimetre can throw me off balance and reduce my functionality.

    I personally push off getting a new wheelchair for as long as humanly possible. They always say this bit about getting hard to get parts, but I think that is partly just a ploy to sell more wheelchairs.

    Here in Ontario we have the “Assistive Devices Program” and so since the government helps to pay for the wheelchair – about 80% of the cost – you’re not allowed to give it away or resell it, and we’re not even allowed to keep it as a spare. So the wheelchair companies must have this huge inventory of old wheelchairs that they can harvest for parts.

    If you are happy with your current chair, my advice is to hang onto it for as long as you can.

  • halsey-blocher

    June 1, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    I like to keep mine until important parts start breaking on a regular basis. Whenever you get a new one, it takes weeks or months to make adjustments before it is comfortable no matter how much you do to replicate the comfort of a previous one. When I do get new ones, I look for things like length/width (to make sure it easily fits through doors and on vehicle lifts), suspension, and of course color options! I’m partial to the quantum brand chairs.

  • ryan-berhar

    June 3, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I would start the process two years ago lol. I’ve always been told that five years is the recommended life span of a wheelchair. The process of acquiring my current chair was actually a pretty scary ordeal, because insurance kept denying it, and my old chair was breaking down. I was literally afraid I’d be bed ridden at one point. Even though your chair is still working well, you’ll need a replacement eventually, and good luck getting one in any sort of timely manner. This isn’t a “cross that bridge when you come to it” type of issue. It’s also worth noting that even IF insurance approves it, (hell would freeze over first) it’s quite a lengthy process anyway. As for the change aspect, there will always be an adjustment period, but I essentially just got a newer version of the same chair, so it wasn’t bad at all.

  • yvette-haas

    July 3, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    Yeah… So my chair is somehow from 2001 (Yes, that 2001!) and still going strong. The other crazy part of this story is that I’ve been working on getting a new chair since 2011!!! It’s been the most ridiculous process ever, but I’m happy to say that it’s fiiiiiiiiinally about 95% tolerable. I can’t even get into the issues, but basically, I’m just going to say that I’m eternally grateful for the fact that my old chair has been amazing for 18 years, and still counting =)

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