How to Be Independent as a Wheelchair User

how to be independent as a wheelchair user

Gaining independence as a wheelchair user will open new doors and give you a sense of freedom. There are a variety of issues that may cause you to use a wheelchair on a permanent basis. But, you can still find your independence and take control of your life. The following tips and strategies will guide you to your independence as a wheelchair user. 

Adapt Your Home and Work Space 

Your goal is to easily and comfortably get around your home without the help of others. But before you gain your independence you may need to ask your friends and family for help making the initial adjustments so you can live independently. Begin by cleaning and organizing your home so that you can easily reach items. Other adaptations may include removing thresholds, installing ramps and making adjustments in the kitchen. Your goal is to be capable of entering and leaving your home and taking care of yourself on your own. Checkout our infographic on how to make your home wheelchair accessible.

Upgrade Your Mobility 

There are advancements being made to wheelchairs and mobility devices every day. To gain your independence you will want to switch to new devices. Advancements include lightweight electric wheelchairs and helpful accessories that you would need on a daily basis. Currently there are wheelchairs that are being developed that can climb stairs and allow you to participate in a variety of sports including hunting. Using an innovative and state-of-the-art wheelchair will make your independence easier and convenient. KD Smart Chair offers two versions of their innovative lightweight power wheelchairs in Standard model and Heavy Duty

Driving and Transportation

If you have a car and you would prefer to drive, there are many options for drivers with disabilities which includes converting your vehicle to be wheelchair-accessible. There are also a variety of transportation services such as taxis and companies such as Lyft and Uber that offer wheelchair accessible vehicles. Technology is advancing and recently a small car Kenguru was made specifically for wheelchair users to drive where you don’t even have to leave your wheelchair. Check in your area if this type of vehicle is available. 

Use Wheelchair Accessibility Features

When you venture out, use the wheelchair accessible ramps, elevators, automatic door openers and other features you may find in public spaces. Most businesses, stores, companies and other public places provide wheelchair accessible bathrooms, ramps and convenient parking spaces for their customers. Take advantage of these features and speak up if you notice there is lack of features or considerations for wheelchair users. Sometimes all it takes is a request to make a change. 

Exercise for Strength

When you are independent you need to be strong enough to make transfers, lift your wheelchair and more. You rely on yourself, so make sure you stay fit and exercise regularly. Most gyms are adapting their programs and equipment to accommodate wheelchair users. In addition you can also purchase exercise DVDs that are specifically created for wheelchair users. There are also a variety of sports you can participate in such as wheelchair basketball. Checkout our infographic on stretching exercises for wheelchair users to help you stay fit and feel your best. 

Install Alert Systems

There are a variety of alert call systems that are generally used for the elderly who live alone. But these services can be useful to independent wheelchair users as well. Having one in your home is like having hidden help when you need it. There are also alert systems that have GPS and can travel with you when you are away from home. It eliminates worry and stress because you know you will always be able to call for help. Since there are so many types of alert systems available, you will want to choose the one that is best suited to you and your lifestyle. 

Plan Trips 

If you like to travel, get your passport and begin planning trips. There are travel ready wheelchairs such as the Rolstoel that meets travel restrictions and is easy to use. Plan a trip to your favorite town or travel around the world. When traveling alone you will want to alert a family member or friend that you are going out of town. You will also want to provide the airline, cruise line or other transportation services with an emergency contact person, email and phone number. We have put together a traveling guide for wheelchair users that will help you make traveling much easier and enjoyable. 

As an independent wheelchair user going to a variety of public places on your own is freedom at its best. However, strangers may see you alone and offer their assistance even though you don’t need it. If someone offers you help when you don’t really need it, politely advise them that you are fine, decline and thank them for their offer. Enjoy your independence and always seek ways to further your independence through technology and innovative wheelchairs.