The best wheelchair for the elderly

The best wheelchair for elderly

Regarding mobility devices that facilitate easy and secure transportation, using a wheelchair for the elderly is among the best options.

As many seniors experience a decline in physical strength, they may rely on a wheelchair for mobility issues. Among the projected 3.3 million wheelchair users in the US (or 11.6%), an estimated 1,825 million are 65 or older.

Have a family member who uses a wheelchair? If so, you know how difficult it can be to settle on just the right chair.

This article offers helpful advice for easing that procedure.

Deciding the need for a wheelchair

Talking to a doctor or a physical or occupational therapist can help determine if an older person needs a wheelchair.

If a wheelchair is a solution, they will suggest one and explain the different kinds. In addition to height and weight, muscular tone and skin elasticity will be considered. Future requirements will also be taken into account.

You may also get a list of wheelchair service providers who work with your insurance carrier by calling the number on the back of your insurance card.

The next step is for you to research several best wheelchairs manufacturers to choose one whose wares suit your requirements.

A Guide to the Best Wheelchair for elderly

Asian senior or elderly old lady woman patient on electric wheelchair

There is no silver bullet for wheelchairs for the elderly, as the needs of each older adult vary significantly according to their condition.

That is why, while deciding on the ideal wheelchair for an older person, it’s essential to consider the physical capabilities, lifestyle, and individual preferences of your loved one, including other factors such as,

  1. User’s Strength & Disability

Consider physical strength as one of the critical measures when shopping for a new wheelchair.

Models with power-assisted wheels, or even an electric one, are worth looking into if the elder one lacks the strength to move on their weight or has limited mobility. Even if they cost more, they are a worthwhile investment in health and quality of life.

  1. User’s Weight & Height

Wheelchairs for the elderly should be selected with their weight in mind. The wheelchair needs to be sturdy and easy to handle. In addition, it should be manageable for them to carry on their own.

Height must be considered in addition to weight capacity.

  1. Durability

The wheelchair must be durable and long-lasting to be used daily. Consider how long they need the chair and then select a model accordingly. Some chairs survive decades, while others are better for short-term use.

  1. Safety

If you or someone you care about uses a wheelchair, you know how important it is to prioritize safety.

The wheelchair must contain safety features like brakes and movable footrests to keep the user from tumbling out of it. That way, they won’t fall over on rough terrain or if someone unintentionally treads on them.

  1. Comfort

Those with restricted mobility, in particular, will benefit from a wheelchair that is both comfortable and supportive. Think about how many hours a day your senior or loved one will be seated in the wheelchair and how it could affect their comfort level.

Adjustable armrests, a cushioned seat and back, elevating leg rests, and a height-adjustable seat is all desirable features that help prevent pressure sores, edema, and other health issues.

  1. Portability

A portable, lightweight wheelchair is best for the older adult who will be doing a lot of moving about. Depending on its features and the number of wheelchair accessories you choose, a chair’s weight can range from 19 to more than 65 pounds.

A chair that folds up small enough to fit in a car trunk is handy to have on hand. This might be an excellent solution for those with restricted storage space at home.

  1. Mobility

Choose a wheelchair that is simple to steer, especially if older adults have to turn corners. Think about options like a small turning radius and front wheels that can rotate.

  1. Material of Wheels

Wheelchairs often include rubber, semi-pneumatic, or pop-off wheels, which affect how they roll on various surfaces. While some wheels don’t require upkeep, others must be replaced when worn out.

  1. Cost

The price of a wheelchair might vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. A wheelchair is expensive, so you should consider the cost before deciding.

Types of wheelchairs for seniors

Wheelchairs fall into one of two categories based on their propelling system, and there are a few major wheelchair solutions for older citizens. Each offers distinct advantages that can facilitate your mobility improvement.

There are several different varieties of manual wheelchairs, ranging from ultra-lightweight to heavy-duty.

Lightweight Wheelchairs

Seniors who only require a wheelchair occasionally for brief periods may find that a lightweight wheelchair model is the best option as one can freely move them because of their compact size. Compared to standard wheelchairs, these are made of lighter materials and have a thinner frames.

Lightweight wheelchairs may be neatly folded up and stowed away in confined spaces, such as closets or trunks. Larger wheels with outside “push rims” help propel and steer self-propelled wheelchairs.

Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair

This ultra-lightweight wheelchair can weigh as little as 10–15 lbs, making it ideal for wheelchair users or the elderly with less frequent travel needs. Aluminum, titanium, and carbon steel frame fiber are just some of the ultra-light materials used to construct frames of wheelchairs.

In addition, they include several ergonomic design features for convenience, making them a good option for wheelchairs for the elderly.

Heavy individuals should refrain from using them because they aren’t as strong as alternatives.

Heavy-Duty Manual Wheelchairs

A bariatric wheelchair, a heavy-duty wheelchair, or an extra-wide wheelchair is made to fit very heavy people. Most manual heavy-duty wheelchairs can support up to 500 pounds of weight. Their higher weight capacity makes them bulkier and more resilient than other wheelchairs.

These manual wheelchairs also include several features, such as wider seat widths and seat heights that make them more convenient to operate and other characteristics that guarantee they can withstand additional stress.

Electric Wheelchairs

Electric wheelchairs, often known as powered wheelchairs, are an excellent option for elderly people with trouble moving their arms and upper body. They employ a joystick that is within arm’s reach for operation.

There are also ultra-light, lightweight, and heavy-duty varieties of electric motorized wheelchairs.

Because of the battery and motors, powered wheelchairs are often heavier and bigger than their manual counterparts and must be moved in a car. But one of the best things about these electric wheelchairs is that they can move on any surface, even slopes and rough terrain.

In addition, many different types of other specialized wheelchairs are available.

  • Transport chair

Some people with disabilities, either mental or physical, may not be able to use a regular wheelchair and need a transport wheelchair instead. Then they can get themselves a lightweight, readily transportable wheelchair.

Transport wheelchairs have small front and rear wheels instead of large back and small front wheels, as in conventional wheelchairs.

Those unable to stand or walk without assistance due to illness, accidents, arthritis, etc., might benefit from a walker or rollator. Rollators are a type of wheelchair that includes four little wheels for mobility.

Seniors who use wheelchairs as their primary way to get around might also find it helpful to have a walker or rollator as a backup.

How do you choose between an electric and a manual wheelchair?

The mobility of the senior user is a significant factor in deciding whether to use a manual or electric wheelchair.

The person will likely use a self-propelled manual wheelchair if they can move their arms and trunk well and have good balance. If they have mobility issues and need to travel frequently, a motorized wheelchair is the best option, with all the features required to ease the movement.

Our Best Pick of Wheelchairs for seniors

Our picks with wheelchairs on the market are foldable yet sturdy options, such as a lightweight transport chair like the EWheels EW M45 Folding Power Wheelchair 2, which would be ideal for frequent travel. At the same time, someone with limited upper body strength could benefit more from the technological advances of an electric wheelchair like the Hover Move Lite Folding Power Chair.

Another best wheelchair can be a Featherweight wheelchair, which is easy to handle and includes flip-back, desk-length arms, and elevating leg rests and supports for further comfort. The 18-inch black seat is ideal for customers who want additional support.

What People say

Jane Harmon, an occupational therapist by profession, shares her knowledge on a forum, saying that usually, people don’t consider talking with the physical or occupational therapist before buying a new wheelchair and end up with salesperson recommendations. One may trust their PT or OT, who will assess their elder one’s needs and choose the best wheelchair for them, either a manual or powered wheelchair.

In this video, Joseph gives guidance on the best wheelchair features to consider when purchasing a wheelchair for an older person. Joseph also discussed the wheelchair’s ergonomic design, which might affect the wheelchair’s level of comfort.

Sharon, the son of a father who used a wheelchair, shared that while buying the wheelchair for his father, he thought about what he, as a caregiver, would find most useful in a chair and the senior who would be using it.

This video is a go-to guide by Gem Hubbard for choosing a wheelchair, either an electric wheelchair or a manual one. She says in the video that you should take accurate measurements of the backrests, arms, and leg rests and gathers as much information as possible about what wheelchair features would be best for your senior loved one.

Archie, a doctor by profession, stated that senior citizens should not have to exert themselves if they have limited mobility. “If pushing is too difficult and they desire independence, they should try a joystick-operated power wheelchair,” she said. Electric wheelchairs are available in several styles and sizes.


There are a few things to remember when buying a wheelchair for the elderly. First, make sure the wheelchair is comfy and has all the functions they require. Second, make sure you buy a well-known brand with good customer service. This will make sure that the medical equipment you buy will last. Lastly, check whether insurance will cover the cost of the chair.

Adjustable wheelchairs can help people in wheelchairs, especially older people, keep their independence and even move around more.

Before you go

There are many wheelchair options available for elderly people. Once you have decided which type of wheelchair you will be buying, take a look at our best wheelchairs available for the elderly, available in a variety of sizes and styles to meet the demands of our customers.