How do I Prepare for a Transition to Using a Wheelchair?

Jan 13, 2020

Anonymous asks, quote:

Any advice for prepping for new mobility devices (e.g. going from using crutches to a wheelchair)?

end quote.

Prepare Your Space

Measure your chair and make sure you’ll have enough space to manuever through your home. Get rid of any throw rugs (they’ll just get bound up in your wheels) and reposition/remove any endtables that might be in your way. Make a habit of keeping your floors clear of obstacles and clutter that you might run into or over. Remember that anything you might be used to just stepping over is going to just get run over by the chair.

Consider where your chair is going to live when you’re not in it. Where are you going to put it while you’re sleeping? Make sure it’s somewhere you can easily grab it without having to completely leave the bed. If you’re sitting on the couch, where would your chair be?

Prepare Your Body

Work the muscles you’re going to use in the chair. Be prepared to practice using the chair especially when you don’t feel like you need to.

Prepare Your Mind

Wheelchairs are incredibly intimate mobility devices and, with time, will start to feel less like a tool and more like part of your body. They can also be incredibly dangerous if they aren’t fitted well or if you don’t listen to and monitor your body while using it.

You are changing the way you physically move through the world. It’s going to be stressful at first. There will be moments of deep frustration. But eventually, you’re also going to realize that the chair is the start of something very new. The first time you wake up less sore than you would have. The first time you go out and aren’t constantly looking for a place to rest. The first time you lose track of just how much you’e moved today. Those times make it all worth it.