Old 01-27-2018, 09:08 AM #1 (permalink)
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Default wheelchair for distance/fatigue

Did anyone acquire a wheelchair early to use for outings that would be difficult/impossible due to distance walking and fatigue? I have a weird gait (spasticity) but I still walk pretty well. But I can't do much in terms of distance. We are thinking about using a wheelchair for family outings (we have young kids) that require a lot of walking, like going to the zoo or aquarium etc.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:16 AM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

Yes. Do it. Just remember to save your insurance for the power chair. Buy anything else. A transport chair even a new one is not that expensive but you can probably find a used one. Another thought would be a scooter
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:32 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

Thanks, this was exactly our thought, to buy an inexpensive manual chair for now, and save insurance for the pwc in the future.
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:24 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

Before even buying the inexpensive manual chair, check with your local ALS loaner closet to see if they have one you can use for free.
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:28 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

I have a rollator that converts to a transport chair. Mine is an Airgo Fusion Duo, but there are other brands. It is not super comfortable as a transport chair but works for occasional rides, like at the mall. Nice thing is that I can use it as a rollator when I want to stand up. I got mine from our local ALS Society loan closet.
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:51 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

I am an advocate for using a wheelchair to conserve energy.

I think doing so has been instrumental in allowing me to do the things I have been able to do. I do not know for sure that using a wheelchair to conserve energy has played a part in my relatively slow progression, but I think that it has.

For most folks, maximizing insurance benefits when getting a wheelchair is very important. As others have written, be sure to understand the insurance implications of having them get you a wheelchair early.

Insurance companies (and Medicare) are interested in getting you only what your current need requires. If, for example, they approve a scooter today (because that is all they think you need today), that could interfere with their willingness to pay for a power wheelchair in the future. Make sure you understand what they are willing to do before you commit to getting a wheelchair through them.

I have also found that buying used wheelchairs costs me just about as much out of pocket as getting one through insurance. For example, I paid about $3,000 out of pocket for my power wheelchair procured through insurance.

I have privately bought 3 other used wheelchairs, for $500, $850, and $3800, respectively. I have had to spend a bit on each wheelchair to get them fitted for me and outfitted with the equipment that I desire (about $1,000 per used wheelchair).

My used wheelchairs all had low miles on them when I got them (unknown miles, 35 miles, and 26 miles, respectively). The one with unknown miles probably had far less than 100 miles on it, based on the motor brush wear. That means all three used wheelchairs still have a LOT of life left in them.

Getting a wheelchair early has benefits beyond conserving energy. It allows you to get used to using a wheelchair before doing home modifications and getting a wheelchair van. It also allows you to adjust the wheelchair exactly to your needs while you still have the ability to easily get in and out of the wheelchair. Many adjustments require repeatedly getting in and out of the wheelchair!

Good luck deciding what to do. Please post any specific questions to this thread. I will be glad to help out as I can.

Steve
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:27 AM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

As it s said " better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it "
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:13 AM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

We bought a small fold up travel scooter (Ours is the Luggie) to use for distances and travelling before my hubby was in his chair full time. It worked great- you can fold up and put in a car, they only weight 50lbs.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:40 PM #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

Yes, by all means! ALS takes so much from you but it shouldn't be you range for outings. Technology can make up for this. If you ever turned down to do something you might normally enjoy because it'd be too exhausting a walk, it's due time.

We got a wheelchair shortly before a big West coast trip and it wouldn't have been half the fun without it. I pushed my PALS up accessible trails and once I got a tiny bit lost off the trail and he could just get out and step over the nasty redwood root that was blocking our way. So it's also a good practice for all involved to use a wheelchair without being completely dependent.
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Old 02-26-2018, 09:50 PM #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

I’m kinda late to this thread but I’ll add this, I’d start talking to your Dr. now about getting a power wheelchair.

Early on my wife and I took the kids and grandkids to Disneyworld because we weren’t sure how long I’d be able to make the trip. I was still walking, albite slowly, and I wore out quickly so I took a wheelchair. I wore out my son-in-laws pushing me around that day; there is absolutely no way my wife would have been able to do a fraction of what they did.

Talked the VA into getting me a power wheelchair. The tech there recommended I stay out of the chair as long as possible but use it when I needed it. I don’t use it on a daily basis but take it on trips where I know I can’t keep up or I’ll need to travel more than about a mile (all I’m good for anymore). Trip to Leggo Land with the power wheelchair; life was much easier on everyone. Next trip to Disney was a breeze as was a trip to the mountains in N.C.

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Old 02-27-2018, 09:11 AM #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

Thanks for all the replies. We did end up getting an inexpensive manual wheelchair. We've used it once so far. I only weight about 100 lbs, which probably makes me easier to push, and my 9 and 7 year old fought over who gets to push me the whole time. They had no problem with it and thought it was very fun. So I think it will work out for us for now for occasional use.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:05 PM #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

I've had my PWC for nearly a year and have not used it yet. I did use a transport chair because of the sprained ankle. I've practiced with it around the house and even outside.

I'm a bit odd (like you didn't already know it) in that I no longer like to travel. My condo is like living in a resort so I rarely leave the grounds. We have a huge outdoor heated pool, indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, work out room, library, and social room. I occasionally go out for lunch but not that often. I can still drive and the places I go are easy to access.

I have one other high-end manual chair and that would be the one I would use, with a cushion, if I were to go any long distance like to State parks, etc.

I'm glad the process of the PWC is over and it's safely parked in my closet. One less thing to worry about.

Kristina, you're so young and have kids. Keep getting out and enjoying life. If your kids like your manual chair, imagine what they will think of your PWC! I've had friends ask me to drive mine. I also used it to help an elderly lady attend a Christmas party in comfort.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:08 PM #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair for distance/fatigue

We got a small portable power wheelchair. It weighs just 35 pounds and we pretty much kept it in the car so that he could enjoy outings more easily. We also found a larger power chair at an auction that we kept in the garage for jaunts around the neighborhood, all while he was still able to walk and before he needed the big, customized powerchair, which ultimately he did get. He loved the portable power chair. He could zip all around in it and we were able to take it on planes and on a cruise. It was great.
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