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Electric Wheelchair for House-Suggestions??

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dldugan

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illinois
I need an electric small “chair” to move around in the house. Rollator getting risky and I will be starting the process of getting an electric wheelchair, but would like something smaller to use in house.
 

Nikki J

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No recommendation but whatever you pick pay for it and save your insurance for the pwc.
 

KarenNWendyn

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Contact your ALS loaner closet to see if they have a power chair they can loan you until you get your own. It need not be a fancy one. The ALS clinic should have a care coordinator who can put you in touch with the loaner closet.

Do you have a ramp or other way to get a wheelchair into your main living area?
 

dldugan

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We have a ramp at one location and are going to have one constructed at another. Are starting the process of getting one of the larger expensive chairs funded by Medicare and Insurance, but I would like to purchase a small lightweight one. There seem to be a number of these on Amazon.
 

swalker

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I am unclear on what you are trying to accomplish. You ask for opinions on small and lightweight wheelchairs. Is this intended as an interim solution until the main wheelchair arrives? Or, are you really seeking something small and light?

If you really need small and light, be aware that they can have some pretty limited capabilities for supporting the PALS. I need a full rehab seat and have needed it since before I got my first wheelchair.

Small and lightweight power wheelchairs make serious compromises in range, support, and comfort. Be aware of the compromises you are making if you go that direction.

If a full rehab seat is not needed, there is a variety of small, compact, somewhat portable wheelchairs that seem to go for around $3,000 to $10,000.

If you are looking for an interim wheelchair, I encourage you to try to get a full up power wheelchair from a loaner closet or to buy a used one.

In either case, having a second wheelchair around is great when the primary wheelchair needs to go into the shop (sometimes months at a time for my chair).

Be aware that properly fitting a wheelchair to your PALS is critical. Until you learn how to do it, you are better off going through a local, knowledgeable, professional when you order your first one so that it has a higher likelihood of fitting.

Steve
 

Doglady

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Minnesota
In addition to a loaner pwc I also got a loaner transport chair for getting out and about at first while core strength is good without needing a handicapped vehicle. If your arm strength is ok a loaner wheelchair chair (in addition to the loaner pwc) might be a better option than the transport chair. So many decisions - so many options!!!
 

Jamesgol

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Dec 21, 2018
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Reason
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Diagnosis
12/2018
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OK
I just stopped using the rolling walker; too dangerous. My local ALS society have me Go Go scooter. It can go anywhere inside the house. It's made big difference.
 

lgelb

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I agree with Steve that even if your progression is slow, it's worth considering spending the money you would have spent on the mini-chair with no positioning support, on a used or repurposed chair that is rehab-tier, that you can customize. That can be a spare later and a bridge to the reimbursed chair now.

Once your trunk weakens, your arms lose mass, and/or your legs are subject to swelling, sitting upright will be no fun. And the width of a well-fitted rehab chair will not be much more than the mini-chair.

I know a few people here have bought a mini-chair and felt it was worth it. I'd love to hear how long they were able to use one. There could be specific use cases, like if you still have good torso control and will be doing a lot of flying in the coming months. It's undeniable that expensive power chairs are at risk in the friendly skies.

PS -- those using wheelchairs that are not collapsible might consider train travel, where you can stay in your own chair. Accessible seats/sleepers sell out, so it's worth a look now if you are aiming at spring or summer travel.
 

[email protected]

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Joined
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Messages
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PALS
Diagnosis
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US
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Iowa
We bought a lightweight chair solely for the purpose of flying, not wanting to trust the Permobil to baggage handlers after they had messed up two manual chairs and I'd heard many horror stories of damage. With the manual chairs they were able to give me a replacement or the missing part they'd lost, but I don't know what would happen with a broken Permobil. The lightweight chair worked fine in Ireland tho the electronics failed at the end of our recent Tucson trip. It's under warranty so they are sending a replacement controller. But it lacks most of the features of the Permobil and I'm not sure how long I'll be able to use it (plane trips are wearing even if nothing goes wrong). Not nearly as stable (weighing 60 instead of 250 lbs) or comfortable. Hadn't thought of using around house (I use a manual chair and walker), but it may be viable for that.

Ed
 

KarenNWendyn

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If you’re going to go this route of a lighter weight chair or scooter prior to getting your main pwc, consider what sort of hand controls it requires.

I briefly had use of a Luggie Scooter (lightweight and folding) from my loaner closet, and found it very hard on my hands. To drive it, you had to be squeezing a lever all the time, and this wore my hands out. I ended up returning the scooter in exchange for a loaner Permobil F3.

Having the loaner pwc had the additional advantage of helping me get used to pwc operation and gave me some insight as to which features I would want on the pwc I ordered through insurance.

That said, there was one member of the forum who raved about the EZ lite cruiser as a lightweight option.
 

John1

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Joined
Feb 25, 2006
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NL
If you want real mobility in the house consider a small mobility scooter like a Pride Go-Go as an interim device before a wheelchair. They have several advantages over a wheelchair including much lower cost ($1000), lightweight and easily moved to a car by a caregiver, easy to get in and out of and narrow (19"). I went from a rollator to a 3-wheel scooter in 2005 and still use it. I do have very slow progression but they would be a good device even for a moderate progressor if you have the necessary finger strength to press the levers for forward and backward. You might see if you can and borrow one from your loaner closet and try it.
 
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