We never used a regular wheelchair except for in the airport. What my husband used before getting his power wheelchair was a fold down electric scooter. The brand was Luggie Elite, I believe. Inside the home, for safety purposes, he used a cane, then two walking sticks, then a walker, and now a PWC. The best thing you both can do is to try to make sure your husband doesn't fall. Falls can hasten progression of ALS.
I'm so sorry about your husband's recent diagnosis. I remember those days of stress and uncertainty. Those days still exist, but we find a way to adapt faster now.
If portability is key and he doesn't mind being pushed or is able to self-propel, you can get a manual chair that folds for now, and stows in the back seat or hatch. Look at sites like SpinLife under "transport and basic wheelchairs." Get the bigger back wheels, not the ones where all the wheels are little.
My husband purchased a Drive brand transfer chair and also purchased a Drive rollator. Relatively inexpensive. My neighborhood had gotten a Pride Go Go scooter for his wife, unfortunately she passed away. He wanted me to have it. I currently do not have to use any assistance devices but I'm glad to have them for any transition before a PWC.
we used a manual chair for outings while Chris could still do standing transfers. we were able to get one from a loan closet. it wasn't good for long periods of sitting, but I could manage it easily and Chris was not a big heavy man to start with.
I have a power wheelchair called the Go Chair by Pride. It breaks down into four pieces for quick disassembly / reassembly for travel. The heaviest individual piece is about 38 pounds. (Or is it 32?) If you’re like my sister, you will be a little winded after loading all four pieces in the car, so take five and then you’ll be fine.
It turns on a dime, something like a 27” turning radius. I have no issue getting through doors or turning around in the bathroom.
The cost was right up to the brink of what Medicare would cover. I really love it.
It’s worth looking it up on YouTube, including looking up how to disassemble / reassemble.
I have had a very positive experience with a chair called "Literider Envy" made by Golden Technologies. It also breaks down to four pieces for portability and my CALS says it is as easy to disassemble/reassemble the Literider as it is to stow and unload the folding portable wheelchair. It has great handling and enough power (about 3.5 mph) for me to go down to town (1/2 mile) to the post office or drug store. I used it outdoors until I no longer felt safe with the rollater indoors and started using it full-time in the house and it is much more maneuverable than the folding WC. My regional ALS Association loaned it to me and if there is a chapter in your area it would be a good place to make contact.
I have an ultra light transport chair and also a very light walker. I had another heavy duty wheelchair but I donated it. I found that putting a comfortable cushion in the transport chair made it comfortable.
Yes we still put the ROHO on our manual chair, but they don't have the core support for when that stage is needed - but to get to doctors, and short outing etc it worked for us, again it was loaned so that a no-brainer for our situation.
GX, you are correct, he will need a PWC in, likely, a year or two, if not sooner, so best to wait for that in terms of Medicare reimbursement. The DME benefit will not cover a "change" from a manual chair or scooter to a power chair. So almost every PALS would be wise to pay for any manual chairs or scooters themselves and save the big-ticket PWC for Medicare. Even if you have insurance other than Medicare, the same procedure basically applies.