As we have meandered through the ALS forest on this hike we haven’t shied away from the difficult trails, ALS won’t let us. We simply have to forge ahead and follow the path chosen for us. So what to do when we physically can’t take one more step? When our legs and feet no longer do our bidding.
Technology is the answer to this new challenge of ours, technology in the form of a wheelchair or powerchair. If you still have functioning hands you will appreciate the independence this provides. Let’s discuss some important considerations for a powerchair.
As one of the biggest investments for an ALS patient you must consider future needs for yourself and your care team. If you receive a donated chair, which many do, then you really don’t have the opportunity to ask for options.
this is not an endorsement nor a comprehensive list
- A chair should be fitted by the OT or vendor. This consult will (should) take into account current and future needs.
- Brand- pertinent only if your OT has various vendors to offer you. Two principal brands: Permibile and Quantum. There are too many foldable travel chair brands to list here, Google is your friend in this case.
- Drive- this is indicative of the position of the wheel that actually propelled the chair. The most maneuverability is offered by center drive, drive wheel in the middle of the chair.
- Lights- only if you are active and venture out after hours, so you can see where you’re going.
- Eye Level- ability to raise the chair to standing height.
- Attendant controls- joystick on the back of chair allowing caregiver to drive.
- The last thing I will mention is the seat cushion. There are many types, over long term a seat made with inflatable (adjustable) bladders have proven to be preferred by pALS.
That should suffice for now. One important aspect about using a powerchair, you will damage your home, furniture and your family/friends, or at least their shins and toes.
Now that we are on a roll…he, he, more to come…
The Juan and Only