Advice for when you are about to start using a wheelchair full time.

I’m at that stage, getting round the house is proving so much more difficult, I think it’s getting time for me to use the wheelchair inside the house. Furniture has already been moved aside to make it easier to navigate, but how do you manage when you are used to doing things on two legs?

What I mean are things like moving round the kitchen - I’m used to moving frequently between fridge, sink and worktop and back, carrying things to and fro, also what about managing putting washing into the washing machine/drier, or for that matter hanging it out to dry? Or taking a mug of tea into the sitting room? Or a dozen other things.

Putting it simply - how does anyone do all those things from a wheelchair? I know I’m sort of panicking but somehow I’ve got to get my head around this. I’m used to being independent and although I obviously need help I want to do what I can for as long as I can. Has anyone got any helpful suggestions please?

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Hello Mistweave

Trial and frequent dropped things. That’s the answer. Oh and tongs. Invaluable items. Forget grabbers, mini tongs are more useful.

Plus, get used to your house being less tidy and less clean.

I had a massive relapse in 2012. I’ve used a wheelchair indoors ever since. For several years I could walk a bit (with aids), but since a fall 18 months ago, not at all.

So it depends very much whether you live alone or with a partner. And how handy that partner might be. Or if you have any paid for care.

I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is retired. So he does washing, hanging out & ironing. He also cooks and does floor cleaning (hoovering & mopping). I am capable of bathroom cleaning and some kitchen stuff. A bit of food prep (but that’s partly because I’m food obsessed) and a lot of cooking tuition (from the wheelchair).

I am very fortunate in that my husband retired the year after my legs announced they were doing the same. Also that he’s proved a willing and able cook. He’s always done clearing and washing up.

Practical things to consider: what are your floors made of? Wheelchair friendly? What about doorways? And the bathroom? We lowered a little bit of worktop/breakfast bar in the kitchen so I could a) eat breakfast (next to the coffee machine!) and b) do a bit of food preparation.

I still have trouble moving stuff about the house. And I’m sorry to say carrying tea into the living room is forever beyond me.



Hi Mistweave, it’s not easy - it hard and a lot of trial and error with lots of spills and upsets. But I like to think of it as a means to an end and eventually it becomes normal.

My house has changed with wide ‘wheelways’ to get around it. It is not what it used to be and my doorways are scuffed.

I can’t remember what the upstairs of my house looks like as my bedroom is now downstairs - I want a bungalow.

I’m as independent as I can be too, but its all so hard a times. I wish I could offer you more advice other than to say it’s not easy.

Outside I’m a whiz in my wheelchair, but inside its more difficult. In my dreams I can dance… M xxx


Hi Sue, Thanks for the advice, that’s all very helpful and I’ll try the tongs :slight_smile:

Hi theorising, I want a bungalow as well :slight_smile: When I read “In my dreams I can dance,” it brought tears to my eyes, I know what you mean so well. Thank you

I’ve been using a wheelchair since 2005, and as the others have, it’s a case of trial & error. Every kitchen is different, so may need different ways of doing things. But one thing I do which may help is to put your crockery in a drawer under the work surface, rather than a cupboard on the wall.

Like Ssssue, I also use tongs rather than one of those litter picker ones. Have a look at the websites for mobility shops, as they have lots of products that may help. And you could ask your neuro/MS nurse/gp for a referral to an OT, so they can help you find solutions.

Have fun!

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Tongs are indeed very, very helpful. Sadly they’re still useless at carrying tea from one room to another!

I can dance in my dreams too. :sleepy:



I am where you are now too.

After my husbands death my home was unmanageable so i got onto the council list and with support from MS nurse and team was moved into sheltered accommodation ground floor flat. It become quickly too small as my wheelchair seemed to grow over night and i had no where to store all my aids.

so i was off again this time to a bungalow. now my MS team think i would be better in adapted one, but for now not sure i could face moving again.

I get support i have had a cleaner with me for 12 years, she knows me well lol. she does all my cuboard organising, my washing and changes the bed. I am desperate to use my wheelchair in doors but too scared i might run my dog over.

i have a new sitting rollator which is good. my plates i have are recycled and you can drop them easily lol and they wont break.

with my rollator i can work in my kitchen as everything i need is to hand.

although i am facing a few things which will need to change. sink height for example. Is beyond me and even with a perching stool its hard work.

my place is an advert for aids lol. i have a low trolley with my halogen and kettle on it and can if i need to reach with my wheelchair. but i use the kettle only once a day and with care manage to put water in a flask for my coffee later. i had a hatchway fitted in between the kitchen and the sitting room, which is reachable if i was in a wheelchair. at the moment with rollator i can put stuff on the hatch, and retrieve it from the sitting room without carrying it and my chair is below the hatch by the side so it is just a case of lift off hatch, and put on side table next to chair.

I am struggling with the concept of only being in a chair. Even though its agony to drag my dead left leg along with me, I feel some how i should make that effort. My right side is ok, and i dont want to weaken it yet.

I dont know i am just blah blah blahing at the moment. Its hard I’m betwixt and between the decision of using wheelchair and move to adapted or carry on and just struggle but cope the best i can.

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Hi Crazy Chick, you have been remarkable with all the changes you’ve had to cope with. The death of your husband is heartbreaking and then having to cope with different moves is so hard, and my heart goes out to you. You are very resilient and inventive with your adaptations and given lots of ideas to help others.

My dog (whom I am totally in love with) knows to keep away from my wheels, but it’s still easier outside than inside. I had an adaptation to my wheelchair to walk him so he couldn’t get caught in my wheels, but now he no longer needs it as he stays the correct distance away from my wheels now.

Sometimes it’s the little things that bring so much joy :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: or maybe I need to get a life.

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ha then we both need to get a life lol. My little girl is sat by me on the settee and every now and then kicks me lol. outside she is fine she was scooter trained very young. but when the area around me in the bungalow is tight she gets confused. thanks for the kind things you said about me, i needed that today. xxxx

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Hiya everyone, I’ve been reading this thread with great interest and completely understand the frustrations! @Ssssue Thanks for your tongs tip, I’ve nicked that idea! :grinning:

@Crazy_Chick & @Mistweave I’ve had to use an indoor powerchair for nearly 30 years now. Outside I use a manual wheelie but indoors I would not manage without my powerchair. So far I have not been able to better it’s dimensions, it has a very small ‘footprint’ which makes it very nippy about the house. I am constantly on the lookout for something better but I haven’t found anything better for me yet! I also ‘drive’ around with my footplates up - but that is frowned upon by any physio’s I’ve seen so probably best to ignore me on that one :wink:

It is my legs and I am in it all my waking hours, I can manage quite a lot of jobs from it, dusting, washing, even ironing! I can also manage to carry a drink with me. I don’t know if I can say what my powerchair is - sod it, it’s a Shoprider Vienna - I’m now on my second one which isn’t bad for the length of time I’ve been using them!

Also, I can FLY in my dreams - which isn’t bad, I couldn’t do that before! :rofl:

Lots of love to everyone
Elaine :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Forgot to say, that chair I have suggested would not really be classed as suitable for people in a chair 24/7 and as I am prone to suffering from pressure sores so I have made my own seating modification by adding a VERY good cushion. I alternate between a Gel cushion and a ‘Bony Parts’ cushion from Putnams, I find the latter excellent and very good value.
I know all this stuff should’ve been provided for me, but the wheelchair service here in Kent is diabolical so I decided to go my own way a long time ago!
Elaine x

I’m in exactly the same position so thank you everyone for your replies.

I have a tiny home and there’s no way or can be made accessible. I have no idea what to do

Are you Tingly Badger? With a slightly altered name?

If not, apologies, if I’m right, hello TB!


Wheelchair Services in West Sussex is pretty poor too. I was assessed for a ‘power’ chair (zero power) a while back. It’s like one option for manual chairs and one for powerchairs. The powerchairs are huge monsters. There’s no way such a beast would work in my house. I was given the warning that ‘you must use foot plates all the time!!’ Which makes me wonder, how the **** does one get feet onto and off the plates non-stop? I decided I didn’t want one, I can still manage the manual in the house and have a second for outside (Mr Sssue pushes!) Subsequently the wheelchair therapist decided I didn’t qualify for an electric anyway!

I go about in my manual chair without footplates all the time. I can just about lift my feet up. Except when I drag them along!! The only good thing here is that Wheelchair Services provided me with a good pressure relieving gel cushion. (And a replacement when my cat ruined the last one - he thinks it belongs to him, gel cushions & claws don’t go apparently!)

I’ve just had a look at your chair. What bothers me about many powerchairs is how you transfer in and out? I use quite long arm rests so I can transfer.

Glad to know a few people appreciated my tongs tip. I have them littered round the house. Rubbish fingers mean I drop stuff all the time.



Thank you for your long answer, very helpful. Its great you have a cleaner who does so much - I need that. I know what you mean about being afraid of running over the dog, I feel the same about my cat. :slight_smile: What a good idea about the hatch from the kitchen, I will have to look at that. I too feel I need to keep walking for as long as possible even though it’s a struggle and soooo painful, it feels like giving up if you don’t.

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I’m a ‘wheelchair user’ dependent. BBQ tongs a must, adapted kitchen mean coffee there - that was always the case - otherwise it’s brought through. I use a bottle of water in the living room - tapwater in plastic screw top bottle, keep the lid open for 10mins after filling it and , here in Manchester you wouldn’t taste the difference with water sold in shops. Washing no problem - use a winter-dyke (maiden) to dry, both inside + out. I have scraped paint off every skirting thanks to the bloody chair. I learned how to use it in the park, experimenting and building confidence doing over sleeping policemen. Use mechanical Chair outside now but always manual at home - work on upper body strength - I used two 2kg weights for stretching, wheelchair stretches (when I could) for my legs. Good luck

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Yes I am but the new forum foxed me and it was just easier to create a new account!

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Hi Crazy Chick. My friends often come over with their dog (a gorgeous little sheltie), and it’s not been a problem running him over. If he’s ever where I want to go, he’ll move out of the way.

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hi hun thats the problem though my hallway is long but not wide there is no where to get out of the way lol. xxxx