Forum

Wheelchair??

Hi Everyone

I have just come back from a weekend away with my family, and have come to the conclusion that I should start using a wheelchair. I use a stick and my husbands arm for support normally. We were only out on Saturday for 1/2 and hour and my legs were awful, and were giving way all of the time. After stopping to sit 4 times, we ended up going back to the Hotel. I was gutted and feel so guilty that I am spoiling things for my family :frowning: They said it made no difference to them etc, but it is still hard.

How do I go about getting a chair? Do I buy one or do I get one from Social Services? Not sure what procedure is. I have looked on Halfords site and they have some good chairs at amazing prices. They also have a lot of mobility aids for just 99p (blue badge holders, pill containers and walking sticks).

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Catherine x

It’s really important that you get a chair that is user-friendly so I advise you to NOT buy anything without trying it first.

If you get your GP or OT or physio (or anyone like that) to do you a referral to Wheelchair Services, they will either provide you with a chair for free or they will fill in a sort of prescription about what kind of chair you need, cost this and then give you a voucher for that value to use towards you buying your own chair. The amount of the voucher is limited by the local council though and this varies a lot. Some councils are incredibly stingy (only giving a few hundred pounds even to paraplegics), but mine (Hillingdon) is brilliant.

The first chair WCS gave me wasn’t suitable - I couldn’t even lift it into the car, so it was hardly helping me stay independent! It was also too bulky so I couldn’t really manage on my own in it. This was even though it was supposed to be a lightweight model! I wanted a rigid body sporty chair (much lighter and easier to manoeuvre) so I took the voucher. They gave me £1712!!! A surprise and very generous contribution from my parents meant that I was able to get a Quickie Helium and a Freewheel which has honestly made a HUGE difference - I can do so many more things now than before I got them :slight_smile:

It’s important to get a chair that is the right size too - you need to be measured by someone who knows what they are doing. If you’re only going to use it once in a blue moon, and not for a long time each time, then you could probably get away with a cheap one off the internet (that is the right size), but I don’t recommend it because once you start using it, you’ll realise just how much easier it makes loads of things (like grocery shopping or going to the shopping centre, never mind days out etc) and you’ll want a better chair…

You can get walking sticks for free from a neurophysio btw. They aren’t exactly pretty though!

Hth.

Karen x

Bite the bullet and get that wheelchair. When I got mine I could suddenly go places with my family again rather than being the one left sitting in the coffee shop. I got mine when I knew I would no longer be able to cope with airports and it was great - whizzed through to departures & jumped all the queues!

Hi Cathy, yes, I know, it hits us hard when we realize we have come to the stage where our mobility is just not safe, knackering, etc.

I hope youre not giving yourself a hard time over this. I am a big fan of wheelies...not cos Im a giver-in...but more cos I know what a difference my wheels have meant to me.

I can go shopping, docs, wherever I want, without feeling totally knackered before Ive hardly got out of the house!

To get a wheelie on the NHS, the first thing you have to do is to get your GP to refer you to Wheelchair Services. Now, they usually have quite a long waiting list…so yes, you buy a chair yourself. Manual/self propel chairs start at around £90.

But do take your time to choose the right one for you. Consider where you want to use/store it. Why not borrow onw from Shopmobility first, to see what you think feels best?

Good luck.

luv Pollx

Hya Catherine, have you considered a mobility scooter? Loads of independence and easy when out on your own. Providing you can still get off and on it, it might be better choice for you. Many a small enough to dismantle and put in boot of car. You can rent them in many towns so you can have a go before you decide.

Whatever you decide, good luck with it. It’s awful struggling to walk and such a relief when we get something that helps.

Pat xx