You want to learn more about life in a wheelchair and get useful tips? Then you've come to the right place! As a wheelchair user, you often encounter obstacles that people who walk are not aware of. From lowered curbs, cobblestones and stairs, dependence on others, to exclusion in private or professional everyday life.
Disability is a real shock, especially for those who are suddenly and permanently dependent on a wheelchair and have to get used to their new living conditions.
I am not in a wheelchair myself, but with this blog post I would like to create more awareness for the hurdles of everyday life of wheelchair users and general accessibility. Because everyone has the right and the ability to lead an active and fulfilling life.
In this article you will learn the best tips for a barrier-free life in a wheelchair, which I came across during my research and my conversations with wheelchair users. Let's go!
Here you can find a short overview in advance:
- Choose wheelchair that fits your needs
- Charge battery and carry spare battery
- Complete wheelchair and mobility training
- Continue social life
- Build safe routines
- Do regular exercises
- Focus on your own abilities
- Install stairlift
- Use luminous or reflective elements
- Accept sad moments
- Exchange with other wheelchair users
- Plan accessibility before excursions
- Wheelchair regular maintenance
- Finding new ways to do familiar things
- Have realistic expectations
- Follow weather forecast
- Know your own body
- Use wheelchair bags and backpack
- Orienting to mobile role models
- Make wheelchair a friend
Living barrier-free: 20 tips for an easier life in a wheelchair
New to sitting in a wheelchair and suddenly to have to arrange with the aid - and to even consider it as such and not as a burden - can be a real challenge.
It is a process that requires sweat, courage, support and also time. But one thing should be clear: life is not over, it's just different in some places. Even as a wheelchair user:in you can continue to do things that make you happy and fulfill you.
Here I would like to give you some valuable tips that can make everyday life in a wheelchair much more pleasant and easier for you and other people.
1. choose wheelchair that fits your own needs
Wheelchairs come in all colors, shapes and functions. For example, there are manual wheelchairs with push rim drive or one-hand drive - and also models with electric motors. The frame of wheelchairs can be rigid, foldable or multifunctional, for example - and then there are wheelchairs for specific purposes, such as lightweight wheelchairs or sports wheelchairs.
That's why you should get together with your and your doctor, as well as the experts at the medical supply store. decide which type of wheelchair is ideal for your individual abilities and needs. A wheelchair tailored to you will make your life as a wheelchair user:in much more comfortable.
2. charge the battery and carry a spare battery with you
If you have an electric wheelchair, the battery should be Always fully charged as soon as you leave your house or apartment. Otherwise, you run the risk of being stranded. Prevent this risk simply by carrying a charged spare battery with you.
3. complete wheelchair and mobility training.
Driving a wheelchair has to be learned. You can receive appropriate mobility training either voluntary (e.g. in the medical supply store) book and complete -. in rehab this training in the use of your wheelchair is also often offered automatically.
For example, you'll learn how to use your assistive device to Overcome obstacles, power-saving on the road are, the Activate parking brake, tilt when stationary and in general not topple over. The course promotes safe and confident movement in the wheelchair and makes you fit for everyday life.
4. continue social life
In order to prevent loneliness, sadness and possible depression, it is important to maintain one's social life away from the restrictions of thanks to targeted adjustmentsIf possible, continue in the same way as before. Continue to meet with your friends. True friends support you at all times. Get creative with them and find solutions to any obstacles of everyday life in a wheelchair.
5. build safe routines
With each day in the wheelchair, you'll be able to get around more confidently. You know barrier-free paths and possible hurdlesYou know what things you can expect and what things will give you maximum pleasure, even in a wheelchair. Do these things regularly and build routines that will give you Provide security.
6. do regular exercises
To ensure that your wheelchair skills don't get rusty and you don't experience any further limitations in the long run, you should keep fit. For example, exercise regularly with the gymnastic band on the door handle and do functional upper body exercises in consultation with your health care provider.
7. focus on your own abilities
Try to keep the mental focus on your possibilities and abilities and block out the things you can no longer do or have never been able to do. This positive mindset directs the view forward and helps you optimize your capabilities and better compensate for limited or lost abilities.
8. install stair lift
In order to master stairs in your home despite being confined to a wheelchair, were Stairlifts with a small platform invented. Don't be confused by high prices and the generally widely varying costs. As a rule, for example, the Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW) Parts of the investment costs, so you get a lift already a little cheaper.
In addition, there are environmentally friendly, used brand stairliftswhich are carried out by the manufacturer or certified authorized workshops. professionally overhauled and offered at fair prices.
9. use luminous or reflective elements
Bright clothing, lights, wheel lights, foils, reflectors. or LEDs for tire valves make you more visible to other road users. They increase your safety, especially when you are traveling with the wheelchair in the dark.
10. accept sad moments
Negative thoughts are normal when you lose something you cherish. But they keep you from coming to terms with life in a wheelchair. So, for example, if you feel sad, hopeless, or angry, it's advisable to To sit down with a therapist or a therapist, to target the negative thoughts.
Also intensive Conversations with family members or friends, can help keep the focus on the future.
11. exchange with other wheelchair users
Especially if you're new to wheelchairs, you may find yourself much better arrange with the toolby spending time with other wheelchair users on a regular basis. You can learn from the conversations and take away many tips for a barrier-free everyday life - and ultimately also help other wheelchair users.
Experience has shown that joining a sports club is particularly helpful. Whether Handball, badminton or basketball: there are countless Sportsthat you can also pursue in a wheelchair - and where you can meet other people with similar, everyday challenges. But Internet forums or Facebook groups are also wonderful places to go for an exchange.
12. plan accessibility before excursions
Not every restaurant, park, train or path is barrier-free. That's why you should inform in advance about new places and activitieswhether accessibility is guaranteed or if you need help.
With this so-called Wheelmap you can for example easily Find fully or at least partially wheelchair accessible places near you.
13. wheelchair regular maintenance
A wheelchair also has wearing parts and should be checked and maintained regularly for safety reasons. Among other things Cable and the Battery power, Cushion, Tire pressure, Brakes condition, moving parts, Frame and Footrests audited.
Costs for any Repairs are then usually even covered by the private or statutory health insurance taken over.
14. finding new ways to do familiar things
Stop thinking that sitting in a wheelchair means you can do almost nothing. For some things, it's just true, creative alternatives or find aids.
The Car can also be driven with a hand control for exampleinstead of using the foot pedals. And you can get to the higher shelves in the kitchen, for example, with a Gripper or other tools. You can still do almost anything. Be aware of that!
15. have realistic expectations
Thinking positively is important, however (depending on your personal situation) you should also not the miracle expect to wake up tomorrow morning and be able to walk around again in a lively mood. In the same way, it makes no sense, the worst to be expected.
In the end, it's usually a healthy dose of realism in your own objectives and expectations that will keep you always brings a step forward and makes optimistic.
16. pay attention to weather report
Anyone who has been in a wheelchair for any length of time knows that the weather can be a real hurdle in everyday life. From Slickness and cold, over heavy rain and heat. As a wheelchair rider:in you can not balance and quickly into the dry race. And also in extremely hot temperatures in combination with the manual drive threaten circulatory problems.
To prevent such physical problems, you should always be aware of the current weather. It also makes sense to invest in useful aids such as waterproof Wheelchair covers, rain ponchos, thermal blankets or also mobile ramps.
17. know your own body
To prevent pain and damage, even when in a wheelchair, you should always listen to the signals of your body. If the wheelchair pinches or you experience neck and back pain, for example, you should talk to the experts at your medical supply store again and make adjustments.
Another important tip for living in a wheelchair is to let yourself not to overestimate yourself. Especially in the early days, you usually do not have the necessary stamina and strength, and you have not yet trained yourself to use the wheelchair confidently. In case of doubt, you should always rely on the help or protection of your companions.
18. use wheelchair bags and backpack
Even a wheelchair user has to take a package to the post office or go shopping every now and then. For this purpose, you should definitely get wheelchair bags or an ordinary backpack. hang over the backrest. In this "trunk" you can store all sorts of things - from Purchases and packages, until the Spare battery.
19 Orientation to mobile role models
Of course, you should be a positive role model for other people yourself, but you should also be aware of Safety and motivation through other, own role models.
This can be, for example, prominent role models, such as physicists Steven Hawking, Para athlete Anas Al Khalifa, YouTube star Leeroy Matata, the 14-year-old comedian Carl Josef, the British performance artist Sue Austin or extreme athletes and skaters David Lebuser be. They all show that you can still fulfill your dreams, even if you are dependent on a wheelchair.
Just as well, however, can of course also People from your environment Be positive examples of confident and safe coping with a disability or mobility impairment.
20. make wheelchair a friend
In order to master life in a wheelchair, you should also see it for what it is: a friend and helper. However, experience has shown that this is not so easy, as he at first glance rather an enemy image that symbolizes precisely what one has lost. That is why many people talk about being "tied" to a wheelchair.
At the same time, your everyday life will only become truly barrier-free or barrier-poor when you see it as a friend, that makes your life easier, gives you security and enables you to see every hurdle as an exciting challenge. Even in difficult situations, it gives you the "We'll manage somehow" mentality.
Frequently asked questions about the wheelchair
How do I apply for a wheelchair from the health insurance company?
To apply for a wheelchair, your doctor must diagnose your mobility restrictions and issue a certificate. You then select a wheelchair that suits you at the medical supply store and submit the cost estimate together with your medical certificate to your health insurance company.
When is one entitled to a wheelchair?
You are entitled to a wheelchair if your mobility is limited and you are temporarily or permanently dependent on it. This can be the case, for example, after an accident, an illness or an operation.
What should you consider if you are new to wheelchairs?
Those who are new to wheelchairs should, among other things, stay on level surfaces, always apply the parking brake when transferring from or to the wheelchair, and complete mobility and safety training.
Take to heart and pass on tips for everyday life in a wheelchair
Of course, I can only imagine how it feels to no longer be able to walk overnight. But I definitely know that the wheelchair is an extremely versatile and reliable tool that can help you get around. more independent and mobile makes.
Be positive, focus on your abilities, and think of the wheelchair as your friend. Combined with all the tips from this post, this attitude is a solid foundation for a comfortable and happy life in a wheelchair.
I sincerely hope that I have been able to help you. Do you have any questions, suggestions, instructive experiences or further tips for a barrier-free life? Then I look forward to your comment under this post.
PS: Your stable social environment is important for your well-being. For more intensive conversations with your friends, I can offer you these questions to get to know that make every conversation more exciting and keep it going. Have fun!