Taking The "Dis" Out Of Disabled!
Who is George Klien ?
It is said that in 1953, the first motorized - powered wheelchair was invented by George Klien, an employee of the National Research Council of Canada, while working with injured World War 2 veterans.
But the idea of automating the "manual wheelchair" existed centuries before his invention.
Needless to say - the motorized power wheelchair has absolutely skyrocketed the quality of life for those suffering from various mobility issues.
In the United States alone, 1.7 million people are now less reliant on others to get around while experiencing increased independence and freedom.
If you are looking to purchase a power wheelchair or a power scooter, the purpose of this website is to provide you with the necessary information to make a better informed buying decision.
What's in a Name ?
Is it called a motorized wheelchair, an electric wheelchair or a power chair ? What about the power scooter ? What is it and how does it relate?
Well - let's clarify.
An electric wheelchair is the modern looking version of the "manual" wheelchair. It operates via an electric motor and is controlled with either a joystick or a button.
A power chair is essentially an electric wheelchair with one major difference. It's padded seat elevates, tilts forward, (can completely flatten while rising or tilting in some cases) and / or reclines.
This not only makes it easier to get on and off - it also makes it easier to perform a variety of other functions.
The power scooter on the other hand is used outdoors, typically has 3 wheels, a seat that swivels and utilizes handlebars instead of a joystick. It's users usually have full use of their upper body. They tend to go faster than electric wheelchairs and power chairs. Older models cannot be folded and packed away for easy transportation.
A New View of Life
If you just watched the video (above), I am sure that you will agree that it most certainly demonstrates the life changing capabilities of today's multi-functional power chair.
It goes without saying that these tremendous benefits extend beyond just in and around the home.
For instance - consider the celebration of an important day that includes a parade.
In the past, most "manual" wheelchair users were limited to being spectators.
If one wanted to be a participant in a parade - it would require an incredible amount of strength and stamina to say the least.
Today however, with a power chair or a power scooter, not only can this same person participate in a parade - they can painlessly do so for it's entire duration.
Yet Another Example
The sports arena is yet another area that has seen a dramatic rise in the entrance and participation of power chair users.
We are all familiar with the game of soccer and it's world wide popularity. Watched by 3 billion people plus, the "World Cup" is soccer's pinnacle, final competition held every 4 years.
Teams representing 200 different countries enter into a qualifying contest over the preceding 3 years in order to determine the 2 best teams that will play in the World Cup.
Well in this same vein, there now exists a Power Chair Football World Cup. It incorporates the chair's speed and power together with the skill of the player to produce a spectacular event.
Currently as you might expect, it does not have nearly the same viewership as World Cup soccer since it only started in 2007 - but it is increasing in popularity nonetheless.
The Specifics & Questions You Must Ask
If you are looking to purchase a motorized wheelchair or a power scooter - you probably already have a "list" of requirements that the chair or scooter must fulfill.
Obviously, the mobility needs for people that have had a stroke or who suffer from osteoarthritis are going to be different from seniors who are encountering decreased strength and endurance in their bodies.
Although requirement lists may not be a "one size fits all", there are still significant questions shared in common - that must be addressed in order to make the best purchase decision.
While there are many more, listed below are just 7 of the types of questions that you should be mulling over.
Some may seem obvious and might already be on your list but you may not have contemplated all of them.
1) Is the user left or right handed? This pertains mostly to power wheelchair users in determining where the controls should ideally be located.
2) Have you measured and recorded the narrowest passageway or doorway anywhere a motorized wheelchair will be used indoors?
3) If a motorized wheelchair is to be used outdoors - have you given consideration to ground clearance and grade or incline handling capabilities?
4) Have you measured and recorded the widest part of your hips? Several options exist when it comes to seat selection but they are all dependent on seat width.
5) What sort of distances need to be covered in between battery charges?
6) What type of warranty does it come with? Is the warranty specifically on the drive motor, the electronics and the frame - "limited" or "full" and for how long?
7) What maintenance functions are you expected to perform in order to keep the warranty in force?
As stated earlier, these are only 7 of the types of questions that one should zero in on.
The product review pages on this website delve into more of these kinds of questions and recommendations are made based on the features and benefits that best fit various individual needs.