Location: Cornwall. UK
I have reached the stage of accepting I need to use a wheelchair. I somehow could never imagine myself getting to that stage. However my last few trips out have left me exhausted and in a lot of cramp and general muscle pain. The Stigma has gone now, especially as I realized the extra burden I was putting on my wife Anjie. All the moans and groans, sleepless nights, the need for massage,I hope that anyone who reads this will take note and also realize that when the time comes there is no point fighting it. I've been doing a lot of research into my options and I'm now waiting to be assessed by Social Services to determine my needs, and what type of Chariot I should get. I shall update this post in the near future and try an tell you what the journey into using a chair is like. Take care. Eric
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Being from the US I can't comment on the insurance issues "overseas" but here the entry level chair would most likely not be covered by our Medicare. Medicare isn't too concerned about use being able to get around outside. If we need help getting around indoors coverage is likely (at least this year - things may tighten up soon.)
Have you reviewed this Thread in the Mobility Aids topic? There are plenty of other posts on topic as well. I'd suggest you post you question in the main forum anyway unless you have specific GB issues.
In the US the retail price of all classes of chairs is inflated because of distortion introduced by medicare and private medical insurance. If you look at retail prices you may faint! However, no one pays retail, but they are still expensive.
Luckily for entry level users there are a lot of used chairs on the market many with very little use. Locally I've seen very nice indoor chairs for under $500.
The problem at the entry level is how do you transport the chair to where you want to use it? The lowest cost options are lifts for small chairs that work with mini-vans or external lifts that hang off the back of a good size car/truck. Both of these will not work for chairs you will eventually need that are much larger and heavier.
Over here we have industry shows that travel around to the big metro areas that display most options.
Also here I'd suggest some visit the Pride Mobility dealers and visit all within a reasonable distance. While they will want to sell you a new chair they will work on used ones.
Also, seek out businesses that work with adapted vehicles. Also to a Google search for other similar businesses. Visits these as well to see what you can learn about transporting your power chair. These companies commonly have used chairs as well. Some of the bigger ones may be chair dealers as well. They often also have used lower floor vans that will work for you now and in the future when you have a larger chair. Often you pick up a used mini-van for Blue Book retail price + $12K or so.
email:rheitzman at gmail
Eric, Bob has done a nice job of outlining options and considerations.
Check with your health insurance coordinator to determine what they need to help cover the cost of a chair. Often, it is just a referral from your doctor explaining safety considerations and mobility.
Most MDA locations also have a 'loan locker' where you can try out different types of chairs.
One important point for consideration is that you should never buy a chair that satisfies 'just your current needs'. Consider where you will (progression) be in a couple of years, because you don't want to have a chair that doesn't work for you after only using it for a short period of time.
Bob's comment about 'used' chairs is especially important. Over here, there are always used chairs for sale and most sellers are willing to negotiate.
Another key point if you plan on buying is to know is it will be serviced locally. If it breaks down, you don't want to have to start calling around to see who will service it.
My blog has several articles on wheelchairs. Here are a few examples:
I hope this will help.
Location: Cornwall. UK
Hi Graham and Bob. Many thanks for the advice and links to other information. I'm not sure yet just how it works over here regarding help with wheelchairs. I'm seeing someone from our Social Services Dept tomorrow morning to be assessed and to try one out. Still taking it all in at the moment. I never expected I would need one so soon. There is a campaign at the moment to stop our governments proposals to change the Disability Living Allowance(DLA)we currently receive. Its getting good support but from what I can gather the Government are determined to go ahead with the cuts. Have to wait and see I guess. Thanks again for info.
Take care. Eric
Location: Cornwall. UK
I have accepted I need a wheelchair. I got one from ebay and its called the Invacare Mirage. I call it Moby. I am suprised at how quickly I overcame my reluctance to use a chair, especially a powered one. It was last years showroom model apparentley and cost £800-00 pounds as opposed to paying £2,500 plus for a brand new one. Im delighted with it. It has a twenty mile range and a top speed of 4 miles an hour which is plenty fast enough actually. I can come and go as I please now, and I'm no longer a burden to others. Brilliant. I've pimped it a bit. I have a night light attatched to one side and an old fashioned horn on the other side.The kids love me to chase them while honking the horn at them. Well you got to have a giggle in life.
Eric, glad to hear you are enjoying your new transportation. Yes, I found early on that children are not intimidated with a chair and quickly teach you some games. They especially like to go for rides ... standing on my foot rest while I am yelling, "I can't stop!" :-)
after 30 years of KD I am now faced with the same reality and it is dfficult for myself and the family. Being so dependent is a harsh reality. I ahe a loaner scooter from the MDA whick lets me go out into the backyard, however I need to search for a permament solution chair soon.
The aspect of utilization in and out of a vehicle is very important. Any additional suggestions?
WayneThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Wayne,
Wayne, there are a lot of considerations and your current and near future capabilities are a major factor. I have written several articles on the subject in my: Living with Kennedy's Disease Blog
Well I pulled the trigger
Please, if you have specific questions, post them. There are a lot of years of experience in our readers.
Kennedy's Disease Association
PO Box 1105 Coarsegold CA 93614