A wheelchair is a mobility device operated either manually or power-driven.
It is produced mainly for individuals with permanent or temporary disabilities. One can utilize it for both indoor and outdoor movements.
Many things should be taken into cognizance when choosing a wheelchair, including the wheelchair’s durability and comfort, accessibility, height, and weight of the disabled individual.
Note the following qualities when choosing a wheelchair, no matter the type: fitness, taper, the center of gravity, wheelchair size, type, seat, backrest, and accessories.
Table of Contents
- Categories of Wheelchairs
- Hemi Height Wheelchairs
- Standard Wheelchairs
- Hemi Height Wheelchair vs. Standard Wheelchair: Making the Right Choice
Categories of Wheelchairs
There are various categories of wheelchairs; the commonest being manual and electric/power wheelchairs. Others include pediatric, positioning, sports, all-terrain, and standing power wheelchairs.
Most importantly, the first thing to consider when getting a wheelchair for the disabled is to decide if it will be a manual or an electric chair, your budget, and the disabled individual’s needs and disability.
Manual and Electric Wheelchairs
Manual wheelchairs are mobility devices self-propelled by the disabled individual with hands or pushed by a caregiver or a non-disabled person.
Electric or powered wheelchairs are operated with a battery to propel the disabled forward without using much upper body strength or being pushed from behind.
The Hemi height and standard wheelchairs are, therefore, categorized under the manual type of wheelchairs. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Hemi Height Wheelchairs
Unlike the standard wheelchairs designed to keep your feet off the ground and non-adjustable, Hemi height wheelchairs help keep your feet down to enhance mobility. You can achieve this by lowering/adjusting the wheelchair “seat to floor height.”
A Hemi height wheelchair is probably the best choice if you still use your legs and feet. The beauty of the Hemi height is that it can also function as a standard wheelchair. Sometimes it is even considered as an adjustable standard manual wheelchair.
Compared to the standard wheelchair, which gives you no choice to switch between limbs, a Hemi height wheelchair allows you to utilize your leg muscles when you wish. You can even decide to rest your legs and switch to your hands when you want to turn the wheels.
The height is adjustable and not stationary like the standard wheelchair. So if you won’t be using your feet when in the wheelchair, you can leave them at the fixed standard wheelchair height.
It is a great mobility tool for moving around the house and a cool way to exercise your legs – a great hack for avoiding swollen feet that arises from immobility.
Standard wheelchairs are the most commonly used and sold wheelchairs. When you think of wheelchairs, they are most likely the first ones you visualize. Although designed for short-term hospital or institutional use, specialists don’t often recommend it as a major mobility means.
While standard wheelchairs help keep the feet off the ground, they are non-adjustable. It is the best and a cost-effective alternative for someone that depends solely on a wheelchair for mobility.
The features of a standard chair include a seat and backrest, usually made from leather or fabric; large wheels for propelling and controlling the wheelchair; small wheels for balance; arm and footrests.
You can also fold them, making them easy to carry around when in transit and fit easily into vehicles. The following are the disadvantages of this wheelchair.
The standard wheelchair must be propelled with your hand and therefore requires a strong upper body; otherwise, you have to rely on others to push you around, which might not be the best option if you are learning to be an independent individual.
However, if your upper body is quite fit, a standard wheelchair might work well for you. It is also a common choice among individuals with mobility issues like a broken hip or temporary restricted use of legs.
Hemi Height Wheelchair vs. Standard Wheelchair: Making the Right Choice
Generally, a wheelchair can give you the quality of life you need as a disabled individual. You should configure the wheelchair to meet your specific needs and not anyone else’s.
Confidence and independence come from you and not your chair. However, a proper chair can still help you in building these.
Therefore, you should consider the following when choosing between a standard and Hemi height wheelchair.
The age of the disabled individual comes into play when deciding on which chair to get.
If the disabled individual is an elderly person, then the standard wheelchair is the better option because they are not as strong and agile as the young person. Hence a caregiver will always be present to push them.
If the disabled is a younger person, then the Hemi height is a great option depending on the individual disability.
Related: Must-Know Benefits of Mobility Aids
If the disabled individual is shorter than 5’’, then the Hemi height is the best wheelchair to get for them, and if the individual is 5’’ and taller, then the standard wheelchair is the best option.
While you can adjust the Hemi height wheelchair to the standard height, that is not the case for the standard wheelchair. So you should consider the individual’s height when getting the wheelchair.
Nature of Disability
If you’re are naturally an independent person with a minor disability, then you should consider getting the Hemi height wheelchair, as it will greatly motivate you to continue being independent despite your disability.
However, if the disability is severe, even if the disabled individual is young, the standard wheelchair is the best option because they would constantly depend on others.
Therefore, the right choice of a wheelchair for you depend greatly on where you fit in after considering the factors above. Remember that you should always feel powerful and confident in the chair you eventually go for.