My wife is ten months post stroke, left sided paralysis and still cannot walk. We manage fairly well with a standard wheelchair with me pushing. However this is becoming more difficult for me. Her psychologist has suggested she gets a power chair which will not only give her some more freedom, but also make things slightly easier for me. The local health authority say there is at least a years wait for assessment for a power chair, meanwhile the physios say she is unlikely to be approved for one because of her hemiplegia. Has anyone else come across this? I am happy to pay for a power chair, if I need to BUT in the absence of “What Powerchair” I’m at a loss to know which one we should choose. It will need to be used inside and outdoors and also need to fit in the boot of a Nissan Qashqai and as I will have to lift it in and out needs to be both reasonably easy to assemble/dismantle and as light as possible. I searched on the web but most sites seem to be tied to one “brand” and I haven’t found anywhere where we can “test” drive different types or makes. I’d really appreciate any suggestions
Is there an Independent Living Centre near you? They will provide advice and may have chairs you can try.
Some shops will supply a range of chairs. Shop around.
If you are not in a rush you could visit NAIDEX 2024. There are other similar events run by organisations like Motability.
How old is your wife? Could she claim PIP and be eligible for the Motability scheme?
Some other considerations:
Your wife will need to transfer from the chair to the car.
It will not be easy to lift the chair into the car - consider a hoist or ramp.
Have a look at the eFoldi Power Chair. It is light enough to lift into a boot in one piece. They will also come to your home to demonstrate it.
I went for the eFoldi Lite scooter recently and can lift it into the boot with one hand. Everything eFoldi makes is very light and folds up very small. They’re not cheap, but they’re good. Their Facebook group quite often have second hand ones for sale too.
I have a foldup power chair and wouldn’t be without it. However, there is great variation with them, you need to try several to see what you can get on with. Some are too twitchy, and take off at speed, which takes a bit of getting used to, some are too wide to get through doorways easily, and some beep annoyingly whenever you reverse, and some even shout at you with a chinese accent if you use the controller wrong. Some really use up the batteries quickly, others have expensive batteries that only need charging every 3-4 days. A good chair is expensive, but a bad one is a pain in the proverbial. You will also need to be able to get parts and someone to fix it if anything goes wrong.
That’s a good précis of key considerations!
Add weight & space to store and maybe that’s complete?
I keep mine in my car boot. A colleague made me an extension cable so that I can pass the cable out of the window ro charge the chair.
I’ve just looked at the eFoldi website, and see that their wheelchair version is almost exactly the same as mine. (different name and supplier, NZ). I couldn’t see any price anywhere - which means expensive! My one costs 4800 NZ$, imported from China, don’t know how that compares. Anyhow, I would recommend it - it is very lightweight, manoeuvrable, gets around indoors without too much crashing into things or getting stuck in doorways! It is a bit twitchy though, but I’m used to it now, it is much better than a heavy indoor chair. Good luck getting the perfect one for you wife!
I have a de Vilbis Airfold. Weighs in at about 17 kilos which is probably the lightest weight on the market. It does most things. The only downside is that the front wheels are not under power so any camber will mean the chair can drift a bit. It folds up pretty small fits neatly into most standard car boots. Battery lasts well and is very compact. I bought mine new for £2300 or thereabouts. Made a huge difference. Takes a bit of getting used to but any powerchair would. Id definitely recommend it. Haf it for nearly 2 years. Im 8yrs post stroke and left side affected.Youll need a good seat cushion. Don’t get a gel one they collapse flat in a few months
My husband has a Freedom power chair. I also have a hoist supplied by Autochair which lifts it into the back of our Focus estate. This works very well for us.
@Jackjack welcome to the forum!
Thank you for sharing experience with the community We need everybody’s insight to make life the best we can for all the members
@Jackjack just came to Hi and welcome to the forum. Hope you are finding it useful, insightful even. Don’t be shy to ask anything or even to just chat