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Electric wheelchair recommendations?

Messages
5
I'm still very new and don't yet have an official diagnosis, but I just realized today that I have significant funds in my FSA (funds that can only be spent on approved medical expenses) that I'll lose access to as soon as my job lets me go (which could be any day, I've run out of protected leave).

I'm basically bed-bound, and on bad days I have to ask my family to wheel me to the bathroom in the transport wheelchair we have. I'd really like to have more independent mobility, both in and out of the house. I'm thinking an electric wheelchair would be a good way to do this, but if I'm going to use FSA funds for it I need to do it ASAP and I haven't had a chance to do any research yet. I don't even really know what's important to consider in a wheelchair. I know it's important to me that it be compact and have an excellent turning radius, because our house is pretty cramped with a narrow hallway. I know it's important that it be lightweight and foldable so my family can get it in and out of a car for me. Any recommendations? Anything else I should be considering? Thanks for any thoughts you have, it's really hard to make a big purchase decision so quickly when my brain is foggy and I don't have the energy to do research... Especially when I'm so new at this (only 3 months in)! I wouldn't consider making this purchase now at all, except that I've got these significant funds that I will lose soon if I don't use them. I would also welcome suggestions of other ways to spend those funds (would have to be FSA eligible)!
 

linusbert

Senior Member
Messages
1,246
i got a permobil m3 (swedish company) which someone else recommended me on this forum.
new they cost like 30.000-40.000 $ , but if you checkout ebay you might find almost new models for like 1/10th of the price.
you can see it here:
or other models https://www.youtube.com/@Marcsmobility/videos

as you can see in the video, you can adjust seating to almost any position, you can even have it almost 180degree (minutes 7:15), so you might sleep/rest somewhere else besides your bed. there are a lot of accessoires you can attach like a table.. so you can eat and "work" in your chair.
if you can afford it such a chair might give you freedom back you wouldnt think possible right now.

but those big electric wheelchairs need to be maintained frequently, you might need to get yearly checks. its like a car, and probably equally expensive.

WARNING:
if you get such a chair, be very careful, these things are tanks. you move the stick it goes everywhere and through everything including your walls without stopping. i speak from experience.
sometimes when i am doing stuff in my room i lean forward , transfer stuff and sometimes my jacket or blanket are touching the joystick which moves the joystick suddenly forward and potential crash everything in its path!
ALSO always have your feet on the foot rests. if you dont, if you have the feet just a bit hanging out side or to the outside you might twist and break your feet when you drive through a narrow space or door and your foot hangs on the door frame while your wheelchair continues to drive forward. this happend me almost 2-3 times.
these chairs are no toys, they can be really dangerous there is a lot of caution to be taken.
ALSO always when not driving have it attached to power cord. the battery gauge is lying. they count battery usage with miles you are driving, its not showing true battery state. so you might get stuck along the way while your battery meter shows 90%. also the wheelchair will loose battery when its resting and not connected to the power cord. this loss of battery is not counted by the battery system.


the other thing is, you might checkout a simple folding electric wheelchair on alibaba. they go around 1000 $ ... but you will get issues like missing parts and all the usual china problems.
BUT its only 1000 $ so you can throw it away and buy a new one... a permobil reparation might cost as much as well. but you can forget all the nice comfort features like seat adjusting to 180degree etc. its good enough to get you in your house from A to B though. but you do not want to sit any time longer than needs be in those chairs.
btw, i got one of those in the first place, before i sold it again and got the permobil.
 
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Messages
2,578
Location
US
Lightweight, foldable, FSA eligible, and excellent turning radius will limit your options a lot.

It seems you also want to use it out on pavement and sidewalks sometimes (with your family's help)? Most wheelchairs don't do everything, unless they are the really expensive kind. They tend to be either compact and great indoors, or good outdoors. So if you are looking for one that can do both, that is also limiting. One that works outdoors will tend to not have a low speed and have the issues that the other poster described when indoors.

You should probably talk with at least one store/DME and find out if they have anything that fits the 5 or more requirements. They may have only 2 and help you compare them, or they may have only 1.

I believe there are a couple travel wheelchairs that are mostly sold on their own websites though, versus through a dealer. Search for travel electric wheelchairs.
 
Messages
5
If I can't have it all, honestly, indoors is probably more important. Or at least indoors with very light outdoor use. Any suggestions on what I should be looking for?
 

Judee

Psalm 46:1-3
Messages
4,545
Location
Great Lakes
I thought I had found a reasonably priced lightweight electric wheelchair but the company has really bad BBB ratings. Only posting this in case someone was thinking of buying from them.

https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/irvine/profile/mobility-scooter/rubicon-mobility-1126-1000079465 (They have an website listed on the BBB site but they also have this other website: https://electricwheelchair.store/

Again, just posting so people know to avoid them. Awful that they are taking advantage of elderly and disabled people this way. :(
 

i-lava-u

Senior Member
Messages
692
Location
Utah, USA
The one I currently have/use is called Feather
https://feathermobility.com/products/featherweight-scooter-lightest-electric-scooter-37-lbs
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