Top 5 Wheelchair Accessories
When it comes to wheelchair accessories, if you dream it, it probably exists. There are however some absolute essentials when it comes to wheelchair accessories. A wheelchair if you define it is a tool, and these accessories make the main tool in your life all that more useful. Why a struggle when you don't have to you? Here are our five important wheelchair accessories to consider.
5. Cup Holder
One of the most classic wheelchair accessories, a cup holder, is essential for every wheelchair user. Staying hydrated throughout the day is important when you have a spinal cord injury and having a cup holder helps make that happen. There are hundreds of styles available.
We encourage you to search Google and Amazon (most range around $10). Make sure you buy a cup holder that will hold the beverage you drink most often, whether it is a giant coffee cup or a can of Pepsi. You can also look at cup holders meant for strollers and bicycles, as they commonly work for wheelchairs (universal cup holders).
And make sure you get a cup holder that can clamp onto your wheelchair securely (typically onto the frame of your wheelchair) and that it holds cups securely. Many have shallow cups with side openings that make it easy for the cup to fall out.
4. Clip-On Umbrella
For those outsides often, especially if you live in a rainy or very sunny environment, having a clip-on umbrella for your wheelchair will improve your quality of life big time. It is nearly impossible for manual wheelchair-users to hold an umbrella while pushing. Also, for those who have limited arm movement and are unable to hold an umbrella, a clip-on umbrella will keep you safe from the elements.
Many people will keep the umbrella on their wheelchair all the time if they live in a weather-active place. There are several kinds of clip-on umbrellas available and most are around $20. They have become popular with the general public for strollers and patio chairs and as such, are now widely available.
3. Power-Add On
There are several different ways to make a manual chair to the dirty work, i.e, push you so you don't have to push it, and is done via a power add-on. A popular option is the SmartDrive, a single wheel that is clamped onto the back of a manual wheelchair and helps power your chair forward so you don't have to push as much.
Another option is Batec, a power front wheel with handles (it looks like the front of a bicycle), that turns a manual wheelchair into an electric motorcycle. This accessory is life-changing for many, as it enables them to traverse their city like never before; fully independently. A power add-on is also great for those who want to use a manual wheelchair but don't have enough strength.
2. Under Chair Tote/Backpack
A wheelchair accessory many manual wheelchair-users swear by is a wheelchair under-chair tote (or "catchall netting") making it easy to store stuff (keys, books, food, purse) while in your wheelchair. All you have to do is reach underneath to grab something.
And we can't forget the classic backpack, which many people still use. For some quadriplegics, they find it difficult to get into a backpack, which is why an open bag with handles that hang on either side of a wheelchair (around a push handle) can work too. Many medical supply stores sell these wheelchair totes.
1. Phone Holder/Mount
One of the most important accessories wheelchair-users say would be lost without is a phone holder/mount to keep their phone safe on their wheelchair. For those unable to hold their phone, a phone holder/mount is an absolute must for the independent use of a phone. People who can use their arms fully will also use a phone holder for their wheelchair to keep their phone secure. Oftentimes a phone can fall off your lap or out of your pocket/purse.
There are several high-quality phone holders/mounts that have been made for powerchairs. One of we highly recommend is made by Tecla. There are other low-cost versions available on Amazon. Make sure you purchase one with a telescoping arm so you can position it where you need it. There are versions that clamp onto your wheelchair like a clip-on umbrella, but many prefer a phone holder with a built-in magnet so it will stay wherever you put it on your wheelchair.
There are several wheelchair accessories we could not fit in this list, from a lap tray to a Cheelcare USB Adaptor/Charger (that lets you charge a wheelchair without a wheelchair charger). There are new accessories coming out each year that are smarter and better than previously made versions, so always look to improve what you have.
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Spinal Cord Team