Wheelchairs Vs. Transportation Chairs–What’s The Difference?
Approximately one in four adults over the age of 65 in the United States uses a mobility device and there are so many different types of devices out there that can help seniors stay mobile and active. Two of the most common types of mobility devices out there are wheelchair and transport chairs. While these two devices are very similar and are often confused, they do have a few differences and are not the exact same.
If you are considering a mobility device for yourself or for someone else, it is important to understand the differences between these two types of chairs. It is important to understand these differences so that you can determine which type of chair will work based on you or your loved one’s needs.
A wheelchair is a common piece of equipment and is obviously meant for people who have issues walking. Many people use wheelchairs in order to live more independently and to get around on their own. They only need to be able to use their arms to support the wheelchair. These chairs typically have large wheels in the back and smaller wheels in front which help provide better movement. A standard wheelchair is made with a steel frame and weighs around 35 pounds.
Transport chairs are much lighter than standard wheelchairs. All four wheels tend to be the same size, although the front wheels swivel for better maneuverability. The back wheels, however, are fixed and equipped with brakes so that the user can easily enter or exit the chair. While transport chairs can be made from a variety of different materials, they tend to be much lighter and don’t weigh more than 25 pounds.
While at first sight, these mobility devices may seem similar, they are actually quite different. In most situations, transport chairs are used when traveling or when people who rely on wheelchairs need something that are more mobile and lightweight. The more you know about mobility devices, the better prepared you will be to find the device that best meets your needs.
Transport chairs, however, cannot propel themselves forward. They are best used in situations where the user needs to be in the chair for a shorter period of time, or when they need to transfer from one location to the next. Many people use transport chairs for more temporary situations, while wheelchairs are more commonly used with people who are completely unable to walk or use a walker on their own. Since transport chairs typically aren’t as permanent as wheelchairs, they tend to be less customizable. Wheelchairs, on the other hand, can be easily customized in size, features, materials and even arm length, particularly for those who spend their entire lives in their chair.
Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.