A power wheelchair or scooter is the arms and legs for someone with Duchenne, allowing them to keep up with friends, cover longer distances, and even stand. It’s a device that will be part of them for years.
Since they will be using it most of their waking hours, it’s important to make sure everything in their daily routine with the wheelchair is as easy as possible.
Below, you’ll find some accessories that can make life using a wheelchair easier. It’s important to note, like people, all chairs are made differently. What might work for one wheelchair or person might not work for another. Be sure to measure your wheelchair dimensions and compare them with the specs of the product to ensure it will be a good fit before purchasing.
If your feet ever get cold and/or you can’t wear shoes, this waterproof blanket might be the perfect solution. The Bundlebean fits over your legs and wraps snugly around your feet so it doesn’t drag or get caught in your wheels.
2. Wheelchair bags
It’s hard to use your pockets if you are sitting in a wheelchair, but there often isn’t a lot of space to put the necessities you need (car keys, phone, wallet, napkins, medical equipment, etc.) on your wheelchair. That’s where finding a bag that can wrap around your armrest that allows easy access is important. They come in different sizes. Below are a few that work best:
2. Umbrella holder
Since we are talking about water, this umbrella holder keeps one hand free to drive and the rest of your chair dry.
There are many devices out there that help hold your drink or your phone, but this is one of the few that does both. You only have so much space on a wheelchair, and having a two-in-one device can help save space.
4. Tablet holder
Sometimes it’s nice to have a bigger screen in front of you to watch movies, video chat with friends, or play games. This tablet holder can be mounted on most seat or armrest tracks. The RAM mount is pricey, but it will last you a long time.
5. Phone holder
This phone holder can be mounted anywhere on the chair and still be reachable.
Some wheelchairs have built-in lights and it’s worth asking for insurance to cover them. But some power chairs do not. This bike light can easily be clipped to a backpack and make you feel safer driving at night.
7. LED strips
Speaking of lights, if you want some cool LED strips to accent your chair, there are plenty of options like this one available to order online.
8. Waterproof cover
Some families opt to use a smaller, portable power chair for vacations. But when you are home, you want to ensure that your travel chair is stored properly. This protector can help keep dust and the elements off it (make sure to find one that is waterproof). Alternatively, you may be able to use an old barbeque cover.
9. Hand warmer
It’s harder to use your hands and find the fine motor movement needed to navigate a wheelchair joystick when it gets cold. That’s where having a hand warmer can help. This Mo-Vis warmer comes with a bolt or clamp, but you may need to mount it differently depending on your rig.
10. Phone charger
The majority of your wheelchair is one big battery. It can be used to power other devices, like your cell phone. Permobil sells a phone charger for its chair.
11. Wheelchair tray
It can be hard to navigate your power wheelchair under a table at a restaurant, your dining room table, or desk. A tray brings that surface to you. Because it’s right in front of your hands, you won’t have to reach as far and strain your muscles. The right tray will be dependent on your chair, so be sure to ask your wheelchair vendor.
12. Rear hooks
Power wheelchairs can also double as baggage carriers for medical devices and day bags if you purchase rear hooks for your chair. Mounted directly to the seat back, they are quite stable and durable.
13. Push handles
The reality is, sometimes you forget to plug your chair in and you might run out of battery halfway through the day. Or, you might roll out of your power wheelchair’s range and be left stranded. These chairs weigh hundreds of pounds and are awkward to push. Installing push handles on the back can help resolve that problem. Permobil sells one for its chairs.
14. Rearview mirror & backup camera
For those of you that might have difficulty looking behind you or have left some marks on your walls, finding a backup mirror or camera can make life a lot easier and safer. We have them for our cars, after all.
15. CamelBak Hydrobak
Staying hydrated is extremely important, especially if you are taking numerous medications. It can also be a chore to keep opening a water bottle. But this CamelBak contraption meant for hikers fixes the problem. A backpack with a water reservoir attaches to a tube with a bite valve at the end. All you have to do is move your head a few inches one way and suck the water down.