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Welcome to the Wheelie-drome! (wheelchairs and all mobility stuff)

(52 Posts)
ThisIsANiceCage Mon 08-Aug-11 17:08:29

A thread to share tips and technology for making life that little bit better when walking is a problem - temporarily or longer term.

There's so much good mobility kit out there. But it can take ages to discover gizmo X even exists, never mind that it will be the answer to our prayers. A far cry from the deluge of information and adverts we're all bombarded with about whizzy new features for pushchairs and cars,

So I thought it would be nice to have a place where we can share MN's vast experience in all matters wheelie and walkie.

ThisIsANiceCage Mon 08-Aug-11 17:15:57

Inspired by this thread: You lot are geniuses, can someone think of a solution to a mobility problem we have with my grandmother please?

Links to stairclimbers which are attached to the chair, not the stairs, and can be taken around to use anywhere:
Level lifts stairclimbers
X-pert and Stairmate stairclimbers

chickchickchicken Mon 08-Aug-11 17:40:35

great idea to start this thread smile

ive just posted on the other one about an organisation that can help with making bespoke items that arent available commercially. its a voluntary organisation i have rung them before and they were very helpful

headfairy Mon 08-Aug-11 18:30:31

thanks for this thread thisisanicecage, so helpful... as soon as my parents are back from their hols we're going to sit down and sort through all the solutions to see which is the most practical and affordable.

notcitrus Mon 08-Aug-11 18:50:54

For temporary help, the Red Cross will lend wheelchairs but they tend to be heavy and not self-propel, and you may not have a branch near you and they open about 4 hours a week (I'm in south London and nearest was well over an hours drive).
Medical supplies shops may hire them and have a better selection (and all sorts of other useful gizmos!). Though self-propelling is a LOT harder than it looks on real-life pavements - I got one from a shop 10 min walk (previously!) from my house and spent half an hour attempting to get home and needing rescuing from falling into the main road...

If you need to hire one, do a range and have excellent service, including delivery to the door and collection when no longer needed - work or Access to Work may pay for this if you're lucky.

Shopmobility vary around the country but some local ones allow you to hire chairs or scooters for varying prices.

Walking sticks are cheap - say £12 for a black folding adjustable-height one. An elastic loop attached to it so it doesn't fall off your arm is invaluable.

For loads of info, there's the now-closed Ouch! messageboards at where old posts are still archived , and many of the posters are now at

ThisIsANiceCage Mon 08-Aug-11 19:22:33

Oh god yes, the falling into roads.shock <<been-there-done-that>>

Self-propelling is marvellous on a smooth, flat surface; uphill or on a camber it's... challenging.

Another Shopmobility fan here. I've hired everything from manual wheelchairs to scooters, and it's a great way to work out what will suit you best - or if wheels are even the right solution for you.

shodatin Wed 10-Aug-11 10:32:58

Thanks for the thread, TIANC. I chose self-propelling, as had seen an advertisement for adding a battery pack, but wonder if anyone has tried this pack or can advise anything better (chair has to load into hatchback).

poppyknot Wed 10-Aug-11 10:42:47

Great thread. Am still getting to grips (literally. My hands get sore!) to self propelling. HAve to be accompanied as even slight slopes poe too much of a challenge. Using one stick at the moment although sometimes think two might be better. Anyone manage two or is there a better way of walking supported?

Shopmobility will be my next aim.......

Thanks for the ideas. As with all these things it is the users who are the best source rather than the providers (MS nurse, social work etc) however weel intentioned they are.

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 10-Aug-11 10:47:50

Ooh, yes, I'd like to hear about battery packs too. shodatin knows I was whinging the other day about slopes! And I'm in the same position of having chosen a manual chair so it can be folded and slung in a car.

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 10-Aug-11 10:57:35

Would walkers be any use to you, poppyknot? (Or google "mobility walker".)

These (expensive) ones seem to have carrybags as well as seats, so that might solve the two hands problem when you're out and about - but I don't know how difficult steering with one hand might be if the need arises, especially if you have dodgy hands/wrists. Also you're committed to wheels, so steps and dodgy pavements will be hard work.

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 10-Aug-11 11:03:53

By the way I've found a walking-stick-with-stool invaluable, eg this.

It's not the same faff and commitment as the wheelchair. I use it where I'm not expecting to do any outdoor distance or where the building has steps or a murderous ramp, and it makes all the difference to be able to sit down while queuing at reception or the till, or just browsing.

CMOTdibbler Wed 10-Aug-11 11:05:48

Can anyone point me to a supplier of practical but not elderly looking walking sticks suitable for 6'2 DH ? He has finally admitted he needs one

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 10-Aug-11 11:09:52

I've also just spotted this folding high-level stool from Argos. It's not cheap (nearly £50 shock) but I'm tempted for use in my tiny kitchen. It probably won't destroy the lino like my stick stool, either!

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 10-Aug-11 11:18:35

Some funky sticks here, CMOTdibbler Some stylish metallic ones in the adjustable section, but if no luck there keep googling "walking stick" - or eBaying. Yer'd be amazed...

poppyknot Wed 10-Aug-11 11:21:00

Loving the stick-and-seat TIANC! And thanks for the walkers link too.

Have a high stool in the kitchen and it's a godsend.

Tianc Wed 14-Sep-11 18:35:36

I have a new toy - an over bed/chair table!

It came minutes ago and I'm typing on it as I speak. This is going to make handling paperwork sooo much easier, instead of stuffing pages down the side of the chair and propping them over the screen. Wish I'd got it ages ago.

Ebay has a good choice, and they all seem to tilt for reading.


CMOTdibbler Wed 14-Sep-11 19:58:22

Those are great aren't they ? My mum has one, and uses a bookchair to hold her book.

DH bought this walking stick in the end - it looks young and technical, is very strong, and the antishock makes it easier on your arm

Tianc Wed 14-Sep-11 20:02:56

Ooh I saw the hiking-style ones - good to have some feed-back. I might try that one for my uncle now.

Does he find he uses the wrist strap much, as notcitrus describes?

chickchickchicken Fri 16-Sep-11 14:29:14

ive got the hiking style ones as well. they were cheap ones from sports direct and are really good. i use the wrist strap all the time. once you get used to them it makes it so much easier when you have to answer phone, pay for things etc. i also find they help limit the pain in my hands as in between steps i can let the strap take the weight of the stick

chickchickchicken Fri 16-Sep-11 14:30:51

meant to say although the sticks are very light letting the strap take the weight of the stick means i dont have to keep my hands gripped (which hurts)all the time

CMOTdibbler Fri 16-Sep-11 14:31:46

Yes, the strap is essential, else you have to lean it up all the time.

chickchickchicken Fri 16-Sep-11 14:35:59

after my first pair i shopped around and bought the ones with the most padded straps (not always the most expensive ones) as i found the strap so helpful and wanted the strap part to be as comfortable as possible. i also find the velcro fastenings on the strap easier than the plastic clips

chickchickchicken Fri 16-Sep-11 14:37:02

off to look for a table after reading above. any suggestions of what to look for/avoid?

Tianc Fri 16-Sep-11 15:04:26

Thanks for all that - will definitely pass on strap advice.

Tables. Still "road-testing" mine, but a few things.

Some come in two sections - so you can tilt one for a book while having your cuppa on the other section.

The two (unsplit) tables I've played with are supported on C-shaped frames and have four strong brackets holding the table top to the poles; a friend's mother had a flimsier version with two little clips, and one broke - leaving her at risk of hot-tea-in-lap.shock

My table has to fit a small space, and it turns out the table top often overhangs one way while the frame is proud the other way - makes sense to get it over a bed as far as possible. So the actual length of the table is rather more than the length of the top. (Fortunately I had someone to unscrew and re-site the brackets for me - it's not complicated but does take a drill and good wrists.)

Anything else? Seems to be a choice between 4 lockable castors, 2 castors and no castors. I've gone for 2, so table moves easily when end is raised but stops immediately you drop the end. And you need to consider if it will actually fit under your specific furniture.

I got mine from RDK mobility, by the way, and they were very lovely. But "over bed table" typed into eBay will get you plenty.

Tianc Fri 16-Sep-11 15:07:24

By the way, there's definite difference in robustness of frame with price. The two I've seen claimed to take 10kg and 15kg loads respectively - plenty for a laptop.grin

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