How To Choose The Best Electric Wheelchair For Your Senior

Independence and easy mobility are vital. So for those who struggle to move on their own, the support of an electric wheelchair can be necessary.

Electric wheelchairs are great, versatile mobility tools. Not only can they help with in-home movement and daily tasks, but they can also be utilized outdoors or across longer distances. Finally, they can also be transported to other places, which allows seniors who use them the ability to easily go out in public.

When you’re in the market for one of these chairs, there are lots of factors to consider, and finances are likely one of them. 

Price can often be a frustrating obstacle to overcome. Feeling unable to access the care your senior needs and deserves can be upsetting, especially when caregiving is something very important to you.

Don’t be discouraged! We’re here to break down the best electric wheelchairs on the market as well as how to make them as affordable as possible. 

We’ll also provide some tips and resources to ensure that you have the information you need to make the best choice for your senior.

Benefits of an Electric Wheelchair

The most obvious reason to purchase an electric wheelchair is the independence that it brings. With the push of a button, a user can go just about anywhere he or she needs to without relying on someone else for assistance. This is great for both user and caregiver alike.

Another great mobility device that allows for independence in the home is a stair chair lift, which can be used in conjunction with a wheelchair. For more information on these lifts, check out our product breakdown here.

Electric wheelchairs are adjustable, transportable, and user-friendly. They also typically include a warranty to help protect your investment. 

Understanding Your Senior

Before you select an electric wheelchair that seems like a good fit, it’s important to consider in which circumstances your senior is living. This might impact your choice as well as your price range.

Things to consider:

  • Space. Some wheelchairs are bigger than others. If your senior lives in a place with small rooms, narrow halls, tight corners, etc., certain bulkier chairs might be troublesome or hard to navigate.
  • Important features. How does your senior spend his/her time? Are they primarily indoors? Do they like to move frequently or take walks? Are they around pets? Are they frequently alone? These are all great examples of questions to ask yourself in order to determine what sort of key features and characteristics you’d like to look for. For example, if your senior is a lover of the outdoors, you might choose a model that’s durable and suited for longer periods exposed to the elements.
  • Warranty. Some warranties last a lifetime, and others may not. Depending on how long you anticipate needing the wheelchair and/or how much usage you plan to get out of it, you may or may not need a longer warranty.
  • Durability & Quality. Cheaper models cost less now, but they can end up being more expensive in the long run from repairs or damage. Purchasing models from trustworthy retailers is always the best way to go. When it comes to price, especially online, if it seems too good to be true, it very well might be.

Financial Considerations

Once you’ve decided to pursue an electric wheelchair, you’re probably going to run into the issue of cost.

The cost of these devices can certainly be steep, but you don’t have to let cost hold you back. There are more affordable options, like going for a rental or a used model, that we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Electric Wheelchair Rental

Renting a wheelchair may be a good option for those who are working with a tight budget, or those who’d like to get a chance to try out having a chair before fully investing in purchasing one.

Rentals are also great short-term solutions – they’re great for vacations, for example, or other times when mobility might be an extra challenge.

Many mobility device retailers and homecare stores offer rental options alongside their normal line of products. It’s also possible to find rental wheelchairs online, sometimes directly from the brand or manufacturer themselves. 

Rented electric wheelchairs usually have monthly payments of around $200-500, depending on the model. Some retailers offer rent-to-own programs, where rental payments count toward the full price of the item (which becomes your property once it’s paid off). 

These are both great options for those who need an electric wheelchair that’s both immediately affordable and accessible. Sometimes, care just can’t wait.

Finding a Used Electric Wheelchair

As is the case with rentals, many retailers and brands offer used models. Used models can have varying levels of wear and tear, but you can generally expect them to still be in good condition. They’re a great and more affordable option for anyone who needs one!

How much you save by buying a used electric wheelchair depends on the model, the brand, and even the retailer. You could save anywhere from one hundred dollars to several hundred, or potentially even more if the model is high-end.

Used electric wheelchairs can sometimes be found by looking for individual sellers on websites like eBay, where people from around the world can list their own used products.

Used Electric Wheelchairs for Free

It’s possible to find free or heavily discounted electric wheelchairs in your local community. Thrift stores like Goodwill, local charities, local businesses, and others may be potential sources of support or even places to find a product.

Try to keep an open mind as you shop and browse around. Sometimes, less conventional methods might be the key to accessing the care your senior needs.

Choosing an Electric Wheelchair

So, which electric wheelchair is the best? Which companies and models should you look for?

With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start! There is no one perfect product that will work for everyone, so be sure to take the time to consider your senior as well as their needs before making any purchases.

What is the best electric wheelchair?

The best electric wheelchair is one that does its job well, fits your senior’s needs, and fits into your price range. That means there isn’t necessarily one perfect chair, but there are a few top contenders. 

Comparing Models

  1. MAJESTIC BUVAN, 2020 Remote Control Electric Wheelchair
    1. Price: $1,999.00
    2. Pros: Features a remote control to make it easy to see and use controls, lined with memory foam for maximum comfort, a lightweight and compact design makes it easy to transport
    3. Cons: The lightweight design might be great for transportation, but it might be a poor option for those who need a more durable or supportive model. 
    4. Click here to view the Amazon listing
  2. Portola Tech, Porto Mobility Ranger Quattro Ultra Exclusive Lightweight Foldable Electric Wheelchair
    1. Price: $2,899.00
    2. Pros: Strong motors to power you effectively on just about any terrain, batteries that allow up to 30 miles of travel in a single charge, joystick turning mechanism makes navigation easy to understand, lightweight design makes transportation a breeze
    3. Cons: The main con for this item is its price; it’s significantly more expensive than many other models. But, this option is highly rated for its durability and comfort, so it may be worth the splurge if you can manage it.
    4. Click here to view the Amazon listing
  3. CTM Mobility Scooter, Compact Mid-Wheel Drive Power Chair
    1. Price: $1,781.00
    2. Pros: Features swing-away armrests and a sturdy chair design, chair frame features a lifetime warranty, uses a joystick to control navigation, features a strong anti-tip wheel design
    3. Cons: The maximum weight for this chair is only 300 lbs, which is low compared to other models (which usually go up to around 400 or more). The sturdy design might be a pro for some, but others might find it difficult to transport.
    4. Click here to view the Amazon listing
  4. GO CHAIR, GO CHAIR Pride Mobility Travel Electric Powerchair
    1. Price: $1,499.00
    2. Pros: Features storage bins under the seat of the chair, a lightweight design to make transportation easy, easy to disassemble for travel, and comes in a variety of contemporary colors
    3. Cons: Also, the weight class (again) is limited to 300 lbs due to the design of the chair itself. The chair also comes in pieces to be assembled, which might not be ideal if you want to avoid a hassle.
    4. Click here to view the Amazon listing

Other Questions and Concerns

When it comes to the reality of handling healthcare-related expenses, things can get complicated.

Especially along with bills and other expenses, the prices of a brand new wheelchair can be difficult to manage! Here are a few more answers that can help you out.

Does Medicare cover wheelchairs?

Medicare Part B (the branch of Medicare that covers medical insurance) does indeed cover power-operated vehicles, including scooters, wheelchairs, and walkers. These important mobility devices are classified as durable medical equipment (DME).

There are some conditions that need to be met for Medicare to cover the brunt of these costs. Generally, a doctor needs to submit a written order stating that the mobility device is necessary. There are also other regulations to ensure that the recipient of the device truly needs it (like measuring the severity of one’s immobility).

After paying a deductible, you can expect to pay only 20% of the cost of the chair. Be sure to check your plan for specifics if this is an option you’re considering.

How much does an electric wheelchair cost?

The price of an electric wheelchair varies from model to model, brand to brand, and even store to store. 

Electric wheelchairs can cost anywhere from $1000 to upwards of $10,000. The majority of models fall in between these two numbers, and there are more affordable options available (like rentals and used models, as we’ve discussed).

Conclusion

Independence and mobility are both precious gifts. Electric wheelchairs give us the power to return these gifts to those who have lost them.

The assistance of a device like an electric wheelchair might be exactly the support that a senior needs to feel like themselves again. They’ll be able to explore their homes as well as the world around them with comfort and ease.

There are ways to make purchasing an electric wheelchair work for you. We hope that you have found this guide informative and that it assists you in making the best choice for your senior.


Sources:

  1.  Medicare’s Wheelchair and Scooter Benefits, The Official U.S. Site for Medicare, www.medicare.gov

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