Roggie

Wheelchair troubles

11 posts in this topic

Hey everybody, I'm sure a great deal of us are in wheelchairs and I'm certain I'm not the only one to have this dilemma.  I just moved into a barrier free apartment but the living room and bedroom have a Berber carpet.  I am on the large side but not quite obese and I have two problems in this topic.  First, with only 1 arm (NOT my pre-stroke predominant arm), I have great difficulty getting anywhere quickly on the carpet.  Second, because of the carpet pad, I believe, if I remain in one spot more than a couple minutes, the tires seem to 'sink' into the carpet, making movement from that spot extremely difficult.

 

Question 1.  Are some wheelchair tires (either material, diameter or profile (shape of the tire) better than others on carpet?

 

Question 2.  Does anyone have any other 'fixes' or reasonable suggestions to make moving on carpeted floors easier?

 

An electric scooter is way out of my budget, I don't own the residence, so I can't remove or replace the carpet and although I can use my feet to move backwards quite easily, my head won't turn far enough around to safely navigate in reverse and for whatever reason, I can't seem to get the foot traction needed to propel myself forward.  My 'good' arm is actually starting to hurt from all the extra work.

 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or remedies any of you have found.

 

Mark (Roggie)

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Hi Mark, I haven't met you before, but was interested in your post.  I'm not in a wheelchair, but do a lot of volunteer work with people who are in wheelchairs.  I have a couple of suggestions for you, but uncertain if they'll be helpful....

 

1) Your apartment building claims it's barrier free.  About 3 blocks away from where I live, there is a similar apartment complex.  Initially the floors were carpeted, but because of the same problem you have, lots of frustration was voiced to the manager.  In a relatively short period of time, the carpets were removed and replaced with laminate wood flooring, making it totally barrier free.  Have you talked with other residents in your building about this problem, because perhaps as a group you can let the management know that it's necessary to address this problem at their expense.

 

(BTW, the long-term care facilities that I'm familiar with have very little carpeting; just indoor/outdoor carpeting at entrances....regular carpeting is too difficult for residents in wheelchairs, and the staff find it much more difficult to clean.)

 

2) Would buying inexpensive heavy-duty clear plastic runners to put over the carpet help?  I think if you (and any visitors) were to avoid the edges, it may be worth a try.  I'd suggest just buying one to begin with, to see if it does work.

 

3) If the carpet or the padding underneath it is thick, I have no idea what the best type of tire would be.....a company that sells wheelchairs, scooters, etc., would have an answer(s).

 

Best of luck, Mark!  :) 

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I commisserate as I use a manual wheelchair, too, and have grown to hate carpet over the last 9 years. You do know that your insurance will pay for a power chair ?   Becky

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Lin,

 

Nice to meet you.  I've lived here a grand total of 4 days now and been busy settling in, but I do intend to talk to other wheelchair-bound residents to see if they've come across fixes for the problem. And I'm not afraid to lead a group of residents to speak with the management - if it seems as though I can demonstrate enough people are having problems with the carpet.

 

As far as a power scooter goes, they've denied 2 requests now.  My ability to walk in therapy using parallel bars or a hemi-walker seems to make them think a power scooter isn't needed for what they consider a possible short term problem.  The second anniversary of my 2nd, more serious stroke is approaching and I plan to make another request.  I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I'm not holding my breath.

 

Mark (Roggie)

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Becky1,

 

Because of some moderate success in therapy, 2 requests have been denied.  I intend to ask again soon after the 2nd anniversary of my 2nd stroke approaches later this month.  The fact that I was walking without assistance or a device after the first stroke may make them a bit reluctant, too.

 

Mark (Roggie)

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Hi Mark, I was only in a chair while at the hospital. so I may be incorrect here, but wider tyres at higher pressure may be helpful on the carpet. Also certainly talk to your landlord/building manager about replacing/removing the carpet. Even if you do get walking again the sort of carpet that traps wheelchairs also traps feet and will make getting about hard.  I hate visiting my sister's block because of this. Thankfully the floors within her apartment are fine but the carpet in the corridors always makes me feel unstable.

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Hi, Mark. I have the same kind of dilemma going on with ins. In Aug., I received a new power chair, paid for by Medicare. You are allowed a new one every 5 yrs., but I waited 6. I was advised not to apply for another AFO, and knee brace, which I also needed, at the same time I requested a new chair, because Medicare would balk at paying for devices to ride and walk at the same time. But I received both in Aug. Fast forward a month, and I'm with another therapy group, working on walking, and it's apparent that neither the AFO or knee brace is doing what it is supposed to do.  So, I go to an orthotic place, which recommends a full-leg brace.  Medicare pays for one brace per year, which I've already had. And, I have a power chair for back-up. So what do you think my chances are of approval? Yeah, me too. Anyway, it has been suggested to me to wait to re-apply, if denied, until the new fiscal year begins, this Jan. 1. So, hang in there, Mark, and keep re-applying. Sooner or later, they'll hear you. Best, Becky       

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Heathber, as it ends up, the facility where I get therapy, medical attention, etc.,  has a social worker there and some portion of a law governing housing for disabled people sets up a mechanism (for updating or making changes to the apartment to make it 'safer' and reduce barriers for us) that will allow the management to change the carpeting to an indoor/outdoor type, or perhaps put in a wood laminate floor in the areas I'm having trouble with, so I may not have to deal with my chair tires at all.

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Roggie,

 

After my hospital stay with my stroke I came home in a manual chair and I could only use one side of my body my left side was paralyzed and still is and probably will be the rest of my life..... With that I went early on to a power scooter.... The VA got one for me and over time now I got more so I know nothing about chairs never had one and can't use those walkers with one hand.... I still drive my old Ford Explorer and carry my scooter inside with a lift the VA had installed.....

 

Seems to me I am better of in my condition using the scooters to get around everywhere I have to go or have to be with no help although my wife goes with me on my appointments at the VA all the time.... It works great when we go to the casino too I don't have to wait for her to help me get around anywhere..... :roflmao:

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Heathber, as it ends up, the facility where I get therapy, medical attention, etc.,  has a social worker there and some portion of a law governing housing for disabled people sets up a mechanism (for updating or making changes to the apartment to make it 'safer' and reduce barriers for us) that will allow the management to change the carpeting to an indoor/outdoor type, or perhaps put in a wood laminate floor in the areas I'm having trouble with, so I may not have to deal with my chair tires at all.

 

Great news, Mark!   :thumbs up: 

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