Maintaining an Active Lifestyle

Around 10% of the world’s population, some 650 million people, live with a disability. But what is classified as a disability? What separates people with a disability from those with a healthy and active lifestyle?

The Census Bureau defines disability status through six types of questions measuring difficulty with hearing, vision, cognition, walking/climbing stairs, self-care, and independent living. Relying on wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs, hospital beds, and other tools designed for limited mobility or function, those living the reality of having a disability desire to maintain some sense of normalcy, whether it stem from an daily communication with those around them or an active lifestyle in the best ways that they can.

Over 20 million people over the age of 18 have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs, making up 7.1% of non-institutionalized people with disabilities. Aside from those people who use a wheelchair, more than 11 million people use canes, walkers, or crutches to get around. And in the United States alone, more than 3 million people (over the age of 15) rely on a wheelchair to move around and keep as much of an active lifestyle as they can.

We have seen an increase in the accommodation levels for those relying on a wheelchair to move around. From push-button entrances and sliding doors to parking accommodations, ramps, public transportation adjustments, and more, wheelchair accessibility has allowed for inclusive travel for those in a wheelchair.

With all of the ins and outs of wheelchair use comes routine wheelchair maintenance. But what can happen that causes a need for wheelchair maintenance? Rigid wheels, brakes, cushions, footrest adjustments, and hand rims are just a few of the things that may need adjusted over time.

In order to keep an active lifestyle of sorts, wheelchairs must be “serviced” every so often to keep smooth mobility intact. Routinely adjusting the wheelchair cushion will allow for extended comfort. Making sure the footrests are positioned properly for the user but can also move when needed can align for comfort of the wheelchair user. Adjusting the wheelchair hand rims can help to avoid discomfort in the hands. Servicing the wheelchair tires can help to avoid a potential flat.

All of these details may seem like small fixes, but to someone in a wheelchair, it makes all of the difference in the world when it comes to mobility and having their version of an active lifestyle.

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