A Foldable Lightweight Wheelchair is the perfect mobility device for anyone travelling or anyone who wants a wheelchair that is easy and lightweight to propel. Not only can you fold it to easily fit within cars and amongst cargo but the light weight of the wheelchair means you can push yourself for longer without tiring yourself.
The foldable lightweight wheelchair was first invented in 1933 by Harry C. Jennings Sr. and his disabled friend Herbert Everest. In 1933, they founded Everest & Jennings, the company went on to became a near monopoly in the wheelchair industry. The “X” bracket folding frame wheelchair made it possible to more easily transport the once heavy and cumbersome wheelchair. This feature went on to revolutionize and influence wheelchair design to this day.
This model has come a long way with various kinds of foldable lightweight wheelchairs now on the market. I have one myself and I can testify to it’s ease of use not just for myself, but for my support workers who help me get around 😊
What is the Lightest Portable Wheelchair?
At only 6.1kgs, the Feather Chair is the lightest wheelchair on the planet. Taking advantage of brand-new materials, the Feather Chair is both super light and durable. Practically everyone can lift this wheelchair into your car, truck or SUV. and is super easy to propel and push.
In Australia, we have two classifications of lightweight wheelchairs, these are; lightweight and ultra lightweight wheelchairs. Wheelchairs that weigh over 16 kilos are considered standard. Lightweight wheelchairs are in the 15 to 16 kilo range; high strength lightweight from 13 to 15 kilos and under 13 pounds are the ultra-lightweight wheelchairs.
What is the Lightest Wheelchair in Australia?
How much does a Lightweight Foldable Wheelchair cost?
Since most lightweight wheelchairs are also folding wheelchairs, they are not as substantial as traditional wheelchairs. This makes them less costly and depends on the material used to make the lightweight foldable wheelchair prices can range anywhere from $150 to $3500.
What are the disadvantages of a Lightweight Wheelchair?
Lightweight wheelchairs offer numerous advantages, such as improved mobility and maneuverability for users, but they also have some disadvantages to consider. These disadvantages can vary depending on the specific model and the user’s needs, but here are some common drawbacks associated with lightweight wheelchairs:
Reduced durability: Lightweight wheelchairs are typically made from lighter materials, which can make them less robust than heavier, more traditional wheelchairs. They may not withstand heavy use or rough terrain as well and may require more frequent maintenance and repairs.
Limited weight capacity: Lightweight wheelchairs are designed to be, well, lightweight, which often results in a lower weight capacity compared to standard wheelchairs. This limitation can be a significant drawback for users who are larger or heavier.
Less stability: The reduced weight and bulk of lightweight wheelchairs can lead to decreased stability, particularly when navigating uneven terrain or performing more active maneuvers. Users may be more prone to tipping or toppling over, which can be a safety concern.
Fewer customization options: Lightweight wheelchairs may offer fewer options for customization compared to standard wheelchairs. Users with complex mobility needs or specific requirements may find it challenging to configure a lightweight wheelchair to meet their individual needs.
Higher cost: Lightweight wheelchairs, especially those made with advanced materials like titanium, can be more expensive than traditional wheelchairs. This cost may be a barrier for some users, especially if insurance coverage is limited.
Limited off-road capability: Lightweight wheelchairs are generally designed for indoor and smooth outdoor use. They are not well-suited for more rugged or off-road conditions. If you require a wheelchair for outdoor activities or rough terrains, a different type of wheelchair may be more appropriate.
Minimal seating options: Some lightweight wheelchair models may have limited seating options in terms of cushioning and positioning features, which can be less comfortable for users who spend extended periods in their wheelchairs.
Are Lightweight Wheelchairs covered by Medicare?
No, Medicare in Australia will not cover the cost of a Lightweight Wheelchair regardless of what some Google Articles might say. Centrelink do offer an Essential Medical Equipment Payment (EMEP) if you use certain equipment in your home, but this does not include Wheelchairs or Mobility Scooters.
Since 2013, Wheelchairs in Australia have been covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) under the category of assistive technology products. The NDIS is a scheme of the Australian Government that funds costs associated with disability.
How can I get my Lightweight Wheelchair covered by NDIS?
First you need to qualify for NDIS funding. You can find out more about the NDIS eligibility requirements and application process here.
Once, you have NDIS funding you need to qualify for level 3 or level 4 assistive technology. To find out more about assistive technology go here. To apply for level 3 or level 4 assistive technology you need to complete the appropriate NDIS assessment form with the help of a qualified assessor or occupational therapist. You will also need a quote for the device from a registered NDIS provider. Then you will lodge this to the NDIS, if you are NDIS managed, or your Plan Manager, if you are Plan Managed, for approval.
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