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Does Being in a Wheelchair Shorten Your Life?

Most people keep asking if being in a wheelchair will shorten their lifespan. Well, the answer is no, being in a wheelchair does not shorten life. Losing an important part of yourself is an overwhelming and frightening experience. 

It is completely natural to feel a big deal of anger and grief at first. You’re mourning that life you once lived and you are now forced to cope with new changes. These feelings will be strong and intense, feel free to feel them. Changes such as these force people to change their self-image which is not easy. A support system is very important to healing; seek help from a doctor, counselor, or family and friends.

Today, there are many ways a person in a wheelchair can help him or herself. Firstly, accepting the mobility loss and coping with the challenges that come with a disability can help ensure a healthy and positive outlook. Also, there are strong support organizations and websites that are in place today to help wheelchair users to adjust to their circumstances.

There are a lot of things you can do that can help make living easier for you. As a wheelchair user, you can help yourself and live an easy and comfortable life when you know that your lifespan is not in any way affected by you being in a wheelchair. This article is meant to gather and share information to help people in a wheelchair live a healthy and happy life. It is also meant to help wheelchair users know about the deadly dangers that come with being in a wheelchair.  

1. Moving Through Stairways

You should only go through stairways with the help of another person. You need to create your safe method that is best for your present condition with the help of your healthcare giver. Stairways, curbs, and steps are very dangerous obstacles that all wheelchair users must be aware of. Research shows that the stairway is among the major causes of wheelchair patient deaths. When you face such obstacles, try to find an easy way around them like using ramps, curb cuts, or designated disabled lifts which are now available in most modern buildings.

2. Know The Road Rules

Most of the wheelchair deaths occurred as a result of an accident. Most people who use their wheelchair for outdoor purposes get knocked down by drunk drivers. In case you use your wheelchair for outdoor movements, ensure that you abide by the basic traffic rules and regulations in busy places. Drive on the appropriate side of the pathway or hallway. Look at both directions at an intersection of a driveway to ensure that no one is coming.  

Announce yourself at blind corners or closed doors by pressing the horn to avoid colliding with other road users. Reduce the rate at which you use your mobility device if your vision or any other sense is impaired. Some people who are wheelchair-bound, including those that suffer from motor skills issues, may find it hard to use advanced mobility devices like the power wheelchair. Safety depends entirely on your alertness and responsiveness to sight dangerous situations.

3. Know The Basic Wheelchair Safety Tips

As the world ages and those in it live longer, people utilize wheelchairs for a large number of reasons. This device is a safe mobility device and being in it does not shorten the lifespan of its user. However, to be safe and comfortable in a wheelchair, one must be careful and apply all safety tips that come with using such a device. Using a mobility device is indeed very easy for most people, but there are some tricky scenarios that we need to pay great attention to be safe. 

Nevertheless, there is a wide range of wheelchair safety tips you will want to know about and follow to ensure that you are using your wheelchair the right way. Knowing the basic wheelchair safety tips and abiding by them will help reduce wheelchair accidents that could lead to severe injuries, and maybe death.

4. Know Your Center Of Gravity

Know your Center-of-Gravity when using your mobility device. Most activities often require the person in the wheelchair to reach or bend when moving in and out of their wheelchair. These movements do not reduce the lifespan of the user but cause a change in center-of-gravity, weight distribution, and overall balance of the wheelchair.

When leaning, reaching, bending forward, or sideways, it is very important to utilize the casters as a means of maintaining balance and stability. Finding your right balance is important for your safety while in a wheelchair. At first, you’ll want to utilize the casters to maintain your stability and balance. Practice doing some number of activities such as reaching, bending, and getting in and out of the wheelchair. All of these frequent movements will lead to a weight change of the wheelchair.

To know and create your safety limits, practice reaching, bending and transfer activities in different combinations; however, make sure you are not alone, ask for help until you know how to do it yourself without needing help from anyone. Once you get more comfortable, you’ll be able to utilize your mobility device more safely and avoid deadly accidents.

5. Bending Backward

When you have to grab something by bending backward, you’ll want to place your wheelchair as close to that object as possible. Utilize the casters in such a way that they get extended from both drive wheels to establish a long wheelbase. Reach far back as much as your arm can go without changing your present sitting position. Please, try as much as you can not to bend the wheelchair backward as this may tilt the chair and cause a fatal fall that could lead to injuries or worse.

6. Bending Forward

Please pay close attention to this. First, you should know that you must never try to reach for an item if you will have to position your upper body in a forward position while sitting in your wheelchair. This is very dangerous and can cause fatal injuries (falling on your head might cause death). Rather, it will be much better to position both casters, extending them away from both drive wheels, then activate the wheel-lock function before trying to reach forward towards an object.

7. Tipping the Wheelchair

When attempting to tip your wheelchair, ensure that you have a helper around to help hold the backside of the mobility device (a non-detachable part). Ensure that whoever is helping you signal you before tipping the mobility device, and ensure you lean back to add stability. Be sure that your both hands and feet are completely clear off the wheels or any other pinch areas.

8. Preventing Accidents

Tipping over and falling are both common accidents that wheelchair users face daily. For instance, you can fall while trying to make your mobility device go faster, on slippery surfaces, unlocked brakes, on a rough surface, or when you get in contact with a large bump with both wheels that causes the wheelchair to tip over and fall. All of these can cause severe injuries. To avoid your chair from tipping and falling, the tipping gear must be secure at all times and you should pay close attention to your speed level on tough surfaces and around tight corners. Being safe in your wheelchair is very important!

9. Outdoor Use

Certain wheelchairs are specifically manufactured and designed for outdoor usage. Nevertheless, you should always be very careful and stay clear of bad surfaces and climatic conditions that are not friendly to outdoor wheelchair use.

Avoid sandy surfaces as much as you can. Even a paved surface with a little amount of sand around it can cause a wheelchair to become unstable, spin around and tip over. This can happen fast, mostly with motorized wheelchairs. To stop this from happening in the first place, avoid all sandy surfaces by going through only accessible areas.

Also, avoid all wet surfaces and puddles. Going through puddles with a motorized mobility device can cause the entire wheelchair to get wet, spin, and tip, causing an accident. It will be best to avoid all the wet surfaces and go around it instead. In case it is raining and you must go out, proceed with care and at a good pace. When utilizing outdoor ramps, ensure that you carefully check the state of the ramp for slippery areas, uneven surfaces, holes, and other barriers on your way.  

Conclusion

An individual can become disabled through a deteriorating medical condition, an unexpected illness, or even an accident. These sudden changes will dramatically disrupt the life you once lived. Everything becomes different when you are in a wheelchair, but it does not shorten life.

Losing control of your bodily functions or coping with limited mobility can lead to depression and sometimes self-doubt (but it doesn’t lead to early death). These emotions are all normal and they must be properly examined and handles to accept the new condition. The truth is, things will become different but different does not have to be bad. 

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