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My mom is still ambulatory but can only walk extremely short distances around the house. She had back surgery for a ruptured disc 4.5 years ago which decreased the falling episodes but she still suffers from back pain. The good news is she doesn't suffer from pain when she sits but the bad news is she doesn't exercise enough and struggles to walk even 100 feet without getting winded. She has a walker which ok when we are going to the doctor because she can sit as soon as we get to the office but taking her on outings now is nearly impossible.

We started looking at wheelchairs yesterday and have narrowed the types to either the upgraded transport wheelchair with the hand brakes and slightly larger wheels or a standard wheelchair. We eliminated any power version because she suffers from dementia and would not remember how to operate this type of chairs.

As I look into the future and recognize that she will probably wind up in a facility in a wheelchair, is it better to get a transport wheelchair or regular type now?

By the way, her insurance will not pay anything now towards a purchase of a wheelchair since she can still walk.

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I found several wheelchairs of various types at our hospice's thrift store. Apparently medicare covers these at some time, and people will donate them to the hospice. Be sure to check your medical charity thrift stores for a used model! When I went, they even had a hospital bed that worked for just $200. Wish I had bought it then!
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Just a note, post stroke, mom did fine in her wheelchair at the NH propelling it with her feet! PTs are incredibly smart people. This is one of the great things about nh care; they do this for a living!
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We looked into our options when my Dad had a small fracture in his hip. It was painful for him to walk, but didn't need a wheelchair permanently. However, knowing that he probably would eventually, we invested in a regular wheelchair. Medicare would only cover a rental for one month so that's why we decided to buy. We looked at medical supply stores and found that they are absurdly overpriced. We decided on a model at the med supply store, a $700 price tag, and went home and looked for it online. Found the exact same wheelchair, brand new, on Amazon for $156 delivered! It was the same cost as a transport chair . . . we got a Mercedes for the price of a Chevy! And we also bought a black diaper bag from Target to carry things he would need. It doesn't look like a diaper bag and carrys much more than a regular wheelchair bag.
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I have a transport chair for my mom and it's been worth its weight in gold! I also used it for my dad when he was alive, so we've been using it for 12+ years. But like others have said, you need someone to push the transport chair.

The other thing to think about is weight. Can you get a regular wheelchair in and out of a car? If not, then a transport chair might be a better choice. They're much lighter than a standard wheelchair.
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My mom currently uses a walker with a seat and that works great when we go to doctor visits. The issue is when we want to go out that would require more walking like shopping or graduation ceremony, etc. She cannot walk very far and when she does walk it is at a snails pace. So sitting frequently is just not practical.
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Would she be able to use a Rollater? That's a walker with a seat. She would need to be able to push it, put the brakes on when she sat in it.
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So much depends on if she wants to be able to wheel herself around in her new chair. A transport chair needs someone to push. If she going to be moving about herself, a regular wheelchair would be the choice.
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If your mom is not yet sitting in a chair all the time, I would opt for a transport chair (lightweight and easy to get in and out of th he car) but get a comfy cushion for her to sit on. Have someone check her oxygen saturation while walking.
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