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Wheelchair travel


daju22

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I have to disagree. A "transport chair" has a number of disadvantages.

 

-it is harder to push across carpet, much less grass, gravel, brick or cobblestones or other surfaces found ashore in most ports.

 

-it is difficult if not impossible to roll up or down a curb or 1-2 steps, unlike a large wheeled wheelchair. This is critical in ports other than the USA where curb cuts are the exception and most shops have at least 1-2 steps.

 

-when the person is sitting in it, it is impossible for them to push themselves anywhere, even to turn around the chair and face in another direction. This puts the person in the wheelchair entirely at the mercy of the "pusher" and pretty dependent. Of course if the person can stand up and walk anyway this is less of a concern, but for someone who cannot walk, or cannot walk easily, this can be a major crimp in their enjoyment of their holiday.

 

A light-weight standard wheelchair (like a Breezy) with a large wheel in the back and quick release hubs can be purchased for around $300-800. It will be better constructed and last longer than any transport chair. Check out these prices and features:

http://www.spinlife.com/critpath/match.cfm?type=1&Patient_weight=any&Frame_Type=231&Frame_con=any&mfg=any&price=any&medicare=any&pagenum=1&sort=p

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Thanks Splinter,

 

 

Everyone's situation is different. My husband can walk aboard ship and for short distances on land. He also walks very slowly. He tires out and this limits the distance we can walk. I wanted a chair that I can lift easily. He can also help to lift and can stand up, walk, and we can push the chair over uneven surfaces.

 

On our last cruise, the dock was a very long walk for him. Thank goodness for the bicycle transport people who gave us a ride back to the ship in Cozumel.

 

If he were confined to a wheelchair and I had to push him all the time I would never get a transport chair.

 

We are very fortunate in that he is not severely disabled.

 

I appreciate your thoughts.

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Hi Judy,

I wanted to weigh in here, suggesting that you may want to look at some of the very lightweight wheelchairs. We had a transport chair for my Dad, and it was really difficult for him and for us. He could stand, and walk VERY slowly, but he couldn't move once he was in that chair. He had to stay wherever someone parked him, as it was difficult for him to get out of the chair on his own.

I have a neurological problem, with my legs, and cannot stand or walk for any normal distances. I had used my Dad's chair when I first became unable to walk far, and it really was awful to be so dependent. We now have a very lightweight chair, with large wheels in the back, and it's great. I can lift it myself, and put it in the trunk of the car. I can maneuver myself for short distances, and turn around. One time my DH parked me in the men's department, while he was looking at pants............I almost suffocated being all surrounded by wool pants........I was very glad to be able to move myself. We have taken the chair on cruises as well as many land trips. I also now have an electric scooter, which we also travel with, to use on the ship, and the chair on shore excursions.

I agree with Splinter that it is very hard to push a transport chair over what seems like miles of carpeting on a ship, and over the raised areas at the doorways leading out onto the decks. It is also hard to push in most Caribbean ports, as the pavement seems to be very uneven, broken, or non existant.

Perhaps you could rent one of each type of chair, just for a couple of days, at your local medical supply place.........or even just go there and try them out, to see which would best suit your circumstances.

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I have to agree with the other responses, a travel chair has major limitations. It may be lighter to lift, but it is significantly harder to push even in the best of conditions and I assume you will be pushing it much more than you are lifting it. Not having to lift my husband's chair in and out of the car is one of the reasons why I like to cruise.

 

 

If you are concerned about lifting the chair, why not rent one (or even a scooter) for the cruise? There are several vendors such as CareVacations that deliver chairs and scooters directly to the ship. Once aboard ship there is no need to lift the chair and at port there is almost always someone to assist.

 

Also, may I suggest that you have someone teach you the right to lift and maneuver a wheelchair if you have not done so already. There are several tricks that make it easier.

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Thank you DesrtDrmr and Dale,

 

 

I appreciate your time and thoughts and giving me your insights about the companion chair. I am having a hard time deciding as my husband is very active and helps mow the yard and do housework. He can easily get out of a chair and I told him that he may be pushing me at times. At least the chair I'm looking at has 12 inch rear wheels. It probably would cost me as much to rent a chair as to buy it.

 

Any more thoughts on this matter? Loved the stuck in the pants story:D ! I know it wasn't funny at the time though. I hated to see people at rehab just sitting in their wheelchairs waiting and waiting for someone to take them back to their rooms.

 

We are going to South America and I think the ports are the same there-broken concrete etc. Don't know what I'm doing yet.

 

Thanks again,

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Also, may I suggest that you have someone teach you the right to lift and maneuver a wheelchair if you have not done so already. There are several tricks that make it easier.

 

__________________

Dale

 

 

Who can teach me how to lift a wheelchair properly? Noone has ever mentioned it.

I know that when lifting something heavy you should bend your knees-not your back, but is there something else? Another trick?

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Judy:

 

My husband went to Kessler Institute for rehab after a major MS episode and they taught me howto push the chair up/down curbs and other obstacles without hurting myself. The also taught me to lift the chair and brace it with my hip when putting it in the car so I do not injure my back. Both were important since my husband is tall so his chair is larger than most.

 

I also learned "other" tricks I have learned from various places some of which are obvious and others aren't. For example:

 

- Put the brakes on chair when lifting the chair into the car. Its much

easier when the wheels do not move

 

- The chair is much easier to push if the tires are properly inflated.

 

- Go backwards when going over cobblestones, gravel or uneven ground

because the large, rear wheels do not get caught the way the smaller,

front ones do. I figured this out myself when we were in Sweden. You

should have seen me going down narrow streets backwards with my

daughter acting as a lookout. It wasn't easy, but we did manage to get a

closer look at the old section of the City than from a cab.

 

Note: this may be an issue if you take a travel chair to

South America.

 

That's all I can think of right now.

 

Good luck. And please tell us about accessibility in South America if you go. Its on out short list of where we would really like to go next.

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I have to agree with what everybody else has said here re: the "transport chair". In a word they are horrible and I've had tons of complaints about them. The big problem is that they are extremely difficult to push. It takes more effort to push them than it does a lightweight manual wheelchair, and by the end of the cruise you will be pooped. They are also pretty shoddy as far as workmanship goes -- very easy to break. (you get what you pay for). And there is the maneuverability factor for curbs and obstructions which you *will* find. It's nill on the transport chair but do-able in a lightweight manual chair.

 

Candy

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There is an ultra light wheelchair that weights approx 18 lbs. It has the large wheels in the back and is easy to move and push. Please, do not get the champion chair because you do need a champion to handle it.

 

I also have a neuo problem. I find that if I use a scooter on board and a wheelchair on land I am happy and can do things. If you are flying you must info the airline but it will not cost extra for you to take mobility aids.

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Judy, having done the South American cruise with a lightweight but large rear wheeled wheelchair, I can not image using anything else. Virtually no curb cuts, many places where there was 1-4 steps to enter shops, etc., lots of cobblestones, rough brick, gravel, sand or rough grass it would be a nightmare with a travel chair. We went everywhere we wanted to go. Our wheelchair has quick-release hubs, so it is very easy to remove the wheels to get the chair into a small taxi trunk, and we often used vans where they lifted my mother in and out (no lift vans most places).

 

I get tired just pushing a manual chair around the ship, and on carpet in the ship a travel chair can tip if you push on it too hard trying to get over a threshold or those "joints" in the hallways. I am leaving soon on my 12th cruise with my parents (I help my mother) and it will be their 30th....so we are quite experienced at this. Whenever possible we take our power wheelchair for use on the ship, and use the manual chair for all shore excursions (and as a backup for any chair breakdowns). We have a Quickie II, but there are other cheaper chairs (as you can see above) that are similar in price to a travel chair that are much better in design and even lighter.

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Splinter,

 

Thank you for all your suggestions. On a different note, I just noticed your next sailing to Hawaii! We are considering HAL, Princess, or Celebrity to Hawaii from LA or San Diego. I hope that you post a review of your trip. Right now, leaning toward Celebrity because of the Thalassatherapy pool. Have never cruised on Princess, but was on Royal C., Celeb, and will soon sail on HAL.

Thanks,

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Will be checking out NCL's Pride of Aloha in a few weeks. I know the ship is just a re-do, but I'm excited by the itin as it's very shore intensive. Should be very interesting when Pride of America debuts next June (same itin, just new ship). Pride of America ws suppose to be their first ship on this new itin, but it sank in the shipyards in Germany after a storm.

 

Candy

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We went RT from San Diego to Hawaii on the Statendam last year (March) and had a very good time. It is perfect for us as we live in Southern California, so no need to fly at all, making it much easier to take both the power and manual wheelchair. We have also done several Mexican Rivera trips both out of LA and San Diego on HAL and RCCL.

 

This will be our first Princess trip since 2000. We were not too happy with Princess due to the very limited number of cabins they have for 3 that are accessible. This is why we are giving the Island Princess a try on our trip (in less than a month!!!). Will definitely report back here.

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