From how to adjust to your new routine to dealing with misconceptions from others, there are some things all people in wheelchairs should know.
And I do mean ALL users.
So, whether you’ve been using a wheelchair your entire life or just recently started, these tips will help make your life easier.
Just keep on reading to learn more!
25 Things All People in Wheelchairs Should Know
When you’re in a wheelchair, it takes time to adjust your daily routine and figure out how to be as independent as possible.
And it’s easy to believe some of the numerous misconceptions about people with disabilities circulating in our society.
But we’re here to help you with our list of 25 things all people in wheelchairs should know.
#1 You Can Travel Wherever You Want
Having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. Travel is more accessible than ever these days, and you can fly with your best manual wheelchair or rent one wherever you go.
Moreover, many vacation sites for wheelchair users have accessible features to accommodate people with disabilities and ensure you have the greatest time of your life.
#2 Wheelchair Accessories Make a Difference
Nowadays, you can choose from tons of manual/power wheelchair accessories. And they do make a difference when it comes to your comfort.
Wheelchair cup holders, lap trays, foam cushions, and wheelchair bags can make your daily life easier and allow you to stay independent, despite your mobility disability.
#3 Public Mirrors Are a Tough Cookie
Unfortunately, mirrors are usually placed too high in public bathrooms to do much good when you’re in a wheelchair.
Since you never know when you may need a mirror to check your make-up, always pack one in your handbag or wheelchair organizer.
#4 Your Hands Need Care
Propelling your chair all day long takes its toll on your hands. Use plenty of moisturizers to protect your skin, or consider getting some wheelchair gloves.
Wheelchair gloves are also great for relieving carpal tunnel syndrome, common in many people with mobility disabilities.
#5 The Bad Days Will Pass
While everybody has bad days when they want to stay in bed and forget their problems, wheelchair users have it worse. Studies confirm it, saying, “disability is the risk factor of depression.”
Remember that the bad days won’t last forever and that your physical disabilities don’t define you. Don’t let depression ruin your chance of having a fulfilling life.
#6 Wheelchairs Are Enormous Handbags
Most people don’t realize how many pockets a wheelchair can have. If you’re smart enough, you can find tiny nooks to store all your personal items and hang a couple of bags/backpacks.
Moreover, wheelchairs are convenient when you’re shopping because your hands won’t get tired carrying all your bags back home.
#7 Be Careful with Your Clothes
Scarfs, dresses, capes, and coats can get caught on the wheels of your travel chair if you are careless and cause an accident. Stay vigilant.
#8 A Wheelchair is a Great Filter
Some people can’t look past the wheelchair and treat you as if you’ve got a disease or mental illness.
In this sense, a wheelchair can help you judge a person’s character very quickly and save you from investing your precious time in relationships that will fail.
#9 Being in a Wheelchair is Sexy
Your sexiness doesn’t disappear just because you’re in a wheelchair. People are still going to be attracted to you and want to date you. Don’t let anyone convince you of the opposite!
#10 Pets Are Great for Anxiety and Depression
You may not feel up to caring for another living creature, but pets can improve your mental health, lower stress levels, and reduce blood pressure.
Mobility assistance dogs can also make life easier for you and call for help if you have an accident. They’re also an excellent way to meet new people.
#11 You Can Still Wear High-Heels
No written rule says you can’t wear high-heel when you’re in a chair. In fact, you reap all the benefits of looking sexy in high-heels without your feet killing you afterward.
#12 Your Posture is Essential
All people in wheelchairs should know how to maintain a good posture. It reduces pressure sores, relieves stress, and makes it easier to control your chair.
#13 Some Clothes Don’t Last Long
It’s easy to rip your pants, skirt, tights, T-shirts, and long coats when they get stuck in your chair’s wheels, backrest, or tubing.
Moreover, you may have to do extra laundry, especially on rainy days when it’s so hard to keep your clothes mud-free.
#14 You Need Your Beauty Sleep
A good night’s sleep can be quite challenging when your injuries don’t allow you to get comfortable in bed. Getting in and out of bed can also be an ordeal.
But sleep is essential for your physical and mental health and not something you should avoid on a regular basis. Try extra cushions, specialized mattresses, and pillows to help you get comfortable.
#15 Your Wheelchair Width Matters
Unfortunately, not all old buildings and homes are wheelchair-accessible. That’s why you should know how wide your wheelchair is to ensure you can access them.
#16 Read the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act spells your rights as a person with a disability. You should read it carefully so that no one can take advantage of you or deny you access.
#17 Having Fun is Obligatory
Life is meaningless if you don’t live it to the fullest by going out, meeting people, and having fun.
No matter your level of disability, you can party, do stupid things, and enjoy yourself.
Furthermore, you’ve got certain perks for being in a wheelchair, such as reduced fare cost, free PA/carer tickets, prime park spots, early boarding, and more.
#18 People Will Always Stare
While it’s rude to stare, people can’t help but be curious when they see a person in a wheelchair. Don’t take it too personally but don’t be afraid to say when someone crosses the limit.
#19 Dating is Possible
Dating people isn’t out of the question if you’re in a wheelchair, despite what some people think. You can date anyone who catches your fancy, be it a wheelchair-bound or an able-bodied person.
And there are plenty of disabled dating sites that can help you find your soulmate.
#20 You Can Have Fulfilling Sexual Life
No matter your degree of disability, you can still have a fulfilling sexual life with your partner. But you’ll have to be brave enough to experiment and modify your definition of “sex.”
#21 You Don’t Have to Answer Stupid Questions
Some people often ask stupid questions about your disability, job, or sex life. It’s not rude not to answer and ignore them completely.
#22 Extreme Sports Aren’t Out of the Question
You can go scuba diving, skiing, sailing, or dancing, despite being in a wheelchair. Plenty of accessible and adaptive sports exist that can give you an adrenaline rush.
#23 Go For Fitted Shirts and Belts
Since you don’t want to look boxy or bulky when sitting down, choose shirts that emphasize your waist. A belt also works miracles for your appearance.
#24 Backpacks Are Better Than Handbags
It can be awkward to hold a handbag in your lap when you’re shopping or going for a walk. And the handbag hides you from view.
On the other hand, a backpack is easy to hang on the back of your chair and can fit more stuff than a purse or a handbag.
#25 You’re Not Alone
Finally, you should know that you aren’t alone and can get help if you struggle with your disability.
Join an online forum, call a hotline, or talk to your friends, but don’t bottle it up inside.
Don’t let depression and anxiety ruin your life or rob you of the opportunity to try new things and meet exciting people.
Let’s us finish with some wise words by Helen Keller:
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
When you have a hard time coping with your disability and daily life, remember these words. Find the open door and be brave enough to step through it.
What do you think about these 25 things all people in wheelchairs should know? Would you like to add anything to the list? Share your experience in the comment section.
- “5 Useful Tips for Wheelchair Users.” 2015. Trivago.com. 2015. https://magazine.trivago.com/5-useful-travel-tips-for-wheelchair-users/.
- “2010 ADA Regulations.” 2011. Ada.gov. 2011. https://www.ada.gov/2010_regs.htm.
- Noh, Jin-Won, Young Dae Kwon, Jumin Park, In-Hwan Oh, and Jinseok Kim. 2016. “Relationship between Physical Disability and Depression by Gender: A Panel Regression Model.” Edited by Xuchu Weng. PLOS ONE 11 (11): e0166238. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166238.
- “Wheelchair Gloves and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.” 2016. Karman® Wheelchairs. March 2, 2016. https://www.karmanhealthcare.com/wheelchair-gloves-and-carpal-tunnel-syndrome/.
Do you have other useful reminders or tips for people in wheelchairs? We’d love to hear them below!