Gift ideas for wheelchair users
The holidays, birthdays, or special occasions can be difficult for gift-givers who may struggle to find the most useful, but entertaining present for their loved one. The gift-giving process may be further complicated when the recipient is living with a mobility concern that requires them to use a wheelchair. Wheelchair users may benefit from some of the following gifts:
Individuals who use a wheelchair, either full-time or part-time, often experience upper back, neck, and shoulder pain. This may be the result of propelling their wheelchair or sometimes working in awkward postures and positions. Wheelchair users can use heated (reusable) neck and shoulder wraps to relieve stiffness, tension, and pain in this area.
These add-ons are a great feature for wheelchair users who are constantly on-the-go. Totes are a good option for individuals who want to safely carry their belongings while they travel. This keeps all your items conveniently stored while you move between places.
Voice recognition programs
Not all individuals have upper body impairments, such as loss of motion or strength in their arms. However, some full-time wheelchair users may be paraplegic or hemiplegic, meaning they may have little to no function in one or both of their arms. This means tools like voice recognition programs can help with activities like texting, typing, navigating with a GPS on their phone, and more. This can assist with both leisure and work-related activities.
Wheelchair users may have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep due to one or more health concerns. Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile can assist in promoting relaxation before bedtime and establishing a consistent sleep routine. These same essential oils (along with others) can be used during the day to manage stress levels and enhance feelings of calmness. Similarly, essential oils such as spearmint and lemon can improve alertness during the morning hours. You can get wheelchair users individual vials of essential oils, a diffuser to disperse them throughout their home, or a plug-in wall unit to circulate the aroma within a certain room or small space such as a closet. Individuals may also prefer small necklaces or pendants to keep the smell (and relaxation) with them wherever they travel to.
Cushioned mattress topper
Sleep concerns can also stem from having an uncomfortable mattress. Perhaps even more than other people, individuals who use wheelchairs are in need of restorative, rejuvenating sleep to allow their body time to heal and replenish energy sources for the next day. Individuals who are full-time wheelchair users and don’t have the option of getting up and stretching their bodies will need a comfortable place to lay down and offload pressure from their spine, neck, head, legs, and other weight-bearing parts of the body. Getting them a new mattress may be an expensive gift, but you can make their current mattress more comfortable with the addition of an egg crate, cushioned mattress topper, or heated mattress pad.
Gift cards for wheelchair-friendly experiences
Loved ones of those who are in wheelchairs may assume that they won’t benefit from activity-related gifts. However, many people in wheelchairs live just as, if not, more active lives than individuals who are not in wheelchairs. You can look for wheelchair-accessible opportunities such as national parks, campsites, and beaches. Another good idea is vacation spots that are particularly known for their wheelchair-friendly amenities, such as large cities or islands.
Individuals who are frequently in their wheelchair may have trouble pulling up to certain tables or finding spots where they are comfortable working. To avoid this problem, lap trays with cushioned bottoms offer a solid surface for them to work from. This can allow them to use a laptop, write on paper, play a board game/cards, or engage in a tabletop hobby.
Winter gloves are a good gift for anyone, but especially wheelchair users whose hands may tire or get cold from self-propelling in poor weather conditions. For year-round use, leather gloves are another good option. These will prevent individuals from developing calluses or blisters from constant contact with the wheel rim.
Spending all day in a wheelchair can be painful, as we have mentioned. Due to awkward postures or improper wheelchair accommodations, individuals may prefer soft, supportive amenities to make their set of wheels more comfortable. One of these options is a wheelchair cushion, back pad, or lap pad. These can offload pressure on the bony parts of the body that are constantly in contact with the wheelchair for long periods of time.
Wireless headphones or earbuds
Cords of any kind can pose a hazard to individuals in wheelchairs, as they are at risk of getting caught in the spokes and interfering with the function of their chair. Individuals may use headphones to speak on the phone to others, listen to music or podcasts, or follow GPS navigation while out in the community. For this reason, wireless headphones or wireless earbuds can be a wonderful gift for someone in a wheelchair.
Wheelchair users may have difficulty navigating certain areas due to low light and poor visibility. A mounted flashlight somewhere on the armrest of the wheelchair can assist in illuminating the area in front of the wheelchair for improved sight and steering. This will keep wheelchair users safe and help them avoid any obstacles or barriers that may impede their path.
Electric wheelchair control panel cover
Individuals who use electric wheelchairs or power chairs of any kind need protection for their equipment as they navigate outdoors during certain weather conditions. Either homemade or store-bought panel covers will assist in keeping their mobility device’s mechanisms and power supply safe and fully-functioning despite what is going on outside.
Cell phone mount
Using a wheelchair means you need to focus on the environment around you in order to stay safe at all times. Whether you are propelling the wheelchair yourself or you are pushed by a caregiver, you may want a cell phone mount so you can view and use your phone with ease. It is important to mention that you should not try to do two things at once, e.g. propel your wheelchair and use your phone. However, if you must have it positioned in front of you (for example if you are using it as a GPS), you may want a convenient mount. This will help prevent strain or undue trauma on small joints such as the wrist and fingers.
As you can see, there are many gift options for individuals who are in wheelchairs. Each of these options is highly personalized, since some may be more beneficial for certain people than others would. It comes down to knowing what your loved one prefers and needs for the comfort and successful use of their wheelchair.