Learning To Adjust To Your New Life As A Wheelchair User

July 22, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

Lifestyle changes can certainly be difficult. No matter what the change, whether you’re starting a new job, moving into a new home, or even driving a new car, you’ll need to learn to make some adjustments. This is even more true when the change is something that you didn’t choose, like becoming a wheelchair user. There are a number of reasons that one may have to use a wheelchair. The need could arise suddenly, after an accident such as a spinal cord injury (SCI), or it could happen gradually over time, as in the case of a progressively deteriorating illness. Whatever the reason, it’s not something you planned or wished for, and it may not be easy to learn to adjust. Fortunately, however, it’s not impossible, and there are resources available to help you as a wheelchair user. Here are a few point which you may find helpful.

  • Acceptance

Accepting your new situation is an important challenge to overcome. This doesn’t mean that you need to give up hope, and resign yourself to leading an unfulfilling life. With help from loved ones and professionals, you can indeed live a rewarding life. But accepting that your life has changed, and accepting that fact is the first step towards learning to adjust to being a wheelchair user.

  • Do some strength-building exercises

You may have lost the use of your legs, but you’re going to be doing a whole lot more with your arms and upper torso. It’s not necessarily to become a bodybuilder, but some exercises will really help you here. You’ll be using your arms and upper body to move and control the wheelchair, so building some strength in that area will be a great benefit.

  • Research and get some helpful accessories

There are a number of accessories available to help wheelchair users. Some provide additional comfort when you’re in the wheelchair, like cushions which help prevent pressure sores. Others give additional safety and stability, such as anti-tippers which keep your wheelchair from tipping over. Lifting devices, including our own Pants Up Easy products, help with moving in and out of the chair, as well as dressing, which is a particular challenge for wheelchair users.

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out for support

One of the most common challenges for new wheelchair users is losing their independence. It may not be easy to ask people close to you to help with things that used to be basic daily activities, but it may be necessary, at least for the time being. Over time, you’ll learn to adjust more and do more for yourself, but for now, you may need to accept more support than you’re used to.

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