Manual wheelchairs, although a less common sight than the very popular mobility scooter, are still the choice for some individuals and as plenty of wheelchairs are manually manoeuvred, either by the user or by assistance from another person they require a significant amount of effort when compared to a device which is completely motor driven.
Although a lot of floor surfaces make things easier for a wheelchair user, one type of surface that can pose a few problems is carpeted floors as they can make the job of moving a wheelchair across the carpet more difficult, it can require more effort for the person moving the wheelchair, this will be dependant of the type of carpet and to an observer it may not look too different but whoever is actually needing to move a wheelchair across a carpeted surface will often feel the extra effort required.
Although many public and private buildings do quite a lot to make their buildings as accessible as they can, there are still lots of places that may not understand that small differences like the actual flooring type can make quite a difference to a wheelchair user.
This is understandable as many people might immediately think or ramps, lifts, wide enough spaces to manoeuvre, automatic doors etc when thinking about accessibility, but it can be the less obvious things like carpeting and whether there is any in place or not and the type in place that can make a difference to how easy or difficult a situation may become for a wheelchair user while moving across a floor.
Although these difficulties can arise when needing to move through buildings other than your own home, you at least have the choice of being able to choose the right type of flooring within your own home, funds permitting of course, but this is at least one place where you can improve a situation relatively easy with wood, laminate, tile or lino flooring.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t choose to carpet your floors if you prefer carpets, and some carpets wont cause the same problems as others, it can also make a difference how professionally a carpet is laid, if it is stretched out properly and a professional job is done so that you don’t get ripples appearing then this will make a difference to how well the wheelchair passes over it.
If you don’t like the thought of wood, laminated or other flooring that may seem less homely and a bit cold, especially during our cooler months here in Britain, don’t force yourself to choose and live with this type of flooring, carpets are cosier and what a lot of people are already used to, but just make sure that you are selective of the type of carpet when choosing, that way you can still have comfortable and cosy flooring that lends itself to when you need to pass over it using your wheelchair.
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