Should You Rent a Wheelchair?

How to Get Around out of Town

Grandma get on the wheelchair and the grandchild
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Many people who are disabled are able to walk short distances, but can't handle walking all day while on vacation or while attending special events, like weddings. You might not necessarily need to use a wheelchair to get around all the time, so what do you do when you need to use a wheelchair for a finite amount of time?

Have you considered renting a wheelchair? Rentals allow you to have all the benefits of a wheelchair without actually owning one. Many different models, including power chairs and scooters, are available for rental nearly anywhere you can buy a wheelchair.

Where to Find Wheelchair Rentals

In instances of travel, if you're using a travel agent, ask them about wheelchair, power chair or scooter rentals. A travel agent can arrange to have your wheelchair or mobility aid waiting at your destination when you arrive. Many resorts, spas, and vacation home rental agencies are able to provide wheelchair drop offs and pick ups.

If you're traveling and making arrangements yourself, check with your hotel or vacation rental home for nearby businesses that offer wheelchair and mobility aid rentals. Look for medical and hospital supply shops and bike and golf cart rental shops. Many tourist destinations, like museums, have wheelchairs available at customer service. Call in advance to request a rental, if possible.

Long Term Vs. Short Term Rentals

Long term wheelchair rentals usually offer users more choices than short term rentals. They usually require the renter to sign a contract. Long term rentals may also be cheaper to rent per day than short term rentals. In addition, you may also be able to rent other equipment, like ramps or power lifts.

A short-term rental typically last for a day to less than a week. A day-long rental usually doesn't require a contract, but they might require a security deposit in addition to the rental fee. Short-term rental agreements often vary from vendor to vendor.

Before You Rent

Before you rent a wheelchair, power chair or scooter, be aware of the total cost and security deposit. In most cases, it's less expensive to buy a wheelchair instead of renting one. Sometimes the cost of a rental for a week or more is the same as the wheelchair's price tag.

Inspect the wheelchair for any problems or damage. Report any issues to the vendor immediately or else you risk losing your security deposit due to someone else's damage. If possible, take the wheelchair out for a test drive. If it runs on batteries, make sure they're fully charged. You don't want to get all the way to your destination only to find out the battery is dead or the seat is uncomfortable.

You might want the wheelchair to be collapsible or easily taken apart for transportation. Unless you have an SUV with a roomy trunk, certain models might not fit. Wheelchairs have weight limits for a reason. Make sure you know yours. If you add a child to your lap, it may make it difficult to get around or move at all.

You might also want to ask the vendor if they will allow you to exchange your rental for a different model without charging extra. Many vendors will offer to drop off a different model if the one you chose doesn't suit you.

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