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Look Beyond the Price Tags: Making Smart Mobility Purchases Using Essential Buyer Awareness

An elderly lady with fully white hair in wheelchair giving a thumbs up to her care giver standing next to her. Both smiling at each other.

You’ve probably heard the saying “buyer beware” before. It’s that feeling you get when you’re shopping for something, like clothes. You start thinking about the occasion, the weather, and whether it’s the right color for the season. You also wonder how long you can wear it comfortably. But no matter how much you think things through, sometimes things just don’t turn out as expected, and you end up feeling like you made the wrong choice. And this common struggle with sufficient buyer awareness becomes especially relevant and impactful when it comes to the mobility device market. It cannot and should not be the end users’ sole responsibility to try and figure it all out. And Braze is here to help every end user who may feel lost with all the essential information they should look out for when shopping for mobility devices.

Adaptive and assistive technology can really change the game for people who use wheelchairs, making a big difference in their quality of life, independence, and mobility. This blog isn’t about saying, “be careful, you’ll run into problems no matter what.” Instead, it’s shedding light on the often overlooked value with proactive measures that can be taken to boost buyer awareness in order to make informed choices that best serve the buyer’s interest.

And the first step to optimizing buyer awareness is asking the right questions to best understand your options, just in case you face issues with your wheelchair or other assistive devices. When you’re getting a wheelchair, it’s important to ask the right questions to make sure it’s the right fit for your needs and preferences.

Navigating Wheelchair Adaptations and Considerations

White puzzles with one empty slot where a blue puzzle piece with wheelchair icon in white held by a hand to be in the motion of fitting inside of that slot.

Which wheelchair are you using?

If it’s a manual wheelchair, you need to be cautious about adding certain extras because there might not be enough space for them. For instance, you can attach backpacks or oxygen tanks to the wheelchair, but there might not be room for other assistive and adaptive devices. On the other hand, if you have a power wheelchair, there’s generally more space on the base and around it, allowing you to add more adaptive and assistive devices as needed.

How can you adjust your wheelchair?

Some wheelchairs are designed to tilt or stand, while others can lean forward and backward. When you’re looking for assistive and adaptive devices, you have to consider where you can mount them safely without causing any damage due to the wheelchair’s movements.

What’s the weight limit of your wheelchair?

This is crucial for safety. If you only use the wheelchair for your own mobility, it’s pretty straightforward. But if you have oxygen tanks, backpacks, additional medical equipment, or any assistive and adaptive devices, they can quickly add to the weight. This extra weight might affect how easily your wheelchair moves and turns.

Do you have a warranty or insurance?

If you do, it’s essential to know the duration and what it covers. This information is vital in case your wheelchair gets damaged from regular wear and tear or due to the addition of adaptive and assistive devices and medical equipment.

Assessing Wheelchair Technology Compatibility

Men in suit sitting on the further side of the table speaking to the men in shirt sitting in a wheelchair across.

1. Is your wheelchair tech-friendly?

  • Do you know if your wheelchair can work with modern technology, or if it would work better with newer technology? It’s crucial to understand your mobility goals and find user-friendly tech that fits those goals. Think about compatibility for safety and financial reasons. Tech that doesn’t match your wheelchair might be risky, and you wouldn’t want the hassle of returning or replacing it.

2. Is wheelchair tech user-friendly?

  • Are you familiar with the tech or need some training? Consider your comfort level. How long will it take to get the hang of using this technology? Is customer support available when you need it? Can you connect with other users to learn from their experiences? These factors play a role in your confidence and safety using the technology.

3. Is wheelchair tech accessible and affordable?

  • Do you know if there’s any financial help to get the tech you need? Be aware of alternatives if you can’t get funding. Also, find out if there are upcoming upgrades for the technology. If it’s necessary, you might have to buy it right away. But if you have a temporary solution, waiting for an improved version could be worthwhile.

4. Can you test the tech before buying?

  • When picking technology for your mobility device, it’s not just about whether it fits the device; it’s also about whether it fits you. So, find out if you can try the tech before purchasing it. This can help you gauge how you feel about using it – whether it’s safe, easy, or tricky to handle.

Selecting with Awareness for the Optimal Mobility Solutions

As you can see, there are many things to be aware of when it comes to buying mobility devices that are the best fit for your specific circumstances. To be an informed buyer, you should ask the manufacturer of your wheelchair, the makers of the adaptive/assistive devices, vendors, assistive technology professionals (ATP), clinicians, and fellow wheelchair users:

A wheelchair and mobility devices showroom with carpet floor and white ceiling.

1. Who Covers Damages?

  • Does the wheelchair manufacturer handle damages to the wheelchair, or is it the adaptive/assistive device manufacturer’s responsibility? Maybe the vendor, ATP, or clinician can help. It’s essential to know who can assist you if you encounter any issues with your wheelchair or technology-related adaptive/assistive device.

2. Which is the Best Fit for Me?

  • After you’ve shared your mobility needs, strengths, and goals with these professionals, you can ask them whether a particular wheelchair or technological assistive/adaptive device is a good match for you. If it’s not, find out how you can customize it to better suit your needs.

3. Do the Second Opinions Check Out?

  • There are various events and online groups related to mobility where you can get advice and insights. These gatherings may have researchers who can answer questions like how a specific wheelchair or technological assistive/adaptive device was developed, considering factors like the user’s needs, the environment, past and future technologies, and any identified issues that could affect users and society.

The A5 Method Plan

Quick Tips text box popping out of a phone with Braze Mobility checklist held in the hand of a wheelchair user.

First and foremost, a big congratulations for making it this far. You are already more informed as a buyer! And to celebrate that, here is the A5 Method Plan, designed by Braze just for you, that summarizes the five essential steps to follow for cultivating the necessary buyer awareness around mobility devices and related technological adaptive and assistive products over time:

  1. Assess – Figure out your mobility needs, strengths, and goals.
  2. Advocate – Make your needs and goals clear.
  3. Advice – Seek advice from healthcare professionals, family, accommodation experts, vendors, manufacturers, and fellow mobility device users.
  4. Analyze – Try out products and make informed choices before buying.
  5. Approve – Buy with confidence and peace of mind, knowing you’ve followed all the necessary steps!

Whether you’re curious to learn more about buyer awareness in general or eager to get the help necessary to start making informed decisions about your mobility devices right away, enter your email below to get your own handy A5 Checklist!

Let’s work together to ensure your mobility needs, strengths, and goals are met, and you can confidently approve your choices with peace of mind. Your journey begins with us – take the first step and request your A5 Checklist now!

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