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Wheelchair sign on a concrete parking lot

Time for upgrading my wheelchair

After 15 years of good service I’m finally upgrading my wheelchair! It’s an old PRO ACTIV Speedy A1 in black, and due to my increasing lack of strength I will get an e-motion active drive from Alber tomorrow. In the past I was able to push myself around in my wheelchair quite well, but lately I had more and more problems to get around in uneven terrain like streets and so on.

The first struggles on the road

To solve this problem, and also to gain a little bit more autonomy again, I started a little bit of research nearly two years ago. My first idea was to get a handbike for my wheelchair, but I dropped it after I got word from my health insurance: to expensive! To give you an impression how expensive it was: the handbike should have cost round about 14 thousand euros, the same costs an electric wheelchair would cost. Funnily my health insurance offered to pay the electric wheelchair instead, but my doctor insisted that it should be a handbike or something similar to keep me active, even while using the wheelchair.

The final solution

So the next idea was upgrading my wheelchair with an active drive. They do work like an e-bike, meaning that you will get active support from a small motor if the system detects that you’re using more force than necessary. Accidentally I met a woman who was using such an active drive last summer and talked to her and her husband briefly. They confirmed that the system actively supports the wheelchair user, and more important, is able to master the cobblestones in the old town of Freiburg. Great! So I searched for a dealer nearby because I wanted to try it out before going through the same ordeals like with the handbike before.

After talking to Storch + Beller (website in german), a medical store here in Freiburg, I tested the e-motion active drive at home. It worked great so far, even in difficult situations like an uneven street or the small ramp in front of my house. So I got all the necessary papers, sent them to my health insurance and waited. And waited. I waited until I got a call from Storch + Beller this week. The health insurance gave their OK, and the medical house was waiting for my wheelchair to be upgraded, yay! So tomorrow I will bring my wheelchair to them and will get it back later the day. I’m so excited! 😀

Of course I will write further articles on my experiences with the active drive and other assistive technologies.

See you later!

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