Electric wheelchair

Tiasbunny Member Posts: 2
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:09 in Living with arthritis

Hi I have had arthritis fo sometime and have just got an electric wheelchair but I find with the joystick it is quite hard to control any tips would be gratefully received but ease k ow I am 73 and have it in all my joints


  • Poppyjane
    Poppyjane Moderator Posts: 770

    Hello @Tiasbunny welcome to the online community

    You have recently got an electric wheelchair and find the joystick difficult to control and wonder if any of our members have any tips. We are glad you found us and I hope that some of our wheelchair users will be helping you soon with their tips and experiences of adjusting to life using a chair.

    I wondered if you had come across this Sit and Reach challenge which is part of our Lets Move exercise programme? We are all being encouraged to exercise our muscles and joints to keep as flexible and mobile as possible, they are useful videos to follow and fun to watch.

    Have you thought of asking the suppliers of your chair for an extra tutorial to help build your confidence?

    Let us know how you get on.

    Take care


    If it would be helpful to talk to someone ring the Helpline 0800 5200 520

    Monday - Friday 9.00a.m. - 6.00p.m.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,719

    I'm wondering what the exact nature of the problem is. is the control too stiff? Definitely go with @Poppyjane 's exercise solution. But, is there a means of making the controls less stiff too? Maybe you could ask at the shop where you bought the chair. Or write to the manufacturer.

    Is it a grip problem? I put these on some things https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=doctor+developed+foam+tubing&i=drugstore&crid=2CTVKFXYCTYS4&sprefix=doctor+developed+foam+tubing%2Cdrugstore%2C511&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

    I also put cut off bits of a cricket bat handle grip on others. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Make-Break-Professional-Replacement-Surprise/dp/B01EFTGJJC/ref=asc_df_B01EFTGJJC/?tag=googshopuk-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid=344282059884&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13468366296865278347&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1007373&hvtargid=pla-697670206002&psc=1

    (Others sellers are available!)

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 149

    I also have widespread OA and have been using a powerchair for many years. I am on my third different model in about 30 years. I purchased the first and third new direct from their manufacturers by investing saved DLA payments but the second came from a local specialist company that refurbishes and sells at second-hand prices with their own guarantee.

    I entirely agree with what has been written above.

    I find it takes practice to learn exactly how to use the joystick for best results - especially when surfaces are not completely level and even with a chair designed to cope with 'uneven terrain'. Even within the same make some controls seem more sensitive than others and can be adjusted to meet different needs.

    My tactic is to start off by driving at a slower speed than ideal until I have 'got the feel' of the chair and am sufficiently confident to go faster. If a problem remains then I consider it to be one for which I need specific advice.

    Reliable manufacturers are usually very happy to offer help so don't hesitate to contact them or the outlet from which you purchased the chair. Some have clear and helpful guides online using carefully filmed demonstrations so you might find searching by make and model useful.

    These are very expensive items and you need to be able to get a good after-sales service to ensure a positive experience for yourself. In addition the manufacturer and retailer need all the recommendations they can get in what is a competitive market. It is very much in their interests to provide you with exactly what you expect!

    Don't assume it's your problem - your chair must meet your individual needs so don't hesitate to ask for help from the experts - even if your chair is not brand new. If they can't help ask for contact details of the nearest specialist technician. There are people with wide knowledge of all makes who adjust and repair power chairs all the time but it may take a bit of internet searching to find one. Your local Occupational Therapy service may also be able to help or recommend a technician.

    Other users will be having similar difficulties and there may be a very simple technical solution. If no-one reports an issue it will never be resolved so purchasers will be disappointed and sales will fall.

    For commercial reasons I can't name any relevant services on this forum but if you are unable to do the online searching for yourself send me a PM with the make of your chair and name of your nearest town/city and I'll see what I can find. I'll then message you back with anything I discover.

    Hope you soon find a solution and can look forward to a more mobile New Year.

  • Skinny Keef
    Skinny Keef Member Posts: 1,094

    Small corrections are the key.

    if you think about it from fully left to fully right on the joystick is like going lock to lock on a car steering, something you wouldn’t normally do unless parking or manoeuvring.

    so with the joystick in normal forward motion only slight changes on the stick are necessary. Something that took me time to get used to. I still over correct sometimes and i end up just letting go and coming to a stop and setting off again.

    i only use full left or right for getting around shops at low speed.

    slow small movements on the stick.