It is a dark and stormy night, you’re car’s stopped working and the storm is too severe to even consider walking. What do you do?
For most it is a simple call with their cellphone and help is on it’s way.
There is a certain arm of society that face something like that even on warm Spring days. Consider life in a wheelchair.
Wheelchairs are intended to be very dependable. Perhaps that explains why a manual wheelchair can cost more than a decent bicycle. However there is more to go wrong in an electric wheelchair. It can be merely an inconvenience for someone in a care facility of some sort, so long as there’s always someone attending.
However the people I know that are in electric “chairs” are not homebodies. They want to get out in the world and that can mean travelling blocks or even miles from home to go shopping, sightseeing, to medical appointments, to visit friends, etc.
While some might be able to crawl to someone’s doorstep and ask for health, there are others that do not even have that option. It’s not like they have the option to get out and check the battery cables.
That’s where a cellphone would really come in handy. I’m sure a call or two would bring help if your chair were to fail you and stop operating.
I know that in many areas, people that are “at risk” or unable to afford one can get a phone with very modest service for emergency calls. Something like that could help many folks who use chairs. But there are also many in chairs that would have problems operating a typical cellphone or smart phone.
I believe there are specialty cellphones with a limited keyboard. I recall one for children that didn’t have a regular numeric keypad, but instead had 6 buttons. Each button was preprogrammed with 6 phone numbers. Perhaps it might be very limiting to have a cellphone that could only dial a half-dozen number — but if you have only one hand you can use and it has only limited function — such a phone could be a godsend.
There are also cellphones with large buttons and basic functions intended for seniors. Not all seniors need them, by any means, but they can be helpful for many.
I believe that some sort of allowance should be made so that those folks requiring an electric wheelchair to function should have a cellphone they can operate for emergency purposes.
I think we have solutions and some don’t even require any/much special equipment.
While they are at it they can make sure that the chairs have some place to support and hold a cellphone/GPS device so a person could still use it if they had limited dexterity.