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Evidence-Based Strategies for Preserving Mobility for Elderly and Aging Manual Wheelchair Users

Requejo, Philip S. PhD; Furumasu, Jan BS, PT; Mulroy, Sara J. PhD, PT

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: January/March 2015 - Volume 31 - Issue 1 - p 26–41
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000042

Elderly and aging manual wheelchair users have an increased risk for accelerated loss of function and mobility that greatly limits independence and affects quality of life. This review addresses important issues for preserving function and mobility among elderly and aging individuals who use a manual wheelchair by presenting the current available evidence and recommendations. These include recommendations for maximizing function by decreasing pain, improving the ability to self-propel, and prolonging mobility and endurance through ergonomics, individualized wheelchair selection and configuration, and adaptations for increasing the capacity to handle the daily mobility demands through training, strengthening, and exercise. Each recommendation is supported by current research in each relevant area.

Physical Therapy Department (Drs Requejo and Mulroy and Ms Furumasu), Rehabilitation Engineering Program (Dr Requejo), and Pathokinesiology Laboratory (Drs Requejo and Mulroy), Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, California.

Correspondence: Philip S. Requejo, PhD, Rehabilitation Engineering Program, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Bldg 500, Room 64, 7601 E. Imperial Hwy, Downey, CA 90242 (

The contents of this review were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, NIDRR grant nos. H133E080024 and H133N110018. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.