As we get older, it can become harder for us to get around. Even doing the simplest tasks – such as going to the nearby store can become much more challenging and agonizing with stiff and painful joints.
But it doesn’t mean that our elderly parents and patients have to bid adieu to their independence. Mobility has much become more important to them to remain self-sufficient. Fortunately, there are medical and technological advancements that have already been making improvements in the lives of the elderly, as well as the lives of their caregivers.
These advancements include solutions for people with mobility issues. A mobility scooter is a convenient way to get around and allows them to do a lot more things. There are several types and models of scooters available to accommodate the seniors in various settings and situations.
Choosing for the right scooter
Deciding on a scooter seems difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. All you have to do is to answer the following questions that can help you find the right scooter for your senior:
1. Where will your senior use the scooter?
Is your senior going to use the scooter for indoors only, or for outdoors, or both? Some models are designed for indoor-only use, while others can tackle rougher terrains such as sidewalks. In-home models provide more maneuverability.
2. Is your patient living at home or under managed care?
If your senior is living in a retirement home or at an assisted living facility, check first if they have rules regarding the use of scooters.
3. Which comfort features of the scooter will your senior need?
Mobile scooters are typically designed for comfort, but people come in different shapes and sizes. There are also various types of seats to match a specific preference.
If the patient has back and joint problems, a scooter with an extra padded seat, adjustable armrests and setbacks, and wider seats are ideal.
4. How long will the scooter last when in use?
Scooters are normally run by batteries, which require constant charging. A single full charge can last as little as 6 up to 30 miles for road-worthy types.
5. Will you need to transport the scooter?
There are lightweight models available that can be carried and easily folded for storage inside the car trunk.
Heavier models, on the other hand, are either driven point-to-point or are raised by a vehicle lift which you can install to your car or van.
Dismantling models allow one to carry the parts separately instead of lifting the entire scooter. However, the parts need to be re-assembled before the patient rides it, which can be a bit inconvenient.
6. How much does your patient weigh?
Scooters are available in small/portable, medium-sized and large-sized options that can comfortably accommodate different weight capacities.
Small scooters (most of which are portable) are suitable for persons who weigh not more than 220 lbs. Medium-sized scooters – which are the most popular – can accommodate up to 250 to 275 lbs. Large-sized scooters are suitable for tall or heavy users with weight capacities of up to 500 lbs.
7. Are there any additional features available?
Most scooters have baskets for carrying items, as well as anti-tip wheels to minimize the risk of overturning. Oxygen tanks, safety packages (which include side mirrors, lights, turn signals, and a horn) are available in some heavier models.
8. How much is your budget?
Manufacturers offer a large range of scooters to suit all budgets. Prices can range from $1,000 up to $2,000. They can also assist funding or financing bodies who can assist patients who plan to buy a scooter.
Health insurance programs, notably Medicare, may help cover – partly or entirely – the cost of the scooter as prescribed by a physician.
9. What warranties are available for the scooter?
Depending on the brand or the retailer, on-site repairs are available. On the other hand, owners are required to bring their scooters back to the shop for repairs.
It is best to have your senior test-drive the scooter to help with the final purchase decision. Make sure that the driver feels comfortable riding the scooter – including the steering, braking, and acceleration. Check the seat height to make sure the driver has adequate legroom.
Staying safe while riding the mobility scooter
Mobility scooters for seniors are still vehicles, so you have to consider the possible risks. These tips below will help your seniors drive the scooter more confidently. Let your senior take time to review these tips with. You will have peace of mind knowing that they’ll be safe.
1. Check if the assisted living facility or community where your senior parent resides requires a driving test to use a scooter. If they do, then check and read the user’s manual and help your elderly parent to review safety awareness and scooter operation guidelines.
2. It’s important to observe your senior’s hand and arm strength to make sure that they can operate the steering and braking mechanisms.
3. Set the scooter speed for your senior. Even if he or she can drive at a faster speed, slower is better and safer.
4. Encourage your elderly patient to sit up straight and remain steady while driving. Sudden weight shifts – either leaning on one side or far too forward – can lead to imbalance and your senior might get overturned.
5. Maintain the scooter’s good working condition by checking its electrical system, wheels, nuts and bolts (and if possible, change them).
Kerr Medical’s scooters will help improve your senior’s mobility
Kerr Medical offers scooters that will help your seniors improve their mobility. Contact us if you want to find out about our scooters and we will be more than glad to find the right scooter style for your senior.