A scooter is an assistive device that allows many people more mobility freedom. A mobility scooter has a seat over three, four or now five wheels, a flat area or foot plates for the feet, and handlebars in front to turn steerable wheels. While a mobility scooter eliminates much of the manual strength problems of an manual wheelchair, its tiller steering mechanism still requires upright posture, shoulder and hand strength, and some upper-body mobility and strength.
The seat of a scooter may also swivel to allow access when the front is blocked by the handlebars. Mobility scooters are battery powered. Two more batteries are stored on board the scooter and are charged via an onboard or separate battery charger from standard electrical outlet.
Scooters provide important advantages to people with mobility problems. According to Ian Jarvis, a Rehab Specialist with Family 1st Medical, scooters are useful for people without walking or standing stamina. “A mobility scooter is very helpful for persons with systemic or whole-body disabling conditions (coronary or lung issues, some forms of arthritis, obesity, etc.) who are still able to stand and walk a few steps, sit upright without torso support, and control the steering tiller,” confirms Mr. Jarvis.
What the scooter is going to be used for (and how often it is going to be used) will help to determine which model will be best. Mr. Jarvis says someone purchasing a mobility scooter which will be used daily to replace a car has different needs to someone purchasing a mobility scooter that needs be carried in the car and used primarily on weekends or for traveling short distances.
Different scooters with different battery sizes produce different range distances. As an experienced Rehab Specialist Mr. Jarvis says when a person is shopping for a scooter, he will discuss where they wish to use the scooter to help determine what range distance would be achieved from each scooter considered. In some scooters (but not all) batteries can be upgraded to provide better range performance.
The speed of the mobility scooter is determined by the amount of pressure put on the forward / reverse lever. The overall speed of the scooter is governed by the speed dial on the control panel. When getting used to the scooter, it may be best to use a lower speed setting. In order to slow down, the user just needs to release the forward or reverse lever, which then brings the scooter to a stop. Scooters have brakes fitted in such a way that the scooter can be left on a slope without fear of it rolling away.
Scooters are very easy to use and shouldn't be intimidating. Despite all the various models and types to choose from, they all work in similar ways. The main differences are the number of wheels (three, four or five), the maximum speed, the range and the size of the scooter.
Kimberley Monette is the General Manager at Family 1st Medical. She has spent 24 years in the home healthcare industry. Family 1st represents the leading companies who provide a variety of scooters and wheelchairs. Ian Jarvis has more than 25 years’ experience in providing quality rehab equipment to clients in the UK and Canada
Family 1st Medical