If you want to invest in a mobility scooter, you need to take the time to ensure you’re making the right decision. Research the available options to make sure you’re getting a scooter that makes sense for your use, size, and lifestyle.
Before you choose a mobility scooter, you should answer these 5 important questions.
1. Are you capable of physically operating a mobility scooter?
Can you sit upright for a long period of time? Do you have strength and dexterity in both hands so you can safely operate the controls and steer your scooter? If so, then you are a good candidate for the powered mobility scooter.
Do you need special seating options? You can get a scooter with positioning pads. Do you need to have your legs elevated? Do you have limited hand strength or dexterity? Then you may need to considered a Powered Wheelchair.
Power chairs use a joystick mounted in the armrest to control the chair. These units can be maneuvered using one hand. There are advanced steering options available for those who are unable to use their hands. Your power chair can be customized using various leg rest and seating options. However, it’s important to note that leg rests are not an option for mobility scooters.
2. How much weight can the scooter carry?
Once you know that the mobility scooter is the type of unit you need, you must consider the carrying capacity. The weight limit may immediately eliminate some of the available choices.
When considering the weight limit, don’t just consider the rider’s weight. You also need to consider the weight of item’s that will be carried in the scooter which can range from shopping bags and laundry baskets to medical equipment and oxygen tanks.
If you find that your calculated weight is close to the scooter’s weight capacity, consider selecting a unit with a higher capacity. Remember people may gain weight over time when they start riding and stop walking.
Don’t try to fudge your weight calculations or you may void the scooter’s warranty. In addition, too much weight can affect a power scooter’s overall performance, especially when traveling uphill.
You should also consider your physical attributes when selecting a scooter. You may not feel comfortable in a very large scooter is you’re a petite person. If you’re tall, you may feel cramped if the scooter you choose doesn’t offer enough leg room.
3. Where will you ride the scooter?
You may need a scooter to do some shopping and run errands, but want to use the walker or cane at home. If so, then you should consider a compact travel scooter. These scooters offer lots of wonderful features, however, they have one common feature, they “come apart” which makes it easy to transport.
The 3-wheel travel scooter is the most maneuverable, most compact, and lightest model. They are stable on most even surfaces. Since they have a tight turning radius, they’re wonderful for negotiating store aisles, making quick turns and navigating through crowds.
The 4-wheel travel scooter is less compact and heavier. However, they are more stable on uneven surfaces and they’re more comfortable for the rider. When looking at a travel scooter you should weight the level of stability, comfort and battery range of the 4-wheel scooter, against the portability, easy assembly, and maneuverability of the 3-wheel unit.
If you need to use your mobility scooter in the house, the biggest challenge is the space needed to make turns, get through a narrow bathroom door, or get down a narrow hallway. The 3-wheel mobility scooter is often the only choice is you have a small space.
If the 3-wheel scooter is still too large for your home, you should consider a power wheelchair which has the smallest turning radius. This may be your best choice is you are unable to use other mobility devices, such as a manual wheelchair, walker/rollator, or cane, in your home.
If you’re a road warrior who wants to go on long-distance adventures, romps through the park, or just tool around the neighborhood then you need a scooter that offers a comfort, stability, and a large battery range. Your best choice will be a 4-wheel scooter or a 4-wheel heavy duty scooter.
The heavy-duty scooter has a larger drive motor and a larger weight capacity. Depending on the current location, you may need an All-Terrain Scooter. If you plan on driving your scooter through tall grass, you should consider finding a unit that has a high ground clearance.
If you want the ultimate powered mobility scooter, check out the Shoprider Flagship Scooter. This unit has windshield wipers and a 75-mile battery capacity.
4. Where will you store the scooter and how will you transport it?
If you plan on carrying your mobility scooter in a vehicle, consider how much space you’ll need and the strength needed to assemble and disassemble the scooter. Many large scooters cannot be disassembled and you would need a vehicle lift to transport them. Some customers own more than one scooter and several mobility devices that they need to get around. If you can afford it, this would be ideal.
5. Will my health insurance pay for my power scooter?
One of the biggest hurdles for many people who want a mobility scooter or power wheelchair is proving medical necessity to their insurance company. Medical necessity must be proven in order to get the insurance company to pay a portion of the costs. Medicare has certain requirements, which are typically used by other insurance companies. Here are the requirements to prove medical necessity.
- You must have a medical need for using this equipment.
- The equipment must be needed for home use and useful (can fit) within the home’s physical layout. The power wheelchair or scooter is not primarily for recreational or leisure use.
- The scooter cannot be only for use outside of the home.
- You must be incapable of using a walker, manual wheelchair, or cane.
- Your doctor must be able to explain why you medically need the device and that you are able to operate the scooter safely.
If you believe you are qualified for a mobility scooter, contact your insurer for a referral. They will give you information on local mobility scooter providers. If you don’t meet these requirements, you’re free to choose whichever scooter fits your needs and budget