Advice from Kerr Medical
Mobility is essential to remaining independent, and for many seniors, a scooter is a convenient method for getting around. Several types and styles are available to accommodate the elderly in many different settings.
How to Choose the Right Scooter
When deciding on a mobility scooter for your parent or patient, questions that can help you find the right solution will include the following:
Where will your senior use the scooter? Some styles are for indoor use only, while others can handle rougher terrain like sidewalks. In-home models give you more maneuverability.
Is your patient living at home or in managed care? Retirement communities and assisted living facilities often have rules about the type of scooter residents can use.
Will you need to transport the scooter? Lightweight models easily fold for insertion into car trunks. Heavier styles are either driven from point-to-point or raised by a vehicle lift that attaches to your car or van.
How much time will the scooter be in use? Scooter batteries require frequent charging, with a single charge lasting as little as 6 miles up to 30 miles for road-worthy types.
What comfort features will your senior need? If your patient has back or joint problems, look for a scooter with extras such as a padded seat, adjustable armrests, wider seats, or adjustable seatbacks.
What kinds of extras are available? Most scooters have a basket for carrying belongings and anti-tip wheels to reduce the risk of a rollover. Other styles can hold oxygen tanks, and heavier styles come with safety packages (side mirrors, lights, turn signals, and a horn).
How much does your patient weigh? Lightweight styles can accommodate up to 250 pounds. Heavy-duty models are available for weights up to 500 pounds.
What's your budget? Medicare may help to cover part (or all) of the cost of a scooter prescribed by a physician. If you need to purchase one on your own, prices range from less than $1,000 to almost $2,000. Check with the retailer to see if they have financing plans available.
What warranties are available for the scooter? Some retailers offer on-site repairs and services, while others require you to bring the scooter back to the store.
If possible, have your senior test drive a scooter to help make the final purchase decision. Make sure the driver is comfortable with the steering, acceleration, and braking. Check the seat height to ensure they have enough legroom, too.
Staying Safe When Operating a Scooter
While scooters can give seniors increased independence and mobility, they're still vehicles and, as a result, have some risks to consider. Review these tips with your patients to help them be confident about driving a scooter. You'll have more peace of mind that they'll be safe.
- Find out if the facility or community where your elderly parent lives requires a driving test to use a scooter. If yes, then read the owner's manual and help your senior study safety awareness and scooter operation guidelines.
- Set the speed on the scooter for your patient. Even if your driver can navigate at faster rates, slower is safer.
- Observe your driver's arm mobility to make sure he or she has the strength to operate the steering and braking mechanisms.
- Encourage your senior to sit up straight and stay steady. Weight shifts – either too far forward or leaning to one side – can create imbalance and cause a rollover.
- Keep the scooter in good working order with routine maintenance such as checking the electrical system, wheels, nuts, and bolts.
Increase Mobility with a Scooter from Kerr Medical
If your senior needs additional support with mobility, contact Kerr Medical to learn about the scooters we have available. Our team is available to answer your questions and find the right style for your senior.