By George Dodge
If your mobility has become limited so that you need some help getting around, a portable mobility scooter may just be the ticket. Not an electric wheelchair, a mobility scooter is a comfortable chair with arms that sits on a platform, and underneath the platform are four small wheels with a very refined turning radius so that it’s very easy to get around in small places and turns that are tight.
You navigate the scooter, usually, by turning it on with a key; two handlebars are in front, similar to bike handlebars, and you simply turn the scooter left or right or go straight ahead to manage your direction. The scooter is usually powered by pressing handlebar “throttles” built into the handlebars in the front; you can stop or brake in this way as well. The scooter itself runs on batteries that are recharged often; usually, these batteries have a distance life of several miles before they need recharging.
Who are portable mobility scooters NOT suited for?
However, portable mobility scooters may not be for everyone. If you have trouble sitting up and don’t have a lot of upper body mobility, an electric wheelchair may be a better option. That’s because portable mobility scooters assume that you do have some upper body strength and can hold yourself upright quite easily. In addition, you will need some dexterity and some arm strength in order to manage operating the scooter.
When should you consider a portable mobility scooter?
If your mobility is still quite fine but you tire easily when you try to walk for long distances outside, this type of scooter is the perfect solution for those long trips outside when you want to take the grandkids to the zoo or something similar. In addition, if you don’t have a lot of walking ability but you simply need a little bit of extra “motorized help” to do the things you need to, this type of scooter may also work well.
How the motorized scooters work
In general, the company you choose the motorized scooter from will schedule an appointment to come out and see you so that you can be fit with the proper size. The technician who comes out to fit you will also teach you how to operate the scooter as part of the process.
Scooters come in a variety of weights, but in general, the most heavy-duty ones come apart in several pieces with the smallest piece weighing a good 40 to 50 pounds. Therefore, unless you have very good standing ability and significant upper body strength, chances are you’ll need a scooter lift to be able to get the scooter in and out of your car trunk. Alternatively, you can also have a scooter lift fitted onto a van so that the scooter itself does not need to be taken apart and can be put in the van intact.
How are portable mobility scooters paid for?
In most cases, if your physical condition warrants it, your insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and/or a combination of these should cover the cost of portable mobility scooters and scooter lifts, with perhaps a small co-pay or something similar.
If you do not have insurance or another of these programs, such as Medicaid or Medicare, some charitable organizations may be able to help you afford a portable mobility scooter and lift if you need them.