1. Health

Mobility Scooters

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Updated June 24, 2014

Senior woman riding an electric scooter
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One of the most popular mobility aids today is the mobility scooter. Each manufacturer of these scooters offers a variety of details that can help those with limited mobility achieve much of their independence back. Many scooter users have found that they do much more than they have in years thanks to their new-found increased mobility.

Do You Need a Mobility Scooter?

If you have trouble walking for extended periods of time, experience difficulty managing a walker, cane or crutches, then a scooter may be for you. Scooters are also helpful for people who use oxygen and therefore need to conserve their energy. Individuals who suffer from constant joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may also benefit from a using scooter.

Paying for a Mobility Scooter

Many scooter sellers accept Medicare to cover part, if not all, of the cost of buying one of their machines. They will bill Medicare; all they need is a signed form from a physician indicating that a patient needs a scooter for mobility due to a disabling condition.

If your physician doesn’t think you need a scooter, but you feel using one would improve your mobility, you can still purchase them direct from a manufacturer or reseller. Some resellers of mobility scooters offer their own financing programs in addition to deep discounting refurbished or close-out models. Base models cost approximately $900, whereas four-wheel, all-terrain models cost approximately $3,000 or more.

Two, Three or Four Wheels

Depending upon the intended use of a mobility scooter, owners may choose between a two, three or four-wheeled model. Two-wheeled models look more like the type of scooter you see on the road and can go two to three times faster than a three or four-wheeled model. Three wheeled scooters are light weight models that do well inside or on paved roads or sidewalks. Four-wheeled models are heavier and serve a variety of purposes. A heavy-duty, four-wheeled model is able to roll across gravel roads and other unpaved surfaces, while easily navigating public buildings.

Scooter Basics and Accessories

Scooters are hand operated and have a steering column that allows the users to move forward, turn in either direction and go in reverse. Most scooters have a low profile, which means they can serve as a chair in restaurants or at your own table at home and they are narrow enough to make it through most doorways in a home or public building. The majority of mobility scooters are less than 24-inches in width.

Along with a scooter, you may wish to buy accessories to make moving and using your scooter easier. Some of the many accessories are:

  • Plastic cover
  • Ramp
  • Basket
  • Oxygen tank carrier
  • Cup holder
  • Saddle bag
  • Rear basket
  • Scooter lift
  • Safety package – lights, horn, turn signals, side mirrors
  • Cane, crutch or walker holder
  • Flag
  • Scooter coach
  • Car charger and/or home charger
  • Additional battery

Try Before You Buy

When possible, try out a mobility scooter before you buy one. If there is a mobility store in your area, go to the showroom and sit on the various models and where possible, give them a test drive. Details to consider include :

  • Does the chair offer enough cushion?
  • Can the chair rotate easily from side to side, or is it stationery?
  • Is the chair adjustable up or down?
  • Is there enough room for your legs to rest comfortably?
  • How long does it take for the battery to charge fully?
  • How far can you travel before the battery needs to be recharged?
  • How fast can the scooter go?
  • What is the maximum weight a scooter can hold?
  • Is the scooter size airline friendly?
  • Is it easy to transport the scooter (can it easily be taken apart or folded)?
  • What is the maximum weight of a single part that the owner would need to lift during transport?
  • Who will service the scooter if there is a problem?

All of these questions should be answered to your satisfaction before purchase, especially if the model you’re considering is a clearance or discontinued scooter. Additionally, if you’re buying the scooter for someone else to use, make sure they are able to lift the scooter and take it apart for transport. Otherwise, make sure the person who will be using the scooter has a vehicle with a trailer hitch so that they can attach a scooter lift for transport.

Compare Prices on mobility scooters and accessories.

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