Many seniors have used a rental mobility scooter or a public scooter at the store. They are often worn down, sticky, ill fitting, and noisy. They provide an undeniable benefit while you are shopping but the scooters that get shared all day every day leave more to be desired. The thought has crossed many minds while putting back the borrowed mobility scooter at the grocery store, do I need one of these for myself?
This is a common question and the answer will not be the same for everyone. Mobility scooters have many benefits, but they also have some drawbacks as well. We are going to go over some of the biggest benefits of mobility scooters, along with the most concerning downsides to having a mobility scooter, so that you can get a better idea if one of these devices is right for you.
Benefits of Mobility Scooters
There are many pros to owning a mobility scooter. Some of them are obvious like helping you to get around more easily than before. Others are more subtle like providing proven boosts to your social life in a way that a cane cannot. Here are the best upsides to using a mobility scooter regularly.
Mobility scooters have an overall positive effect on people’s health and wellbeing. It was found that the use of a mobility scooter increases a person’s physical activity. By eliminating the need to use all of your energy simply walking from place to place, you unlock the ability to use your limited energy stores for an activity that is beneficial to your health or fun. Either one can go a long way to increasing your overall quality of life.
That same study also noted that the use of a mobility scooter also made people more likely to want to participate in local activities and events. Without the looming barrier of struggling to get somewhere working against people, they were more eager to go out and actively take part in things they previously had stopped doing. Being able to participate in social events can provide large and tangible benefits to mental health and cognition.
That means that by regularly using a mobility scooter, an average person can see increases in physical health, mental health, and social health. All three of those can go a long way into prolonging a person’s life and boosting quality of life.
With mobility in the name, it is no surprise that mobility scooters provide massive benefits to mobility. They help thousands of people get from A to B every year. Mobility scooters can also provide a new sense of freedom to people who had lost some of that to extenuating circumstances.
In fact, a recent study found that mobility scooters made an excellent replacement for people who do not have a car or who no longer have a driver’s license. Not everyone is able to maintain ownership of a car or a license as they age but the good news is that mobility scooters do not require a license to operate. They don’t need a large garage to store. That makes mobility scooters a great stand-in for local travel for those who do not have a car and do not want to deal with confusing and crowded public transportation.
Mobility scooters can also speed up travel that would normally take a long time. Trips around the grocery store or big box store that normally took upwards of an hour can be done in half the time thanks to the increased speed that your personal mobility scooter can offer.
Another surprising benefit that was found was the use of a mobility scooter to maintain and increase social lives. When people age it can be difficult to maintain a vibrant social life. Some studies have found that maintaining positive social lives is almost as important as maintaining good physical health. It does little good if your body is in good health if you end up suffering from depression or loneliness due to a lack of social interaction.
Mobility scoots have been shown time and again to boost participation in social events and they help to maintain existing social structures in people’s lives. When we set out to dig into the pros of using a mobility scooter, we did not expect to find such profound benefits in this area. It is worth mentioning that they can be used to get to coffee hour, a nearby card game, and other social events which are extremely important to maintaining a high quality of life.
Drawbacks of Mobility Scooters
As useful and beneficial as mobility scooters can be they do come with some drawbacks. Mobility scooters are much larger and harder to move from place to place than walkers. They are also quite a bit more expensive. These drawbacks can add up to a big headache if you are not prepared or if you could have substituted something else for a mobility scooter.
Mobility scooters are not cheap and require a large investment in order to obtain. The cost of a mobility scooter can range anywhere from $600 to $2000 or more. That means that the upper echelon of pricing for a mobility scooter is ten times more than a high priced rollator walker or similar walker.
While insurance such as Medicare will cover mobility scooters under certain circumstances, if you do not get coverage for a mobility scooter it can take a big chunk out of any budget. Especially those who are on a fixed income and have to follow strict budgetary guidelines.
If you can afford the cost upfront, mobility scooters can be an awesome addition to your life but the amount of money it requires to purchase one can be a severe stumbling block for many to overcome.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Another thing that some people might not fully consider when considering purchasing a mobility scooter is the maintenance that they require. Unlike canes, traditional walkers, or rollator walkers, mobility scooters have a lot of modern components that will require upkeep over their lifetime. Mobility scooters are battery powered, have tires to consider, electronic parts, and brakes.
This means that your mobility scooter might need to take trips to a service center to get repaired or serviced to ensure that they stay in good working order. That could add unforeseen costs and time into your life where you did not have to worry about working those things into your schedule or budget before.
Other mobility assisting products do not need as much attention if they encounter troubles. Even if they do, you can buy a lot of canes for the price of a single mobility scooter. Say you do need to get a walker repaired, many of the parts, pieces, and concepts are easily digestible and can often be fixed on your own. The same cannot be said for a mobility scooter.
Alternatives To Mobility Scooters
There is no doubt that there are some cons to owning a mobility scooter and for some people, they are going to outweigh the pros. That is okay. Make sure you find a product that is right for you and check out some of these alternatives to a mobility scooter.
There are some alternatives to mobility scooters that should be mentioned. Each person’s need is going to be different and some need a full mobility scooter more than others. If the high cost and potential for a complicated maintenance schedule are putting you off, you might be able to get away with an upgraded rollator walker or simple cane to help get around.
Another alternative to a full battery powered mobility scooter is a manual wheelchair. Wheelchairs still provide a lot of mobility benefits while being easier to store and transport. They can also be a lot cheaper than mobility scooters if budget is a concern.
Video Guide to Mobility Scooter by Graying With Grace
Deciding whether or not to purchase a mobility scooter is going to depend on many different factors that will vary from person to person. Some people will find a mobility scooter completely necessary in order to continue with their lifestyle. Others will have a mobility scooter prescribed to them for health reasons. Still, more might be on the fence about buying one for themselves to see if the benefits are worth it.
There are many well documented benefits to owning and regularly using a mobility scooter. The boost in mobility can offer unique health benefits that extend to all facets of your life including boosts to mental health, social participation, and physical health.
Like many things in life, a mobility scooter has its trade-offs. They are not going to be a great pick for everyone and they are going to be an amazing choice for others. Taking these benefits and drawbacks into account can only help people to make a more informed and thoughtful choice while looking at potentially getting their own mobility scooter.