Mobility Scooters. Tips

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Mobility Scooter Lifts

Scooter lifts can be installed right into your van. That way you are able to drive your scooter right onto the lift, and lift it upward into your vehicle without having to disassemble your mobility scooter. There are also external scooter lifts that can besides lifting, can be used as a trailer to pull your larger model scooter behind your car.


Introduction to Mobility Scooters

Mobility scooters may be a better option for younger patients who want a more modern, streamlined mobility aid. Additionally, mobility scooters are often more affordable mobility option than motorized wheelchairs, and they perform very similar jobs.

Will insurance pay for my mobility scooter?

Insurance and Mobility Scooters

If you think that you may need the assistance of a mobility scooter, it's important to discuss this with your physician. Not all insurance companies will automatically approve the costs related to purchasing a mobility scooter, and you may need to pay for some of the costs out of pocket. Generally, insurance companies will need to have documentation from your doctor stating that you are unable to move about without assistance, and that a mobility scooter will assist you in everyday life. Medicare, which is different from private insurance, has a specific set of rules regarding who can obtain a mobility scooter. Lobbyists are trying to get the government to change this policy.

What are mobility scooters?

Introduction to Mobility Scooters

Living with a disability can be difficult, especially if it's something that stops you from being able to get around easily. Whether you have problems walking from injuries, degenerative conditions or age, there are ways to get your mobility back. Mobility scooters are three or four-wheeled motorized carts that are configured to look different from motorized wheelchairs, so that they can fit the needs of individuals who might fear the stigma of a wheelchair. Whether you're looking for a scooter that will allow you to cross terrain outdoors, or a three wheel scooter that has excellent steering ability, there's a number of different companies and options out there. Speaking to your doctor, occupational therapist, or other people with similar disabilities can help you to find a mobility scooter that will be right for you.

What are some different mobility scooter styles?

Mobility Scooter Styles

There are several different styles of mobility scooters available for patients who have different needs. Over 80 percent of scooter users will choose to purchase a three wheel scooter, and these are known for being more maneuverable and smaller. They come in three different styles: compact, midsize and outdoor (rugged). Four wheel scooter styles are also available, but these are usually left to those people that needs a really rugged scooter for the roughest terrain, such as on farms. Seat styles also differ, from the standard small seat that swivels, to the larger and more plush high backed chairs that are usually used by people who need to be in their scooter for most of the day. A third style choice can come in the color of your scooter.

What are the different sizes of mobility scooters?

Mobility Scooter Sizes

There are several different brands, types and sizes of mobility scooters to choose from when purchasing your scooter. One of the first things you'll want to tell the company you're buying from is whether you weigh more than 250 pounds. There are special sized scooters available for larger individuals. Another thing to consider is the size of your home and the area in which you'll be using the mobility scooter. You won't want to get a scooter that's too wide or too long and won't fit through doorways, or in rooms of your home. A third thing to consider when choosing the size of your mobility scooter is whether or not you're going to need to transport your scooter, and how you would accomplish this. If your scooter needs to be able to fold down to fit into a trunk of a car, this is something you'll need to tell your mobility scooter salesperson.

Can I buy used mobility scooters?

Used Mobility Scooters

For people who are uninsured, under-insured or whose insurance company will not pay for a mobility scooter, there are several options for purchasing a scooter on your own. Some scooter companies will work with people who must pay for their own mobility scooter, so that they can have a payment plan. Another excellent idea for patients who must pay for their own scooter is to purchase a used mobility scooters. Used scooters (that are refurbished) can be less than half the cost of a new scooter, but they can be just as functional and suited to your needs. If you want a scooter with more options, but don't want to pay the high price, getting used mobility scooters can also help you with getting a higher end model at a lower price.

What are heavyweight mobility scooters and what do I use them for?

Heavyweight Mobility Scooters

You're thinking about being a Million Dollar Baby in your mobility scooter. You can stand the punishment of a few rounds with Evander Holyfield, but can your scooter survive a trip to the boxing arena to watch Holyfield K.O. his opponent?

Heavyweight or heavy duty electric mobility scooters such as the Invacare Zoom 400 can hold up to 400 pounds. If you're a musclebound boxer/sumo wrestler on the mend, or a fan battling weight problems, you can be sure that the heavyweight mobility scooter will support your weight without pain and further injury.

It's tough ducking bookies, obsessed fans, and would-be Mike Tysons. Fortunately, your mobility scooter can withstand bites. They're indestructible should you decide to drive through the boxing ring, although we can't speak for the durability of your nose, particularly since scooters can't turn as fast as an electric wheelchair--though speeds are improving as new models appear on the scene.

Best of all, you may dream of being a Million Dollar Baby, but in the meantime, a heavyweight scooter won't cost you nearly as much as Don King's cut in Vegas.

How easy is it to transport my mobility scooter?

Transporting Electric Mobility Scooters

You're feeling foot-loose and free whizzing along on your Pride Go-Go Ultra Power Mobility Scooter...until you get to your car and try to store your new hot wheels. Still, needing mobility aids didn't faze you, right?

Most electric mobility scooters easily disassemble for convenient transportation and storage, even if your car seems only slightly larger than your mobility scooter. The Pride Go-Go Ultra, for example, disassembles into four pieces. The trick is putting it back together again, so keep your instruction manual handy. Many companies offer portable scooter cases, and the Pride Go-Go ultra comes with its own red or blue case.

Other mobility scooters, like electric wheelchairs, fold for storage in hatchbacks, overhead racks and trunks. Most airlines will allow you to store your equipment in the overhead storage bin--just make sure the frame doesn't shift during the flight. Although flying is becoming less and less civilized, flight attendants are still happy to help. Just request special assistance ahead of time--you can do it when you buy your ticket online!

After all, the whole point of a mobility scooter is to get around without fear and with confidence.

What are mobility scooter lifts?

Mobility Scooter Lifts

If you need to transport your scooter from one place to another, so that you'll be able to use it for travel, scooter lifts can be a great idea for fitting your scooter into your vehicle. If you don't have one of the smaller scooters that are able to fold or disassemble and fit into your car's trunk, or if you are unable to lift heavy equipment, you may end up purchasing a specially outfitted van for your driving needs.

How do I customize my mobility aids?

Scooter Options

Lime green versus champagne. Directionals versus floodlights. New tires versus the standard. Sound like choices for your first car? All of these are important when designing mobility aids. For example, you can request a crutch/oxygen tank holder add-on for your mobility scooter. You can select a color that turns heads. You haven't felt this empowered since you bouth that little juice coupe. Some other add-ons to consider--note that they all have additional charges, just like at the car dealership:

• Foam-filled tires, if you can request them, don't slow you down as much. No flat tires!
• Wire baskets for shopping till you drop!
• A tiller if your hands can't grip with full strength. It's just like using the handlebars of that first two-wheeler.
• Throttle extensions so you can brake better.
• Left-hand or right-hand drive options if you have a stroke in either side of the brain.
• Powerful headlights, and directional signals if you can get them.
• Seat with extra foam padding, swivel seat or high-end "captain's chair."

Thanks to mobility aids add-ons, your stylin' new scooter looks less like most medical electric mobility scooters and more like that souped-up hot rod you had in high school.

Should I choose a 3-wheel or 4-wheel scooter?

3-Wheel and 4-Wheel Scooters

You're fighting arthritis or an old farm injury as you figure out a way to work the farm you've owned for twenty years. You hunt and fish, herd cattle, and you wouldn't dream of doing anything else. No one's putting you out to pasture.

You can climb back in the saddle, so to speak—the mobility four-wheel-drive scooter saddle. Four-wheel scooters are heavy-duty, stable for outdoors and can turn wider around pastures and fields. Plus you can go up to 10 mph. You only need the scooter for farming chores anyway, and the handy basket carries everything but the sun, wind and rain, that's great mobility scooters advice.

If your idea of farming is rounding up the dust bunnies under your bed, you probably need three-wheel-drive electric mobility scooters such as the Pacesaver brands. You can use three-wheel-drive mobility aids both indoors and out without being tempted to re-enact an episode of "Green Acres" or "The Simple Life."

Whether you grow your own tomatoes for spaghetti sauce or order Italian, you can pick a scooter that will last till the cows come home.

What accessories can I buy to use with my mobility aids?

Mobility Aids and Accessories

A humorous quote on growing older: "Seniors are the nation's leading carriers of AIDS! Hearing AIDS, Band AIDS, Roll AIDS, Walking AIDS, Government AIDS, Medical AIDS...and most of all MONETARY AID to their Kids!"

Add mobility aids to the list. Mobility aids simply mean wheelchairs, walkers, canes, standers...and mobility scooters. You've chosen between Pride Luxury Line Victory XL 4 electric mobility scooters and the Drive Odyssey 4 Wheel Full Size mobility scooters (in Candy Apple Red like your first two-wheeler). Now, you have two other choices in the age of mobiltiy aids:

1) What great new places will I go?
2) What accessories can I select?

The ultimate accessory for your scooter mobility aids is the power lift. The Harmar AL055 Economy Inside Lift can even get your candy apple red mobility scooter inside your SUV. Or you could choose the Harmar AL600 Universal Scooter Hybrid Platform Lift, ideal for the back of your van or even that monster station wagon your kids hate to ride in. There are also power lifts for the sliding side doors on panel vans. Don't forget an EZ Access Track Ramp, which is designed for electric mobility scooters, power wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs.

You can dress up your mobility scooter the way you would a wheelchair. Naturally, you've added safety reflectors.

In this age of mobility aids, no matter what the number on your birthday cake says, you can go about with humor and good spirits! The places you'll go are up to you.

Are there plus size mobility scooters?

Plus Size Mobility Scooters

For those patients that need a mobility scooter, but weigh more than the standard limit of 250 pounds, other types of scooters are available. Plus size, or heavy duty, mobility scooters are available for larger individuals, with weight ranges from limits of 350 pounds to 500 pounds. These scooters are ideal for bariatric patients who are unable to move about freely because of their size. Most companies make scooters in this higher capacity style, with some companies such as Pride mobility scooter offering full ranges of styles in their heavy duty scooters. The higher capacity mobility scooters come in both three and four wheel styles, with a full accompaniment of accessories for their models.

Are there mobility scooter accessories?

Mobility Scooter Accessories

Sometimes, it is helpful to purchase additional items to make using your mobility scooter a bit easier. Accessories can help to make your scooter more comfortable and functional. There are additions such as cane holders and crutch holders (for those who need their scooter only part of the time), drink holders and scooter baskets to hold additional items. Additionally, seat covers, seat pads and even scooter covers can be helpful tools for making your mobility scooter safer, keeping it cleaner, and making it more comfortable. Most of these additional items may not be covered by insurance or Medicare, however, so it's important to choose the accessories you really need.

What are electric mobility scooters?

Electric Mobility Scooters

An electric mobility scooter is the most common type of mobility scooter. Almost all mobility scooters are powered by batteries, which are charged by being plugged into home electrical outlets and store the energy needed to run the scooter (the only other option is gasoline power, but it has mostly been phased out). Depending on the battery type, an electric mobility scooter may be able to run for a few hours or longer. The most inexpensive type of battery for your electric mobility scooter is a lead acid battery, but they also have a very short life span; generally between two and six months. It is important to note that most insurance companies do not consider the batteries part of the scooter, and you will need to pay to replace or upgrade them.

Can I use crutches when I'm not using motorized mobility aids?

Crutches and Electric Mobility Aids

Scooting around the house and doing the boot scooter boogie around the office or at school is fun, but the docs say you need some time walking as well. Unlike wheelchairs, scooters aren't meant for people to stay seated 24/7 but intended for people with some mobility problems to get out and about easier. Plus, you may need to sit or stand since scooters won't park in front of desks or tables.

If you use a mobility scooter, you're able to walk with some assistance. You still have the use of your legs. You need to build upper body strength.

Whenever you need to walk, say to the pool for aquatic exercise, we recommend a folding or telescoping cane that you can transport easily in your scooter basket. If your doctor prescribes crutches, you can buy collapsible crutches. You're on the go and don't have time to waste with bulky mobility aids!

After all, the whole point of a scooter is to preserve your independence, and if you have the option to walk, do the mobility aids boogie once more with feeling!

What safety features should I look for in my mobility scooter?

Mobility Scooters and Safety

They look like high tech go-karts, but mobility scooters are built to withstand more punishment as well as the wear and tear of everyday life. There are some safety tips to make sure that your kart lasts as long as you need it to. Follow this mobility scooters advice:

• Rain and electric mobility scooters don't mix, either while you're driving or your mobility scooter is sitting in the driveway. Invest in a cover for your mobility scooter, even if you're storing it in the garage or cellar. Moisture and rain can seep through inside the garage or basement.

• Charging mobility scooter batteries is easy--just plug in and power down. You can also buy battery charges.

• Most mobility scooters, as well as electric mobility aids in general, have anti-tip devices for added safety. Never remove or fuss with anti-tip devices.

• Get a master key so no one has access to your scooter but you.

• A locking seat and tiller eliminates those bumps and jumps when you're riding.

• Use reflectors for night and low-light driving.

• Front bumpers absorb minor impacts from curbs or walls.

• Avoid using portable electronics and cell phones while your electric mobility scooter is running.

• When traveling or driving, don't try to load or unload mobility scooters, with parts that can weigh 30 pounds, without the help of family, friends or caregivers.

High-tech go-karts? The amusement park was never this much fun, or safe. Best of all, you can take the ride with you.

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Jolyn Wells-Moran