Choosing a Scooter or Wheelchair: Benefits and Buying Guide
A complete review: Mobility Scooter and Wheelchair
People who have issues with mobility – either due to a disability, old age or other reasons, are often faced with difficulty in choosing the right scooter or wheelchair to suit their needs. The fact is, since there are already a lot more options aside from the traditional wheelchair, selecting has become more of a process.
Flexibility and freedom of movement can be hindered greatly if you don’t choose the right scooter or wheelchair to use. Of course, you’d have to check with your physician before making your choice. This article can serve as a guide for you in all things about scooters and wheelchairs.
Read on to find out the benefits of using a wheelchair, the benefits of using a scooter, the difference between them and some tips on how to choose the right scooter or wheelchair for you. Once you’ve made your choice, seek advice from your physician to see if your selection, is in fact, the best option.
The Benefits of Using a Wheelchair
If you opt to get a wheelchair (whether the regular type or the power or electric type), then it would be helpful to know the benefits of it. Maybe these benefits would convince you to go with a wheelchair for your mobility needs.
Read on to learn about the benefits of using a wheelchair:
1. Using Wheelchair is Convenient and Easy
One of the biggest benefits of using a wheelchair is that it is convenient and easy to use. Traditional wheelchairs are simple and extremely easy to use.
For power wheelchairs, though they have motors, the controls still remain with the user and can be controlled by different body parts, depending on which is most functional. This is a perfect feature for people who have limited or no use of their arms or hands.
2. There are a Lot to Choose From
There is a wide variety of choices for both traditional and power wheelchairs. These options come in different prices and with different features. From more conventional ones with lesser features to more stylised and customisable ones which also come with more features.
3. Wheelchairs are Comfortable and Functional
All wheelchairs provide a good amount of comfort to the users and this is a key feature. There are also wheelchairs which are collapsible or foldable, allowing you to place them inside your car when you travel, which is very convenient.
The Benefits of Using a Mobility Scooter
Scooters are very different from wheelchairs but they also come with their own set of benefits. If you don’t think a wheelchair would be an ideal option for you then maybe you can go with a scooter.
Read on to find out the different benefits of a mobility scooter:
1. Save Energy While Remaining Efficient
If you choose a scooter, you’d most likely be able to save a lot on effort and energy as you won’t have to strain your shoulders, wrists, and elbows as opposed to when you are using a traditional wheelchair.
2. It’s Convenient and Easy to Use
Scooters are quite simple to operate and they will be able to give you enough freedom and mobility to go wherever you want, whenever you want. It is also much faster than a wheelchair so you can cover a larger distance using a scooter.
3. It Would Give You More Access
Scooters are smaller and much easier to use. With it, you can conveniently go shopping, visit friends and relatives or even just go out to get fresh air.
Climbing inclined hills or roads would also be much easier with a scooter as it won’t require any physical effort from you. It also needs a key to work so just like a car; you can leave it outside establishments without fear of being stolen.
The Difference between a Scooter and Wheelchair
Wheelchair and Scooter Options
Both wheelchairs and scooters are costly, so it’s sensible to do some research before making your selection. Here are some points of comparison:
A manual wheelchair may be a good choice if you have enough stamina and upper-body strength to push the wheelchair yourself using the push rims on the wheels. Pushing your own wheelchair has the added benefits of helping you get some exercise and maintaining upper-body fitness.
Manual wheelchairs are lighter than motorised wheelchairs, and many models are foldable, making them relatively easy to store and transport. In addition, they require less maintenance than motorised options.
The lightest manual wheelchairs, which are often used by disabled people to compete in sports, are made of titanium instead of aluminium.
If you don’t have enough energy or upper-body strength to push yourself in a manual wheelchair, or doing so causes pain, a motorised model is likely a better choice. For people with extensive paralysis, a motorised wheelchair can be outfitted with a breath-activated device.
Increased demand in recent years has resulted in a greater variety of motorised wheelchair models, with the main difference being the location of the wheel to which the motor is attached: back, centre, or front. The location of the “drive wheel” affects how it feels to drive the chair, particularly when making turns or manoeuvring in tight places.
“Motorised wheelchairs are usually pretty heavy, so you may need a van with a wheelchair lift or ramp for getting around away from home,” says neurologist Allen Bowling, MD, Ph.D., a physician associate at the Colorado Neurological Institute in Englewood, Colorado, and co-author of Optimal Health With Multiple Sclerosis.
Motorised wheelchairs are also pricey, so insurance coverage may be a consideration.
Battery-operated mobility scooters are good for travelling longer distances, but they can be difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
They are operated with hand controls and a steering handle mechanism, so it’s necessary to have a good hand and finger coordination and strength in your arms. Good torso control and stability while sitting are also essential for safe use of a power scooter.
Many scooters can be disassembled for transporting in your vehicle, although they can be difficult to take apart. Scooter sizes, weight capacities, and optional features vary from model to model.
How to choose a mobility scooter or wheelchair
Now let’s get down to the actual question on “How to choose the right scooter or wheelchair.” Whichever you choose, you must consider these following factors so you can make the best possible choice that would suit your needs:
1. Your Own Capabilities
Whether you would choose a scooter or a wheelchair, you’d have to estimate whether you are able to work with it or control it.
Different scooters and wheelchairs come with their own features and you should be able to make the most out of them. Since there are a wide variety of options, make sure to ask questions before actually making a purchase.
You may even have to make additional purchases for other attachments or features to make it easier and more comfortable for you to use.
2. The Limitations of the Wheelchair or Scooter
Once you’ve decided on the features of your choice, also find out the weight limit of your scooter or wheelchair. It must be able to carry you and all the items or bags you plan to carry along with you.
Whether it’s as simple as shopping bags or as essential as oxygen tanks, your wheelchair or scooter must be able to accommodate everything.
3. Where You Will Be Using Your Wheelchair or Scooter
You must be able to get around everywhere with the use of your scooter or wheelchair. Whether inside your home or outside, as long as there are ramps, you should be able to have access to all places.
It would also be very helpful if you can bring it along when you travel. Being able to place it in your family’s car or vehicle would be a very useful feature.
4. Storage Features
Aside from being able to place it inside your car, you should find out how easy it would be to assemble and disassemble it in case you’re planning to store it at some point.
You or the people in your household must know and be able to assemble, disassemble, fold or collapse your wheelchair properly.
5. Is It Covered by Your Insurance
Knowing whether your insurance will cover the purchase of a wheelchair or scooter is key.
Since options with a lot of features can be quite pricey, it would be helpful to know if you can save money on insurance. You can base your choice on how much you can spend along with how much your insurance can cover.
Now that you know the most important factors to consider, all that’s left for you to do is make your choice and find the best scooter or wheelchair for you.