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      January 22, 2017
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On the Road with a Mobility Scooter

Portability is a factor in shopping for and selecting a mobility scooter or powered wheelchair. Besides possibly needing assistance in maneuvering around your own home, there are many places you can go with a mobility scooter or powered chair where you could not go otherwise without assistance. A powered chair or scooter gives you the independence to shop, vacation, visit relatives, and enjoy the outdoors. Where do you need to take your chair or scooter?

If you cannot drive your scooter or chair directly out of your front door, you will probably require a car or van that can carry the chair or scooter. Be sure to factor that into your travel plans. And you might still need some assistance getting in and out of the vehicle and onto your device.

There are many different styles of portable chairs and scooters. Some fold for ease of transport. Take into consideration how small a chair or scooter folds to fit into your vehicle. Others might need to be disassembled into several components and reassembled at your destination. This might also require the assistance of a helper. If your chair or scooter does not fold, you might need to install lifts or some other attachment on your vehicle.

Be sure to call ahead to your destination and inquire about how accommodating they might be to powered chairs or scooters. Fortunately, more and more venues are making themselves available to handle chairs or scooters. Some places you might go include:

  • Restaurants
  • Shopping malls or grocery stores
  • Airports and airlines
  • Cruise ships
  • Bus tours
  • Parks, zoos, or fairgrounds
  • Theaters or outdoor concerts
  • Sporting events

When you get to your destination, how far do you expect to have to go in your chair or scooter? Compact, folding mobile chairs or scooters might not have as much range as a full size scooter. Be sure the battery is fully charged before you leave home. Also make sure you know how long it takes to charge the battery. And one of your questions for your destination should concern accommodation for recharging your battery if necessary. In extreme cases, it might make sense to carry an extra, fully charged battery.

Even the most accommodating destination might still present challenges to a wheeled vehicle. Consider bringing along your own portable ramps for small obstacles like door sills. And if you’re going shopping or “hiking,” check to see if your chair or scooter can accommodate chair-attached back packs, shopping bags, or baskets. And for outdoor use, consider accessories that allow you to handle varying weather conditions, like showers or hot sun. Some devices can be equipped with sun shields, rain hoods, and holders for umbrellas or canes.

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