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      March 24, 2017
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Tips for Buying a Mobility Scooter

Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs are alternatives to manual wheelchairs. They provide a greater level of independence to people who have difficulty walking, standing, or propelling themselves in a manual chair. Here are some tips to consider when shopping for a powered wheelchair or scooter.

List your needs; do you need assistance only when you leave your house, or do you need to be able to get around in your own home? If you can get around your home okay by yourself and only need a scooter for going out, where are you likely to go?

  • Shopping at the mall?
  • Visiting the park to see your grandchildren play sports?
  • Vacationing across the country?

What can you afford? How much will your insurance cover? Research whether Medicare will cover the chair or scooter and talk to your doctor about a prescription. Some scooter or power chair providers will help you with your Medicare paperwork.

Think about the logistics of using a scooter or chair. When you park a scooter to get on or off, you never know from which side you might need to mount or dismount. Look for a seat that swivels both left and right so that it can face either direction for easier mounting and dismounting. At the same time, make sure that you can easily swivel the seat forward into the driving position by yourself.

Most of the time, four wheels are more stable than three. On the other hand, three wheels might be more maneuverable on uneven terrain. Also, depending on where you are likely to go with your scooter or chair, you must strike a balance between higher ground clearance for terrain versus being low enough to get on and off easily.

There is a big difference in tires:

  • Wide pneumatic tires offer comfort and stability, especially on rougher terrain. But the air pressure must be checked periodically.
  • Solid tires require no maintenance but might only be suitable for hard surfaces, like pavement.

You also need to consider the necessary maintenance of a scooter or chair. Will you be able to handle these maintenance requirements, like cleaning the scooter or plugging in the battery? Is there someone who will be able to do those things for you if you cannot?

Traveling with a scooter or chair is also a consideration. While some smaller chairs or scooters can be folded and fit in the trunk of a car, others might have to be taken apart. Larger scooters can be broken down into pieces for transporting, but this might not be an easy task. Some parts can be heavy.

And finally, after you purchase a chair or scooter, will someone from the company help "fit" (make adjustments to) your machine for you? What kind of training (either for maintenance or traveling) is offered by the company? Is this support provided at time of delivery?

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