Learning More About the Functionality of Mobility Scooters

by Calyn Ehid

Using a mobility scooter to aid travel has become extremely popular for those with limited or no mobility of their own. If you are considering the purchase of a mobility scooter, there is a lot to know first. For those who suffer with arthritis or constant joint pain the ability to travel without pain or crutches, or a manual wheelchair, can be a game changer.

Perhaps you are already convinced you need one but are unsure what type to buy or how you will even afford one. The following guide can help you not only determine the best type for your lifestyle, but offer suggestions for affordability and the benefits you can enjoy from having an electric scooter of your own.

Do You Need a Scooter?

If you are unsure whether a mobility scooter would be a good choice for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have trouble walking for extended periods of time?
  • Have you given up trips or visits to family members because of limited mobility?
  • Do you have trouble managing a walker or cane?
  • Have you reached the point where your manual wheelchair is too difficult?

If you answered yes to any of these, then a mobility scooter can help you regain a level and quality of life you thought you might have to give up.

Benefits of a Mobility Scooter

Mobility scooters are often considered game changers in that they allow you to enjoy more independence. Are you tired of having to wait for a family member, spouse or healthcare worker to assist you with daily tasks, run errands or sightsee? A mobility scooter allows you to do more of what you care to do, when you want to do it. It allows you a degree of independence without having to rely on others as much. How many times have you turned down an outing with others because you knew you could not walk the same distances, or as fast. With a mobility scooter you can easily keep up with friends and family, carry on conversations as they walk, and be more socially active. More importantly, if you have balance issues then using a mobility scooter to comfortably move around your home can prevent dangerous falls.

Types of Mobility Scooters

Many makes and models of mobility scooters are on the market these days. Which one is best? The best scooter is one that fits into your lifestyle and allows you the mobility you crave. For example, if you are someone who would love to travel more, take trips to museums, botanical gardens or go for a walk in a state park, then a mobile scooter that is easily folded and transported in the trunk of your car is a great choice. Besides the travel scooter, other types of mobility scooters exist. Choose from the following:

  • Three Wheel Mobility Scooters: These are a bit larger than the travel scooters and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Highly maneuverable they turn tight and can handle weight up to 500 pounds.
  • Four Wheel Scooters: Highly stable these types of scooters are primarily for use outdoors. You can purchase an all-terrain model which can handle most lawns, light dirt and gravel, as well as hardpacked pathways.
  • Heavy Duty Mobility Scooters: If you are a heavy person, weighing more than 400 pounds, then this is the best choice. It allows you to comfortably navigate and travel with ease.

 How to Afford a Mobility Scooter

It may surprise you to know, but some Medicare plans cover all or part of the cost of a mobility scooter. You must have a condition that makes mobility difficult in your home or completing normal activities. The only disclaimer is that you must not be able to be aided sufficiently with the aid of a cane, walker or manual wheelchair. If you no longer have the physical strength to operate any of these devices, then Medicare may cover the cost of the electric scooter. A written order from your doctor is required. If accepted, then you could have almost 80 percent of the price covered. What can you expect to pay out of pocket, without Medicare’s assistance? Expect to pay between $600 to $2,000 depending on the make, model and style of the chair.

If you believe you would not qualify to have Medicare pay for the scooter, then there are other alternatives. Veterans often have benefits extended to them through the VA. Various non-profit organizations also help make mobility scooters affordable. Each state offers non-Medicaid programs to help, and can come in the form of an outright grant or a small low interest loan. Many scooter companies also offer their own in-house financing as well. Keep in mind that if you must pay out of pocket for the cost of your mobility scooter, it is tax deductible under the Medical and Dental Expenses section of the tax return form.