best mobility scooters

How to Choose the Best Mobility Scooter for the Elderly?

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As people age and become elderly, and are probably retired from work, their mobility becomes increasingly restricted, due to health problems like arthritis or other age-related diseases that make it difficult for them to take the few steps that they need to get on with their daily lives. This is where mobility scooters have allowed them to gain freedom and will enable them to become more independent.

You can buy mobile scooters that are useful for indoor activities, as well as those that allow some more freedom that allows the elderly to use their mobility scooters to go out of the house, and probably visit their nearby supermarkets, banks, chemists, doctors or even the local park. For buying mobility scooters for the elderly, it is necessary to first identify the needs of the particular person who will use the scooter daily. Do you need it for home or office use? Then, in that case, you need to find a scooter that has a narrow base that allows a smaller and tighter turning radius, as it is difficult to maneuver in the limited spaces that homes and offices will have.

Types of Mobility Scooters

Most mobility scooters have three or more wheels so that the scooter is stable and does not require any balancing as would be needed for the conventional scooters. You can also get scooters that are portable and can be carried around in cars for easy transport. Most mobile scooters work on electric power that is supplied by the batteries that are installed on them. Heavy-duty scooters would be required when the elderly person is largely framed and has more weight.

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Things To Look For In Mobility Scooters

If you are sure what type of mobility scooters for the elderly to choose, it is needed to look at the various factors that should influence your choice of a mobility scooter that will suit the older person for whom the scooter is being purchased.

Comfort

This is of great importance as the elderly will spend a significant part of their waking hours while on the scooter, and may even choose it to be their chair of choice, as it allows them to get on with their daily routine, like reading, watching TV, or even cooking, while being readily available to move about whenever it is required. So choose a scooter that is well cushioned and easy to get on and off without requiring any other assistance. This will just make the user more independent.

Ease of Use

The scooter chosen must be easy to operate, have a minimum of controls, and yet a high degree of safety during operation. Most people do not require spending more than a few minutes listening to instructions before they can grasp the few details that allow them to use the mobility scooter, as soon as it is purchased and delivered at the place of residence.

Tire Type

Tires can be air-filled, reliable, or even foam filled. Air-filled tires can get punctured and will need to be attended to. These relatively simple tasks may often be beyond the capabilities of the elderly and would require the younger generation or caregivers to assist. Solid tires are not as comfortable to ride on as the air-filled or foam-filled ones but are more than adequate for scooters that are used indoors, on relatively smooth floors, and where you do not need to cross any obstructions. You can always ride around on demo models at the scooter dealers before you make a choice.

Weight

The weight of a scooter makes a difference, especially if it is of the portable variety, and will need to be carried or transported around. Scooters can weigh anywhere between 50 and 200 pounds. The lightweight scooters will be those that are easy to both assemble and transport.

Turning Radius

This is the essential aspect of the scooter for users, as it decides how easy it is to manipulate the scooter within the limited spaces that a home or other space where it is being used, has. Turning radii are the smallest circular turns that this scooter can make. Tighter turning radii will make them easy to operate and allow you to maneuver around tight corners.

Ground Clearance

This is the space that is between the undercarriage of the scooter and the base of the tire. While a low clearance will add to the stability of a ride, it can be a problem when your regular routes of travel have any obstructions that the scooter will have to cross over, like thresholds or others.

Recommended Incline

This depends on the power of the scooter and indicates the incline amount that a scooter can safely climb. This needs to be considered when a scooter is expected, during daily use, to use exit ramps or inclined sidewalks. It is important never to exceed this manufactured suggested incline, as besides causing a strain on the motor, it could also lead to unsafe conditions and lead to rolling back in an uncontrolled fashion, which can lead to accidents.

Weight Capacity

Mobility scooter for seniors

Every mobility scooter for the elderly will have a weight decided by the manufacturer that is safe to carry. It is always an excellent choice to make if you select a mobility scooter that can carry a little more than the weight of the person for whom the scooter is being bought. After all, you never know, grocery bags can add to the weight, or small children hitching rides with their favorite grandparent.

Speed

Scooters never move at more than 4 to 5.5 miles per hour, and this is much faster than an average person can walk and should be more than suitable for the elderly. After all, if they want to go racing, far better they used cars. Opt for a scooter that has a top speed that will suit the user’s normal speed of walking, as then they will feel that they are sufficiently mobile.

Batteries

Most mobility scooters work on batteries and this limits their range of travel. Scooters on the market have ranges for a single charge, which is between 8 and 15 miles, which is quite a distance, and rarely used by its users. Batteries also need to be charged, and charging can vary depending on the model and vary from 2 hours to needing an overnight charge. Ideally, every mobile scooter must be used during the day and left to recharge overnight, when it is not in use.

Mobility scooters must be seen as mobility aids and are seen more as powered wheelchairs, that allows its user to move around in the same fashion as when they use wheelchairs. It is just that they do not have to provide the effort and use of hand power that moving wheelchairs will require. Mobility scooters will have a seat and a place to rest the feet. They will have handlebars that allow for the maneuvering of the scooter. Seats can be swiveled so that the scooter is easy to get on and get out of, and the handlebars do not obstruct movement. Some older models of these scooters were powered by gasoline engines, but the noise and the fumes have led to their more or less becoming obsolete, and their power is now left to electric motors and batteries.

Mobility Scooters Make Life Easier for the Elderly

The users of mobility scooters, generally the elderly, still need to be able to stand and move about on their own, be able to sit upright without any support and must be able to control the scooter by operating its few controls and steering mechanisms. Speed can be controlled, and maximum speeds need to be further controlled when the use is made of sidewalks or pavements. Mobility scooters can also travel on the roads but must be equipped with proper lights and indicators.

Mobility scooters comparison

Mobility scooters are effortless to use and greatly ease the problems of mobility for the elderly. This mobility can be enhanced by the use of stair-lifts that allow the elderly to overcome stairs easily. Before you decide on buying a mobility scooter, make sure that the home or area where it is going to be used is cleared of any obstructions, and the furniture is laid out so that it does not cause any construction for the scooter. Remove any thresholds, if possible, though this is at times not easily achievable, especially where there are sliding doors to a porch or outside area. If the elderly in your family would like to spend some time in the garden or go out of the home for shopping or visiting friends, you will need to provide a ramp that can easily be used by the scooter. Ensure that the incline of this ramp is one that is within the capability of the scooter. The flatter it is, the safer it is for use and must also be wide enough for the scooter with a sufficient safety margin.

A mobility scooter can greatly improve and enhance the life and convenience for the elderly in your family and improve the required abilities for living. It will significantly add to their independence.

Looking for a free mobility scooter? Read this guide about free mobility scooters.

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James Peacock
James Peacock
James Peacock is the editor-in-chief of Mobility Deck. James has lived as a student in Auckland for over 7 years, so he has a lot of experience with the difficulties of accessible transport in a big city. As a graduate of law from the University of Auckland, James enjoys writing and is dedicated to discovering the most innovative and valuable mobility products worth sharing with others – the ones that truly improve users' lives.
James Peacock
James Peacock
James Peacock is the editor-in-chief of Mobility Deck. James has lived as a student in Auckland for over 7 years, so he has a lot of experience with the difficulties of accessible transport in a big city. As a graduate of law from the University of Auckland, James enjoys writing and is dedicated to discovering the most innovative and valuable mobility products worth sharing with others – the ones that truly improve users' lives.
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