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When to Use a Mobility Scooter vs. a Wheelchair

mans torso in a wheelchair

Courtesy of Meghan Belnap

There are many people who sustain a condition or injury that results in the loss of function or mobility due to different health issues, an injury, or recovery from health or accidental injuries. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of modern mobility equipment that is able to assist in being able to complete many daily living activities and give a measure of independence and self-reliance.

Electrical Mobility Scooter

Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, scooters generally get more than 10 miles on a single charge, has various enhancements, comes in different sizes and styles, have a basket that can be used for transporting belongings, have lights and turn signals to ensure safety, performs best for those not afflicted with problems affecting upper body range of motion, and are usually used for fairly short durations. Control and steering is generally performed through handlebars similar to those on bicycles and motorcycles.

Typical mobility equipment scooters come in three models: (1) The three-wheel has better handling in restricted quarters, offers a tight turning radius, and has more leg space compared to other models.(2) The four-wheel can typically hold weight up to 500 pounds and is more stable and sturdy than the three wheel. (3) The compact can be folded easily to make placement possible in a van or vehicle and wherever storage space is limited.

Scooters are much more convenient for those who have trouble with walking, but still retain the basic abilities to stand and walk for very short distances. Depending on the model type, mobility scooters are more convenient for maneuvering in crowded areas and for longer distances than wheelchairs. This makes them ideal for those who have more independence in travel but need the extra support to move.

Power Wheelchair

When the person has greater range of motion problems and needs to be in the chair for prolonged periods, this type of individual mobility alternative has advanced functions and features. They include four to six wheels, are easy to maneuver, and have a variety of seat motion choices for relaxation and posture support. The programmable joystick is for convenient steering by foot, eyes, or mouth to have full control over where you go.

Because these are more maneuverable through these alternative means, power wheelchairs are the best option for those who have palsy or other physical conditions that may make manual steering difficult. Those who are otherwise unable to control their movements find a great deal of freedom through power wheelchairs that support alternative steering as it allows them to choose where they go rather than relying on an aid to take them in their desired direction. While these are less ideal for moving longer distances, it is the perfect solution for those seeking greater independence while at home or traveling with others.

Mobility issues cover a wide variety of disabilities, from genetic mutations to the simple deterioration of old age. With each type of mobility problem comes more personalized options for gaining independence in movement. To further explore your options and what works best for your particular issue, speak with your healthcare providers.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.


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