Post by Emily Buchanan
As many of us know, old age makes it a lot harder to get around. Aching bones tire easily and, regardless of our willingness to participate in family activities, sometimes it seems easier to just stay at home. However, don’t let reduced mobility keep you housebound. If you’re unable to walk for long periods of time then a mobility scooter may be just the thing you need.
For one reason or another, these around town get-abouts seem to have a bit of a negative rep. And yet, they’re incredibly handy and economical! Allow me to convince you…
Being cooped up at home after an operation or during long-term sickness can be seriously boring. Being house-bound isn’t just bad for you physically; it’s also terrible for your state of mind. Therefore, a scooter could provide the valuable freedom you need during recovery.
Trips to the shops, some fresh air after lunch, a walk with the dog; this independence is not only integral to your happiness but will likely speed up the recovery process as a whole.
A Weighty Issue
Like the rings inside a tree trunk, age brings with it a couple of extra tires that are extremely difficult to shift – particularly if you are not well enough to exercise.
Therefore, if weight gain is making it harder to do the things you used to, a mobility scooter might be just the ticket. Whilst some will argue that this will only exacerbate the issue, a scooter may actually encourage you to exercise more often. After all, with the simplicity of travel, you can get to clubs and classes and meet people in a similar position.
Who knows, with that added incentive, you might start to notice a loosening of the waist band.
For many older people, a mobility scooter is simply not an everyday concern. If you’re lucky enough to fall into this category then celebrate your vitality with a brisk walk in the park. Before you do, consider this: renting a mobility scooter on holiday…
Holidays offer the unique opportunity to explore a new culture by immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of a different country. Sometimes, this can be a little tasking for older people, particularly if it’s necessary to walk long distances – which, more often than not, it is.
Don’t let fatigue stop you from soaking up the experience. Scooter rentals are big business in America; partly because their tourist-trap towns and cities are vast and partly because US residents like the ease a mo-scoo provides. The last thing anyone wants on holiday to be restricted, so enjoy the freedom of 8 mph and really get to grips with a new place.
Unlike motorised wheelchairs, mobility scooters offer no upper body support. Therefore, bear in mind that users must be able to keep themselves upright and they must be able to steer and maneuver the scooter. As such, it isn’t for everyone, especially the severely disabled.
If your upper body is in any way compromised, you may be more suited to a motorised wheelchair. Don’t fear, there’s plenty of information online about choosing a vehicle that’s right for you.
For the novices among us, it’s important to get the legal stuff out the way
Firstly, to use a motor scooter in the UK you must be suffering from a temporary or permanent physical disability. Secondly, drivers of mobility scooters do not need to hold a driving licence and whilst insurance is not legally required, it’s strongly advised. After all, if you crash or it gets stolen or a freak flood sweeps it away, you’ll be pleased you organised some cover. There are plenty of providers to choose from and I’d personally recommend Chartwell.
There are two classes of disability scooter in the UK; class 2 and class 3 (strangely, there is no class 1). Class 2 scooters are not for road use (unless there is no pavement) and have a maximum speed of 4 mph. Class 3 scooters can be used on both the road and pavement and their maximum speed is 8 mph. Sure, these speeds aren’t breaking any records but, you know, you’ll get a small sense of satisfaction taking over cyclists.
Oh and last but not least, class 2 scooters do not need tax discs but class 3 mobility scooters do and they must be registered with the DVLA – probably because they burn some serious rubber.
I hope this article has helped you think more about the potential of mobility scooters. If you use one or are considering it, please share your experiences below!