The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Scooters for Seniors
1. Will the mobility scooter be used primarily indoors, outdoors or both? There is a lot to this question, and understanding where the user needs mobility-assistance will determine many factors about the models to consider. For example, a scooter for (primarily) indoor use doesn't need to be as durable as many of the outdoor models.
Most of the indoor models can get away with 3 wheels (one leading and two trailing). A single leading wheel makes the scooter easier to steer, and lighter too. Outdoor scooters are usually heavier, more sturdy, have more “range” under the hood (ok in the box), and can be a bit more expensive.
2. Are you paying cash for the mobility scooter, or are you hoping Medicare will pick up the cost? Many manufacturers and marketers tout that mobility scooters for seniors can be paid for by Medicare (if you qualify for Medicare).
There are stipulations to this strategy, however. In most cases, your physician will need to “prescribe” and/or recommend a mobility aid/scooter for you with appropriate documentation.
3. Do you require a new model OR would a used (reconditioned) scooter do the job? There are great discounts to be had on used and/or reconditioned mobility scooters. A scan of “mobility scooters” on a local sale by owner website shows over 20 scooters for sale in the Portland, Oregon area most of the time! Scooters are usually well maintained by their owner/operators, which makes buying a used scooter a wise choice if you're spending your own money.
4. Do you (or someone you know) have the means to transport your scooter if you intend on using it outside the home? The larger grocery chains usually have mobility scooters available for people that need assistance, but some do not.
If you plan on taking your scooter with you, you need ample space in your vehicle (like a mini-van) AND someone to muscle it in and out for you. Van lifts are obviously the best alternative, but you need to think about transport as it relates to using a scooter away from home.
5. How much do you plan on spending on your mobility scooter? For the reasons mentioned above, there is a wide range in prices for mobility scooters for seniors. Pricing for a new mobility scooter ranges from $750 on the low end up to $4,500 on the high end. Features, durability, and quality raise the price points considerably.
6. Have you found any ratings and reviews for mobility scooters? Here at The Senior List, we plan on showcasing many of the popular models, so that our users can provide feedback on senior-friendly-scooters.
Until then, you can check out Amazon.com on many popular models today. You can also check with the manufacturers, or the sales outlet (but you might not be getting unbiased feedback. Just keep that in mind.)
7. Is the scooter comfortable to sit in? Now this may seem obvious, but if you plan on purchasing online, make sure you find that model locally and take it for a spin. Mobility Scooters are designed to be comfortable, but I can tell you from experience that people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes!
Legroom is a big consideration when evaluating the comfort of a mobility scooter. Another consideration is that we all sit a bit differently! My posture isn't perfect so I may sit differently than the next person. Test drive your mobility scooter… you'll be glad you did.
8. What is the maximum load weight? Load weight refers to all of the weight-bearing-stress being placed on (or in) the scooter and any one time. Individuals that are overweight, or need to carry heavy objects with them need to understand and answer these questions when evaluating mobility options.
9. What safety features and/or accessories come standard with my purchase? You don't want to spend $2,000 on a new scooter only to find out you need to purchase armrests as accessories… (enough said).
10. What kind of warranty comes with my purchase? Make sure you understand the warranty inside and out. Service can be expensive on mobility devices (not to mention a pain in the posterior). Know your rights upfront.