Your Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter Resource
Saturday, June 19th, 2010
While seniors are not the only group of people to use mobility scooters, they are much more common among the elderly and are a powerful tool for patients who are only partially ambulatory. Mobility scooters are designed to provide supplemental walking assistance to the mobility challenged, safely transporting their rider over both indoor and outdoor terrain.
Mobility scooters, which are also called electric scooters or adult scooters, have been around for about fifty years, but did not really start to gain popularity until the 1980′s. Since then, names like the Rascal have become household names and many people take advantage of this powerful type of home medical equipment.
There are many brands of mobility scooters and several distinct categories. Understanding how these different types of mobility scooters work and how they are classified can make buying a mobility scooter much easier, as well as helping to narrow down the available choices.
Travel Scooters are often the least expensive type of mobility scooter and are designed to be taken apart into several managable pieces. Many include special clips that allow the scooter to be broken down quickly, often with only one hand. When dissasembled, the indivudal pieces of the travel scooter are lightweight and easy to move, with the heaviest piece often weighing less than 30 pounds.
Being able to take the scooter apart makes it much easier to transport, as it can be placed in the trunk of a car, rather than requiring a special scooter lift be installed on the vehicle.
While travel scooters can be a great choice in some cases, they usually lack a lot of the features other mobility scooters have. This is because in order to reduce weight, pretty much anything not related to safety or required for functionality is removed. As a result, travel scooters usually support less weight, have a shorter per-charge range, and are not quite as durable as other mobility scooters.
For everyday use, a travel scooter is often not the best choice, but they can make it much easier and less expensive to transport the device.
Traditional Mobility Scooters are usually designed to be broken down in a manner similar to that of a travel scooter, but the individual pieces are not quite as lightweight or easy to manage. However, traditional scooter have many other features, both safety related, such as improved suspension, lighting systems, and larger weight capacities, as well as comfort related.
Typically a vehicle scooter lift is required to transport the mobility scooter, which has a significantly higher range than travel scooters.
Heavy Duty Mobility Scooters, as the name implies, are the Mack Truck of mobility scooters. They are much larger than other types of mobility scooters, making them more difficult to transport, but have a much higher weight rating and are designed to preform well across all types of terrain, including off-road.
They feature larger wheels, a higher ground clearance, reinforced bumpers, and many other features designed to make the device as rugged as possible. Heavy Duty Electric Scooters also have a larger per-charge range and can support a much higher weight capacity than other mobility scooters, as well as having many creature comforts, like a large comfortable captains chair.
Mobility scooters, while excellent for outdoor use, do tend to be pretty large, so they are not always the best choice for tight quarters in a home. Like other types of mobility scooters, most heavy duty mobility scooters can be broken down into several pieces, but it is not uncommon for the lightest piece to be over 100 pounds. So, it is usually not practical to break them down for transportation, at least not for daily transport.
Monday, January 11th, 2010
Mobility Scooters are often used by seniors and are electric scooters designed to help make it easier to get around. Using rechargeable batteries, these adult scooters can be driven indoors and outdoors, making life easier for who are able to walk, but only with difficulty. There are many types of mobility scooters, but one of the most powerful and fun to drive types is the Heavy Duty Mobility Scooter.
As the name implies, a Heavy Duty Mobility Scooter is very rugged, has a heavier weight capacity, and can be driven in areas where other types of mobility scooters could not. They have larger wheels and often reinforced shocks, making them well suited for off road terrain. It is also common for heavy duty mobility scooters to have reinforced bumpers, to protect against impacts and things like brush, which might be experienced when driving the scooter outdoors.
Pneumatic Tires are also almost always used, which means the tires are filled with air instead of being a solid piece of rubber. This helps to improve traction, making the scooters preform better on loosely packed dirt or other outdoor terrain.
Most Heavy Duty Scooters use a four wheel design, as this provides the most stability, but some three wheeled heavy duty scooters are available. The Three Wheel Models will have a better turning radius, at the expense of reduced stability.
To give you an idea of the difference in weight capacity between a regular mobility scooter and a heavy duty mobility scooter, most regular adult scooters support between 250 and 300 pounds. A heavy duty scooter, on the other hand, will usually support between 400 and 500 pounds.
Not only are heavy duty scooters able to support more weight than other electric scooters, they also have a significantly higher top speed and battery life. For example, it is common for a heavy duty scooter to travel more than 25 miles on a single charge at speeds over 5 mph. This is opposed to most traditional electric scooters, which have a range of around 10 miles or less.
Heavy Duty Electric Scooters also have a number of extra features to make them more comfortable, such as improved seats with head support and even sometimes carpeting on the base of the scooter.
One thing to keep in mind is that Heavy Duty Mobility Scooters are usually the most expensive type of mobility scooter. They usually start at around $2500 and can exceed $5000, depending on the model and features.
Also, since heavy duty mobility scooters are so much larger and heavier they are not as easy to transport. Most of those who purchase a heavy duty mobility scooter invest in a scooter lift for their vehicle, which makes it easier to transport.
Heavy Duty Scooters also are not as maneuverable as other smaller electric scooters, so will not always be the best choice for use indoors.
Pride Mobility, Golden Technologies, and ShopRider all offer at least one Heavy Duty Mobility Scooter.
There are several different models of heavy duty scooters, but the ShopRider Xl4 Deluxe(#889XLSBN,) Golden Avenger(#GC-541,) and Pride Hurricane(#PMV5001) are some of the more popular models of heavy duty scooters.
Monday, December 14th, 2009
It is not uncommon for a senior to have difficulty walking and getting around. Around the home, it is possible that not being able to walk for an extended period of time isn’t all that big of an issue and in many cases, a walker or rollator will offset these difficulties. However, going places like the grocery store, shopping mall, or even walking around might not be possible, so many seniors use mobility scooters.
Mobility scooters are one of the most common types of mobility vehicles, which allow a senior to effortlessly get around. Many are able to travel over 10 miles per charge and some can travel even further on a single charge, with a range of over 30 miles. There are many different types of mobility scooters, but they can typically be divided into three distinct categories; Travel Scooters, Heavy Duty Scooters, and Traditional Scooters.
Travel Scooters are very popular, because they are designed to be easily transported. They can be taken apart into several pieces, all of which are light enough for the average senior to lift, with the heaviest piece often weighing less than 30 pounds. This means that the travel scooter can be dissembled quickly and placed in the trunk or back seat of a car, without the need of a special scooter lift.
While travel scooters can be very convenient, their lightweight comes at the cost of features. They also often have a shorter range than other scooters, are not quite as durable, and will typically have a lower weight capacity than a non-travel scooter.
Where travel scooter are made with transportability in mind, heavy duty scooters are designed to be driven almost anywhere. As a result, they are very heavy and will very likely require a scooter lift to transport, but they preform very well over almost all terrains. They have a much higher weight capacity than other mobility scooters, offer reinforced bumpers, a higher ground clearance, a larger more comfortable chair, and larger wheels. They also have a much larger range and top speed, with some heavy duty scooters able to travel over 10 miles per hour.
Many people who spend a great deal of time outdoors will go with a heavy duty scooter and they can be not only very practical, but also a good deal of fun to drive. However, they tend to have a rather large turning radius, which means that they wont do as well in very tight quarters, such as in a living room. This means that a heavy duty scooter is an excellent choice for outdoors and public areas, like the grocery store, but might not always be the best choice for use inside the home.
The last type of scooter is the traditional scooter and this is sort of a catch all category. If it isn’t a travel scooter or a heavy duty scooter, then it is a traditional scooter. They are more durable than travel scooters, yet not quite as durable as a heavy duty scooter. Most traditional scooters can be easily taken apart, but the individual pieces will not be as easy to handle.
For a senior, or anyone who has difficulty walking for that matter, a mobility scooter can greatly improve accessibility. These devices provide a cost effective alternative to electric wheelchairs and are very easy to use.
Saturday, December 5th, 2009
Vehicle Lifts are used to make it easier to transport a wheelchair or mobility scooter. When considering what type of vehicle lift to use, there are several factors that should be taken into account, including what type of mobility vehicle is being transported and what type of vehicle is being used. These factors will often help narrow down the options that are available to the wheelchair user, making it much simpler to select the right wheelchair lift.
The type of mobility vehicle that is being transported is often the biggest factor that helps determine what type of vehicle lift to use. There are many different models of mobility vehicles, but they can usually be classified as manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, and mobility scooters.
In the case of transporting a manual wheelchair, most people will simply fold it up and put it in their trunk. However, since manual wheelchairs can be rather heavy, sometimes lifting them into the back of the car can be difficult. Also, there is often simply not enough room in the car, so an external wheelchair lift is used. These are usually not motorized and attach to the hitch of a vehicle.
Of course, if you have a mobility scooter or an electric wheelchair, a manual wheelchair lift will not work. Instead, you would need to invest in a motorized wheelchair lift. In some cases, electric wheelchair carriers and mobility scooters carriers can be used interchangeably, but this is not always the case.
For example, often instead of a full platform, mobility scooter lifts will use a lift that has metal tracks, which are only large enough for the wheels of the scooter to fit into. When loading the scooter, the wheels will be driven into the tracks, which support the entire weight of the device. For three wheel scooters, the lift will have three tracks and for four wheeled scooters, there would be two tracks.
Some other lifts will have automatic hold down arms, which engage as the lift is being raised and hold the scooter in place without the need for tie-down straps. The automatic hold down arm works, because of the longer design of the mobility scooter, making contact with the floor portion where the use rests their feet. However, most electric wheelchairs will not work with this type of lift.
When in doubt, if the lift is labeled as an Universal Lift this means it will work with both electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Otherwise, it will often only work with one or the other.
The type of vehicle that will transporting the mobility vehicle is also important.
For example, those that wished to use a passenger car have fewer options than those with a van or SUV. Typically, the only option would be a hitch mounted lift or a crane lift. The hitch mounted lift is simply inserted onto the vehicles hitch and either has its own battery pack or uses the vehicles power. Crane lifts are installed into the trunk of the car and simply hoist the wheelchair off the ground in the same manner a crane lifts a heavy load to the top of a building. One feature to look out for when shopping for crane lifts is Powered Rotation, which means the crane’s arm can be completely controlled electronically.
Those who have a SUV or van can also use the hitch mounted lift or the crane lift, but internal wheelchair lifts are also an option. These use a small platform that extends from the vehicle, allows the scooter or wheelchair to be driven onto the platform, then retracts, storing the wheelchair inside of the vehicle. These are most popular with vans, as by removing one of the rows of seats, the scooter can be stored directly behind the drives seat. In SUVs, internal lifts are used in the rear trunk area.
Those with trucks also have a few options and can of course use the crane or hitch mounted options described above. There are also several specially made truck lifts that are designed to lift the scooter off of the ground and into the bed of the pickup truck.
Yet another factor that helps determine what type of wheelchair lift is right, is where the person lives or where they plan on using the lift. For example, those who live in an area that gets a great deal of rain, snow, or other inclement weather, would probably want to go with a internal wheelchair lift. This way the wheelchair or scooter will be stored safely out of the weather.
However, those who live in a more moderate climate would be able to use a hitch mounted wheelchair lift that stores the wheelchair outside of the vehicle. However, it is still usually recommended to invest in a cover for the wheelchair or scooter, to protect against sudden storms or road debris.
Monday, November 30th, 2009
Mobility scooters are one of the most popular mobility vehicles used by seniors. They offer the convenience of an electric wheelchair, but usually cost less. This makes them an excellent choice for those who are able to walk for short periods of time, but with difficulty.
The mobility scooter shares a number of similarities with electric wheelchairs, but the design is actually quite different. In an adult scooter, a chair sits towards the back of a base that is quite longer than most electric wheelchairs. A set of handlebars, called a tiller, extends from the front of the scooter, which allows the user to control the direction and speed of the electric scooter.
It is possible to get a three wheel or four wheel mobility scooter, with four wheel mobility scooters offering better stability and weight support. Three wheeled scooters, however, have better maneuverability and usually weigh less than 4 wheel scooters. For those who are going to be using the scooter primarily indoors, 3 wheeled scooters are often a good choice, as they work well in smaller spaces. For outdoor use or if a higher weight capacity is needed, 4 wheeled scooters are almost always the best choice.
There are actually a number of different mobility scooter accessories available, which can make the mobility vehicle more comfortable or more convenient. When considering accessories, it is important to differentiate between accessories that are specific to the actual model of scooter and generic accessories.
Scooter specific accessories, which are designed to only work with a specific brand or model of scooter, can be more expensive and are not carried by as many dealers. Some examples of scooter specific accessories would be an automatic lifting seat, which electronically raises and lowers the scooters seat, making transfers more convenient.
Generic Scooter Accessories, on the other hand, are often available much cheaper if you do a little shopping around and since they will work with many types of mobility scooters, it is not necessary to buy them from the same place you buy your scooter. Instead, it is often possible to save a great deal of money by doing some shopping around, where this is not really the case, with the price of most scooters being set by the manufacture.
For example, many mobility scooter dealers will sell visibility flags that can be attached to a scooter, making it more visible in crowds or to vehicles. A visibility flag would be considered a generic accessory, because it is not designed for a specific scooter and will instead work with most models. However, you can often get a much better deal if you goto your local bike shop and buy one of their flags. Scooter bags are much the same and you really can save a great deal of money by shopping around.
There are many types of scooter accessories, including oxygen holders, cane holders, bags, scooter trays, and baskets. By understanding the difference between scooter specific accessories and generic scooter accessories, you can save a great deal of money, because most dealers have a high markup on their accessories. These are the bread and butter, especially if you are getting your scooter for below MSRP.
Frugal TIP: Goto your local bike shop or sports store when looking for things like side-view mirrors, visibility flags, and bags for your scooter. Often, you will save money on these types of generic scooter accessories, as well as getting it right away instead of having to pay and wait for shipping.
Monday, August 17th, 2009
For the elderly, it is common for diseases like arthritis to make it very difficult to walk for extended periods of time. This can have a very big impact on the seniors life, as they are no longer able to spend as much time with family or even walking around a store. Many seniors will use rolling walkers, which are called rollators, or canes, but even when using this type of mobility aid, it still requires a great deal of effort to walk. For more extended use, a mobility scooter often provides a much more practical walking aid for seniors.
Mobility scooters are similar in function to electric wheelchairs, but they are designed quite differently and usually cost a good deal less as well. For example, typically a low end power chair costs as much as a high end mobility scooter, so for seniors who have difficulty walking, a mobility scooter is often the best choice.
The mobility scooter provides a platform with three or four wheels, upon which a chair is placed. The chair is positioned more towards the back of the electric scooter and a set of handlebars extends from the front. The handlebars, called a tiller, not only controls the mobility scooter, but also usually operates its running lights, contains a throttle to control speed, and a battery charge indicator. It is also not uncommon to place a basket on the tiller to hold groceries or other goods.
The number of wheels that the scooter has, three or four, is an important consideration, as this relates to both maneuverability and stability. A three wheeled scooter will have better maneuverability at the cost of stability. A four wheel scooter, on the other hand, has better stability as the weight of the user is more evenly distributed. However, this improved stability comes at the cost of a decrease in maneuverability.
As a result, a three wheel scooter is a great choice for indoors and occupants with lower weights. For a higher weight capacity adult scooter or one that will be used a great deal outdoors, it is better to go with a four wheel scooter.
There are three basic types of mobility scooters, travel scooters, heavy duty scooters, and standard scooters.
Travel scooters are designed to be lightweight and taken apart easily. The individual pieces typically do not weigh more than thirty pounds and so it is not necessary to use a vehicle scooter carrier to transport a travel scooter. They are also easily transported on planes.
To reduce weight, most extra features are cut, including lighting systems, lower weight capacity, the type of seat used, and extra body panels to protect against low impact collisions, such as running into the leg of a table. Most travel scooters are also usually three wheel scooters, as this is also lighter. They also have a significantly lower per charge range and top speed.
Heavy Duty Scooters are almost the exact opposite of a travel scooter and are designed for off road use. They have a very high weight capacity and many extra features. This includes larger tires, improved suspension, upgraded body panels, reinforced bumpers, complete lighting systems, higher ground clearance, and an upgraded captain’s chair. Heavy duty scooters also have a very large per charge range and top speed.
Of course, due to the size of a heavy duty scooter, it is almost always necessary to invest in a vehicle scooter carrier to transport the device and they are not always as well suited for the tight quarters of a living room.
Standard scooters form the middle ground, offering improved functionality, features, range, and speed when compared to travel scooters, but less so when compared to heavy duty scooters. Typically, transporting a standard scooter also requires a vehicle scooter carrier.
Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Often, for seniors walking for an extended period of time can become very difficult. Many times, this is not a big issue when at home, but it can make going anywhere, even to the grocery store, very difficult. To make it easier to get around, the mobility scooter is one of the more popular mobility vehicles available for a senior.
While wheelchairs have been used for thousands of years, the mobility scooter is fairly new, dating back only about fifty years. Mobility scooters also use a design that is very different from that of a wheelchair. One of the major differences is that due to the way a scooter is designed, you can not drive it directly up to a table or desk, so will likely have to transfer to a regular chair when eating or working.
Typically, the mobility scooter will have a rectangle shaped base, with wheels at the front and back. A chair is mounted slightly off center, positioned more towards the back of the base. Depending on the chair, it could offer a very simple lightweight design, or it could be a luxurious captains chair, with a reclining back.
A set of handlebars, called the tiller, extends from the front of the base and can be moved closer to the chair as needed. The tiller is used to control the direction and acceleration of the mobility scooter. A headlight, turn signal, and basket are also often attached to the tiller. They also typically have keyed entry, to protect the scooter from unauthorized use.
Mobility scooters are very popular, because they allow an individual to move easily over relatively large distances, with little physical effort. The range varies by model, but most adult scooters can travel at least five miles on a signal charge, with some capable of traveling more than 30 miles without requiring a charge. It is usually possible to purchase an extra battery pack for the scooter, which effectively doubles the range of the device. When one battery wears down, the battery can be taken out and charged, with the other battery pack being added. Most people will not require an extra battery pack, but it might be a good idea for those who are always on the go and don’t want to be stuck waiting for their mobility scooter to recharge.
Since the mobility scooter is battery powered, it can safely be used indoors or outdoors, although some are better suited at outdoor use than others. Typically, four wheel scooters provide a more stable platform for outdoor use and three wheeled scooters have a smaller turning radius, so are better for indoor use. Most will preform equally well over tightly packed terrain though, so for many people the extra stability offered by a four wheeled adult scooter is negligible.
For the mobility challenged senior, an electric mobility scooter is a very valuable tool that helps increase their mobility. These devices are available to accommodate people of all sizes and can be a valuable asset for those who have problems walking for extended periods of time.