Mobility Scooters A First Time User’s Observations
By Bob Aronson
I don’t want to beat this issue to death but being as I am now the owner of a mobility scooter I know a little something about them and offer the following observations to those who are considering a scooter or a wheelchair.
First, know this, Medicare will only pay 80% of the cost of a vehicle and only for use IN the home. You must prove to Medicare via diagnosis by a medical professional that you are indeed disabled and unable to get around your home without such a vehicle. If you want transportation outside the home, neither Medicare nor Medicaid will pay for it.
Now, to the scooter. The first thing for you to consider is how you plan to use it. If you plan extensive use in a variety of environments you are going to pay a hefty price. If you only want something portable that you can throw in the trunk of your car and take into Wal Mart or the Mall the vehicles are much cheaper but they are slow, don’t go very far on a charge and won’t carry very much weight.
All mobility vehicles have the same problem — you have to get them to where you want to use them. If you just drive out your front door to the corner store then you have no problem. But, if you want to take it to a mall, on a cruise or on a nature tour you have to be able to transport it. This is a major issue, do not discount it. Some scooters and wheelchairs fold up easily others take more work and still others don’t come apart at all and for them you’ll need to purchase a mechanism that either gets the device into your vehicle mechanically or transports it on a bumper style carrier.
My scooter, the Tzora Titan three wheeler retails for about $2,000. It is listed as portable and made for heavier duty use. While I can handle the “Portability” of this scooter many could not. This scooter breaks down into five parts (the advertising says two). You must remove the basket, two batteries and then pull a lever that separates the scooter into two parts. The heaviest of the two is 50 pounds which may not sound like much but if you have COPD or a back problem like I do, it can be difficult. Picking up 50 pounds is not a problem for me, I have the arm strength to do that but the exertion leaves me out of breath. Then you have to pick up the other piece which is 49 pounds and the two batteries which are 21 pounds each. For someone with back or breathing problems this can be problematic unless you travel with someone who can help you.
Upon arriving at your destination, you have to pick it all up again and assemble it. The ad says It’s easy with very little bending…not true! You have to bend over completely, steady the front of the scooter with one hand and lift the back end of the scooter on to the front end making sure that the connection is secure. On my first try it took several attempts to connect the two. It does get easier with practice (I suppose you could kneel instead of bend but either way getting up isn’t easy). Then you have to lift the batteries and position them behind the seat; place the basket rods in the holes behind the seat; raise the seat and tiller and you are ready to go. For an able bodied person this is a piece of cake. It really is as easy as the advertising says it is, unless you are disabled. Obviously the people who wrote the ad are not disabled.
My scooter is a three wheeler which is very maneuverable but not as stable as the four wheel version. Most of these vehicles have no brakes…that’s right, no brakes. You stop by letting go of the throttle lever and the stop is sudden so you have to get used to easing up on the throttle rather than just letting go.
An often overlooked item is a ramp. If you keep your scooter in the house and want to take it out the front door, even if it is at ground level you may need a small ramp to keep from getting hung up on the threshold. I would not buy any mobility vehicle that has less than 5 inches of clearance from the bottom of the scooter to the ground.
If you can afford it I strongly advise getting a scooter with a full lighting package…not so much so you can see where you are going but rather so you can be seen. Scooters are very close to the ground and it pays to be lit up like a Christmas tree along with having one of those bicycle or scooter flags on the back. I don’t recommend driving your scooter on the street but sometimes it is unavoidable….that means you should also have a rear view mirror and even a horn. You need to be totally aware of your surroundings and you need to let your surroundings know you are there.
There’s a lot I could write about but let me finish this entry with a couple of other items. First the scooter you select should be able to carry your weight plus a hundred pounds (I carry an extra battery, my meds, snacks, a drink and my cane…it all adds up).
And … remember this, no matter what the advertising says it is all dependent on a hundred qualifications. For example, when they say your scooter will go 20 miles on a charge that means it will do that at a very slow speed, if you weigh only 150 pounds and carry nothing else with you. The more weight, the faster you go the shorter the battery life.
That’s enough for now. More as I gain experience as a user.
Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.
You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.
Please view our new music video “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs. This video is free to anyone who wants to use it and no permission is needed.
If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to email@example.com and usually you will get a copy the same day.
Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.
Puede comentar en el espacio proporcionado o por correo electrónico sus pensamientos a mí en firstname.lastname@example.org. Y – por favor, difundir la palabra acerca de la necesidad inmediata de más donantes de órganos. No hay nada que puedas hacer lo que es de mayor importancia. Si usted convence a una persona de ser donante de órganos y tejidos puede salvar o afectar positivamente a más de 60 vidas. Algunas de esas vidas pueden ser personas que conoces y amas.
Por favor, consulte nuestro nuevo video musical “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” en https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs YouTube. Este video es libre para cualquier persona que quiera usarlo y no se necesita permiso.
Si quieres correr la voz acerca de la donación de órganos personalmente, tenemos otra presentación de PowerPoint para su uso libre y sin permiso. Sólo tienes que ir a http://www.organti.org y haga clic en “Life Pass It On” en el lado izquierdo de la pantalla y luego sólo tienes que seguir las instrucciones. Esto no es un espectáculo independiente, sino que necesita un presentador pero es profesionalmente producida y sonido hechos. Si usted decide usar el programa le enviaré una copia gratuita de mi libro electrónico, “Cómo obtener un pie” O “que le ayudará con habilidades de presentación. Sólo tiene que escribir a email@example.com y por lo general usted recibirá una copia del mismo día.
Además … hay más información sobre este sitio de blogs sobre otros donación / trasplante temas. Además nos encantaría que te unas a nuestro grupo de Facebook, la Iniciativa de Trasplante de Órganos Cuantos más miembros que obtenemos mayor será nuestra influencia con los tomadores de decisiones.