A mobility scooter is often being sold as a great way to improve movement around a community. Although they can be great to use outside, there are some dangers to reliance on it. If your parents are wanting a scooter to use all the time to avoid walking, here is a couple reasons to talk them out of it.
4 questions to ask to see if getting aa mobility scooter is right for you
Will you depend on your scooter for all walking?
If you use a scooter all the time, you will very quickly lose muscle mass in your legs. If your legs get weaker, can you move around your home, get to bed or a toilet?
Have you lost your driver’s license?
If you have lost a drivers license, you may lack the depth perception, the reflexes, the decision making skills or other necessary skills for driving a scooter. Just because you don’t need a license, doesn’t mean you can for sure manage a mobility scooter.
Will your current or future living environment accommodate a scooter?
Many adult condos do not allow scooters in the building, they must be parked in the parkade. If you need to move to an independent living or assisted living residence in the future, most buildings ban their use within the building. Not only do you need to be concerned about getting dependent on a scooter and then suddenly you can’t use it, you must also be concerned about a power source. Will your current or future living options have a safe spot to plug in and store your scooter while charging.
Can you manage fine motor movements?
Some scooters can be tricky to navigate through a doorway or a crowd. Do you have the ability to maneuver it in those difficult or tight circumstances. Have you checked with your home owners insurance about liability should you run into someone or damage property with your scooter?
If your parents have such low mobility that physicians have determined your loved one is not safe to keep walking, then consider an electric wheelchair for indoor mobility and a scooter for outdoor mobility. An electric wheelchair can be smaller, easier to maneuver and often can get versions that are easy to pack in the trunk of a vehicle. Electric wheelchairs are often allowed in condo buildings and retirement residences. They may allow more versatility in future living arrangements.
If you do get a mobility scooter, keeping your leg muscles healthy and active will be key to maintaining independence in your home.
4 ways to add a leg work out into your day
- walk laps in your home or building indoors – measure the distance and each week try to go a little further
- do leg exercises while siting in your chair watching tv, while knitting or reading the newspaper
- when getting ready in the morning or doing dishes at the sink, do some squats while holding onto the countertop
- get a stationary bike that you can put on the floor in front of your favorite chair, when you are sitting to pedal!
However, if your loved one can walk to the dining room or the bathroom, encourage them to keep walking. Using a walker with a built in seat ensures they can get a rest when they need. But just that bit of walking or exercise every day encourages circulation in the lower legs, keeps muscle mass active, helps keep core muscles active and forces the brain to work harder to keep balance and keep moving. When we stop walking, it causes in damage to many parts of our body. Once we stop walking, we very quickly lose the ability. You may not be able to gain back the muscle mass, once you’ve lost it due to reliance on a scooter.
If you are determined to get a mobility scooter in Edmonton – then I encourage you to look at one within your abilities. Make sure it is a size you can comfortably manage, has wheels for the terrain you intend to go over, and make sure you have a secure place to store and charge it. Most importantly, ensure you have an exercise program to keep your legs and muscles active.