There are many circumstances where you may find yourself in need of increased mobility support. Surgery or a life-altering event like a stroke can leave you without the independent mobility you have been used to your whole life. You inevitably question what your life will look like from here on. Will you be able to navigate your own home, get to the shops on your own, much less travel to see family?
With the great strides in power mobility, all these things can be possible. Power wheelchairs and scooters make independent mobility a reality for those with a wide range of needs. But how do you know what product is right for you?
When deciding between a power scooter and a power wheelchair, several factors should be considered to make sure that the mobility device you choose meets your specific needs and preferences. Here are some of the deciding factors to consider:
- Mobility Needs and Abilities Assessing your mobility and abilities is the ideal place to start. Consider your physical condition, range of motion, strength, and any specific mobility challenges or limitations you may have. A power wheelchair may be more suitable for individuals with limited upper body strength or significant mobility impairments, while a mobility scooter might be a better option for those with more independence and stability.
- Maneuverability Power wheelchairs generally offer better maneuverability in tight spaces like in the home. They have a smaller turning radius, making it easier to navigate through doorways and narrow hallways. Power scooters, on the other hand, are better suited for outdoor use and have a larger turning radius.
- Portability and Transport Consider how the device will be transported and if it needs to be easily disassembled or folded to fit in a car trunk or transported in other ways. Power scooters were typically more portable that power wheelchairs but with todays technology, both devices offer models that are easy to fold or disassemble making transport easy.
- Terrain and Environment What kind of lifestyle you lead will make a difference in what mobility aid you choose. Think about where you will be using the mobility device and what kind of terrain you will come in contact with. There are heavy duty models of both Power scooters and power wheelchairs. Making the decision between the two will come down to transportability and stability. Scooters typically only have 4 wheels where as the more durable power wheelchairs can have 6 wheels on the ground to help you feel more secure as you cover more rugged terrain.
- Battery Range Fortunately, mobility scooters and power wheelchairs have similar battery life. However, both can be affected by exceeding the weight limit and the terrain. If you are going to be traveling over rough surfaces or uphill a lot, then you can expect your battery to deplete faster. Similarly, carrying more weight than your device is rated for will leave you with less run time so be sure to check the overall weight you are carrying on your scooter or wheelchair.
- Stability and Safety Assess the stability and safety features of both devices. Power wheelchairs often provide a more stable seating position and base, which may be beneficial for users with balance issues. However, some power scooters come with features like anti-tip wheels to improve stability.
- Seating Comfort and Adjustability The seating options and comfort features available in both devices have greatly improved over the years. Some power wheelchairs offer highly customizable seating options to provide optimal support and positioning, helping to prevent pressure sores. Another consideration to take into mind is your ability to access the seat. Mobility scooters often have the option of a swivel seat that will allow easy maneuverability behind the steering column. Power wheelchairs have fold-away footrests offering direct access to the seat.
- Cost and Insurance Coverage If you are working within a budget or trying to meet your deductible, consider the cost of each option and whether they are covered by insurance or any other financial assistance programs. Depending on your budget, you can find a mobility aid to fit your needs. The overall cost of either is mostly dependent on accessories and features so it’s important to work with a knowledgeable salesman to help you get the best model for your money.
- Overall Lifestyle and Personal Preferences Take into account your lifestyle, activities, and personal preferences. Discuss with your salesman what features are essential for you to have a comfortable and enjoyable mobility experience.
With so many options and considerations, it is impossible for you to make your choice by looking at pictures online. Fortunately, All-Star Medical has the largest showroom of mobility aids in the Nashville area. Our sales staff are knowledgeable about each of our products and are ready to help you determine what mobility aide is best for you.
We welcome you to come into either of our locations and get an in-person, hands-on experience. Make an informed choice with our help and the opportunity to try each model for yourself. You can also visit our YouTube channel to see demonstrations of many mobility scooters and power wheelchairs and then conveniently order online.
And if you are looking for short-term use, All-Star Medical also offers power scooters and wheelchairs for rent with a convenient online reservation system. We also offer numerous other medical supplies and mobility aids for purchase or rent. If you are looking for something specific or have questions, please contact us at 615-730-9438