Today’s baby boomers embody a lot of interesting paradoxes. For instance, they are living longer than ever, yet suffering from more mobility limitations than ever before. At the same time, boomers aren’t letting mobility issues keep them from traveling and living an active life. So while it may be harder for them to get around without assistance, they aren’t afraid to invest in mobility equipment if it means that they can travel, visit family all over the country, and get the help they need to keep up with the grand kids.
One great tool that allows boomers to conserve their energy and prevent injury is a mobility scooter. There popular devices are relatively inexpensive and can mean the difference between being able to independently travel and run errands or being confined to your home. Depending on your physical needs and budgetary restrictions, there are a variety of options on the market.
Three Wheel Mobility Scooters
Advantages: Most 3-wheel models are designed to maneuverability and easy transport. This means that they will typically be lightweight and built to be quickly disassembled into several components so that you can simply load your mobility scooter into your vehicle. These scooters are ideal for indoor use and getting around your home.
Disadvantages: While there are 3-wheel options out there that are great for traveling, some models make lack the power and stability you need to overcome outdoor obstacles like curbs and uneven pavement. Typically, manufacturers will be upfront about the intended uses of their products so that you can choose the right scooter for your needs. Just be sure to do your research and read through the fine print.
Four Wheel Mobility Scooters
Advantages: A 4-wheel scooter offers an increased amount of stability, making it the ideal choice for outdoor travel. If you plan on using your scooter to visit theme parks, flea markets, and other sprawling outdoor areas, then a 4-wheel option is your best bet.
Disadvantages: Depending on which models you choose, some 4-wheel scooters are simply not as compact and lightweight as their 3-wheel counterparts. For some buyer’s this may actually be an advantage, but again, the key is to do a little research. Even 4-wheel models will be extremely easy to maneuver, but they simply can’t offer the same tight turning radius as 3-wheel models. In addition, because 4-wheel models tend to be bigger and heavier, you may need to invest in a wheelchair lift for your vehicle in order to transport your device.
Heavy Duty Mobility Scooters
As with most mobility devices, mobility scooters come in heavy duty versions that can accommodate heavier users who require an increased weight capacity. Both 3 and 4 wheel designs are available in heavy duty versions.
How Much do Mobility Scooters Cost?
Considering the vast difference they will make in improving your mobility and independence, mobility scooters are relatively cheap. I found the 3-wheel Traveler for just $569.99. A little more research also revealed the Mega Motion Travel Pal Scooter on sale at Overstock.com for just $520.99. Even the most powerful and luxurious models still generally come in at under $4,000. For example, the extra spacious Pride Pursuit XL comes a suspension system and 400 pound weight capacity and costs $3,999.00.
Other Important Considerations
Here are some important areas to consider when shopping for your mobility scooter:
- Weight capacity
- Overall weight of the scooter
- Does it disassemble? If so, how much does the heaviest piece weigh?
- Top speed
- Range – how far can you travel on a single charge?
- What kind of warranty does the scooter come with?
- Don’t forget to factor in the potential cost of shipping
As always, do your research and be sure to read product reviews from previous customers.