For many people across the UK with mobility issues, mobility scooters offer a direct lifeline to the outside world and a degree of autonomy and freedom that would otherwise prove impossible. It is hard to put a value on the multifarious mental and physical health benefits that getting out and about more offers to the many people taking advantage of mobility scooters. There are so many benefits to owning one and very few disadvantages, which shall be touched upon, but present more as challenges that can be overcome than actual cons. In addition, there are various types of scooters that each have their pros and cons.
Value for money and target demographic
It is hard, as mentioned, to place a monetary value on mobility scooters in terms of what they offer the user as the freedom can quite literally be priceless, but when you consider the cost of taxis or chauffeurs then the relatively meagre investment is undoubtedly (on purely financial terms) a shrewd one. In terms of who they are aimed at, mobility scooters are most suited for individuals with limited mobility, especially caused by arthritis, old age, MS or obesity. They are able-bodied enough to be able to get by without a wheelchair, but need help with becoming more mobile to do shopping, carry out tasks and visit friends and family.
Mobile scooters are unsuitable for some
Mobile scooters are not suitable for people who have been told they can no longer drive a car as a result of sight, hearing or other impairments. You still need these faculties to be able to safely drive a mobility scooter. To take advantage of a mobility scooter you also need to live in a fairly built up area, near to the amenities you wish to visit as long journeys are a no go due to the limited speed (4 MPH) and few hours’ battery life. Mobility scooters are not really aimed at use inside the home, although there are some portable models that do fit into that category.
List of pros and cons of owning a mobility scooter
- Mobility scooters are usually much cheaper than alternatives – from taxis and buses (over time) to electric wheelchairs
- Simple to operate and can be driven without a driving licence
- They can be fitted into the boots of cars, sometimes with the aid of car hoists
- Less physically demanding than wheelchairs
- Mobility scooters, unlike their wheelchair counterparts are not often available on the NHS, so while they are cheaper than electric wheelchairs, for some they can end up costing more
- The batteries will usually need charging on a daily basis, especially if using the scooter each day and across undulating terrain.
- There is the danger that for those more mobile users they end up relying on the scooter instead of walking, leading to loss of fitness and mobility,
- Storage space can be an issue for some.
As a footnote, it is worth considering that mobility scooters can sometimes be leased through schemes like ‘Motability’ – an option restricted to those on certain disability benefits.