Getting Out, Not Giving In: the Benefits of a Mobility Scooter

At some point in life, it’s time to admit that your body is slowing down. You might not be able to stay on your feet for as long as you’d like and physical exertion may be a little bit more challenging.  If this is the case, there’s no point in marching on as if nothing has changed. It’s time to adapt your lifestyle to suit the needs of your body – without sacrificing anything in the process.

These days, the mobility market is positively teething with possibilities. Rather than consigning yourself to the sofa when your joints are playing up, why not invest in a mobility scooter? Long misrepresented as “old fogy” mobiles, mobility scooters can be incredibly liberating and are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance.

Liberating a Generation

In the past 10 years, battery-powered scooters have taken off and transformed the lives of many who would otherwise had trouble getting around.  One such person is Shaun Greenhalgh, 56, who has had difficulty walking since his early 30s. He’s been using a scooter for 24 years and boasts a collection of 4 different models. “Like most scooter users,” Shaun says, “I can walk to some degree, but only with pain and discomfort. Without it, I would have no life.”

Indeed, the benefits are abundant. Instead of extensively planning a trip or organizing lifts into town, a mobility scooter gives you back the spontaneity of youth. Fancy a morning in the park or an evening ride along the pier? Go for it. Unlike static wheelchairs, you don’t need anyone to help you operate your machine. Just take to the seat and you’re away.

Peace of Mind

Unlike other mobility aids, you can travel significant distances without wearing yourself out. This independence is paramount to wellbeing in both a physical and mental capacity. More often than not, those who have mobility issues will suffer from depression through isolation – particularly if they have no way of readily leaving the house.

Whilst your personal circumstances might not be as restrictive, a mobility scooter gives you added peace of mind should you find yourself without transportation.

The Legal Stuff

Before you buy a mobility scooter you need to consider your options carefully. For a start, you can’t legally drive one if you have problems with your sight, hearing or upper-body strength (arms and shoulders), so if the latter is the case, an electric wheelchair might be more suitable.

Secondly, mobility scooter insurance might not be a legal requirement but it sure is sensible. Part of the reason mobility scooters have suffered such a bad reputation in recent years is due to a number of high profile accidents that were not covered by insurance. “It is highly recommended,” writes Chartwell Insurance, “the financial consequences of an accident, theft or breakdown could be huge – not to mention the complications of being without your scooter.”

Travel and Terrain

Aside from insurance, another element to consider is the terrain you’ll be traveling on. Whilst this might sound like a strange question, certain mobility scooters cater for certain conditions so you don’t want to be riding an indoor model through the mud.

If you plan to travel by road, make sure you’re buying a road scooter. The problem with these models is that they’re not portable but they can travel longer distances than most. Therefore, if you’d like to buy a model that replaces your reliance on a car, the outdoor roadster might be for you. Obviously, these cannot be taken on highways so you’ll still need another mode of transport if you’re planning an out of town trip.

However, if your needs will mainly take in pavements and shopping centers then a portable travel scooter would be more suitable. These models fold up or come apart and are ideal for beginners. They’re lightweight, inexpensive and compact – with adjustable seats and handlebars. The one issue is that they need regular charging but you can invest in a solar powered scooter charger on eBay. This will not only save you money in the long run but will aid your environmental credentials. Win win!

By Emily Buchanan, a writer and editor for Chartwell Mobility Insurance. For the latest, follow Emily  on Twitter or check out her blog.

Helping Your Loved Ones to Recover at Home

It’s wonderful to welcome your loved ones home after they have been in hospital. After all this means they’ve either defeated an illness, overcome an operation or survived an acute health issue of one kind or another. You may, or may not, need help caring for your elderly mother/father/aunt/uncle at the beginning, depending on what their state is upon release from the hospital. If you need help you can find tips on saving money on senior care in this book. You could also sign up for the eldercare site and receive it for free. No matter how you obtain it, it can be a great resource for you.

The first thing you should do is determine your convalescent’s needs. Always consult with the treating doctor to make sure you understand the dos and don’ts and what they require. Here are a few pointers what to look for.

Nutrition

Are you going to need special foods for them during the recovery period? A healthy and balanced diet is always top priority, recovering or not. However, if he/she was diagnosed with diabetes and you have never dealt with this disease before, you will have to make some changes. There are so many recipes you can get online or diabetic cookbooks at your local library, it won’t get boring and it will be easy to adjust. If we’re talking about recovery that limits mobility and therefore exercise, you are going to want to make sure that you keep the calorie intake low and the type of food you offer easy to digest. Gaining weight isn’t going to help matters. Always offer water before giving your hungry patient food, this way you make sure boredom or thirst aren’t signaling hunger.

Exercise

Exercise is important. How much of it or how little depends on the individual. This is another thing you should make sure to address when speaking to the treating physician. You don’t want to over-do it but at the same time you want to make sure to motivate for the right exercises and adequate amount of repetitions. If there are no restrictions, make sure he/she gets up and walks a little bit more every day. There are also simple exercises you can do sitting down. Just lifting the arms to the side and then over- head can help to get things moving.  Lift up your legs, bend the knee and set them back down. Lift your feet off the ground and draw figure eights with your pointed toes. These are just a few examples. There are a lot of misconceptions about senior exercising and Ryan Malone addresses them in his article.

Bathroom

Is the patient able to shower? If so are they sturdy enough to stand or is it advisable to procure a shower chair. This is a small investment and can make life easier and safer for the patient and the one taking care of them. A bathtub is always more difficult to access than a shower and the possibilities of further injuring the patient are far higher. Therefore, in my opinion, the shower is the safer alternative.  Using a regular toilet can be a challenge as well. It is easier to get up and retrieve your balance from a raised toilet seat than it is fighting your way up from a regular one. Grab-bars are helpful as well.  You can use them by the toilet, in the shower or by the bathtub. They not only help to pull one-self up, they also give security.

Clothing

Make sure the patient isn’t too hot or too cold. This means don’t turn the heater up to the highest temperature because you think this will help them get better, it won’t. Light clothing, preferably with an elastic waistband (a tight waistband gets very uncomfortable) is ideal. You can always add a sweater or a blanket, if needed. The material should be breathable and sweat absorbent and definitely should not be rough or itchy. Cotton is pretty safe in that respect. Also make sure that the house shoes they are wearing have a non-slip sole.

Entertainment

Yes, it can get boring and we all know a bored patient can quickly become an unpleasant patient. There are ways to make sure that doesn’t happen. The internet can be a great way to occupy some time. Let them check out a website that might be interesting to them about senior housing.  Make sure you have books at hand with topics they are interested in. The public library can be a great resource here. If the patient has difficulty reading, get audio books. There are plenty out there and even these are available at your local library. Music is food for the soul. If they like what they are listening to it can only be beneficial. Crossword puzzles or Sudoku are another way to go. The important thing is to switch it up. You can give their day some structure with these things. Don’t let them watch TV 24/7 because it’s easier. Remember, even your favorite hobby will get boring after a while and bored patients are cranky patients.

It seems like I almost forgot the most important part. LOVE. Just let them know how important they are to you and how happy you are to help getting them back into shape. This is the one thing that will be most appreciated and most rewarding, for the patient and for you. Happy Healing!

About the author:

Jared Pennington is a health and wellness writer for Just Home Medical, a supplier of home aides such as shower chairs.  When he’s not writing he’s out running or rock climbing.

photo credit: marktristan via photopin