To Scooter or Not to Scooter

by Bruce Montgomery Ph.D. March 13, 2016

To Scooter or Not to Scooter

The following is an excerpt from “Senior Power Mobility Scooters.” 

Do I Need a Scooter?
The first thing to do when considering a scooter, power chair or any mobility device is to get an evaluation from your doctor. An occupational therapist, if you have one, can also conduct an evaluation. You won't need a doctor's evaluation to purchase a scooter unless you want financial assistance from Medicare.

Types of Powered Mobility Devices

There are two basic categories of powered mobility devices.

1. Power Chairs
  • Are the most maneuverable for indoors
  • Can be used outdoors
  • Tip resistant
  • Extremely comfortable seats
  • Joystick control
  • Price range from $2,000-$10,000

 2. Mobility Scooters

  • Ideal for extended outdoors use
  • Weighs from 54 lbs. to 500 lbs.
  • Less maneuverable indoors than a power chair
  • Lots of options available (e.g. extended battery, oxygen carriers, all-terrain, etc.)
  • Price range from $800 to $9,000

Considerations for Mobility Scooters

A big question is how will you transport your scooter? Portable scooters can be folded and put in a car's trunk. But this will likely require assistance from a friend or relative.

Large, heavier models need to be lifted by a vehicle lift that attaches to your car, van or truck. These lifts can run as high as $3,000.

What other options might you desire: swivel seats, reclining seats, flat free tires, long range, adjustable headrests, tight turning radius steering, removable armrests, speed, and battery charge?

Think about long-term use for your scooter. Is it something you can use if your living arrangements change? For instance, if you move to an assisted living facility, how practical will a particular model be? Can you use it in a small apartment? Will it get through most doors?

If you live in a retirement community or assisted living facility, find out their scooter rules first.

What comes standard on the scooter? And is there room for attachments you may need down the road? 

What kind of warranty comes standard with the scooter? Where and how is service/repairs performed? Do you have to bring in your scooter to the store? Or will they make house calls?


From Safety-In-Place: Another mobility option to consider is a golf cart. There are many kinds of golf carts and they can be fun to drive. Of course many of the concerns noted above will also apply to your decision regarding a golf cart, including your driving capacity. If you plan to use it on the road, check local laws and ordinances for road use of golf carts prior to making a purchase.

Fall prevention efforts can reduce the risk of falling. Caregivers and homeowners can become knowledgeable about what needs to be done to make homes as fall-proof as possible. Check here often and search for product ideas that can make you safer in your home!

Bruce Montgomery Ph.D.
Bruce Montgomery Ph.D.


Dr. Bruce Montgomery is a licensed building contractor in Michigan and Florida. He is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist as designated by the National Association of Home Builders. He has also achieved an Executive Certificate in Home Modification from the University of Southern California. He has a wide ranging educational background, including a Master of Science degree in Entomology, with a Master of Science degree in Forestry and a Ph.D. in educational administration.

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