Mobility Scooters are F-R-E-E-D-O-M
Scooters Can Make a Huge Impact
Freedom is Spelled S-C-O-O-T-E-R
I lost mobility in May after a vehicle accident, and although I am in treatment and rehabilitation and I will relearn to walk, it is going to take some time.
I was feeling very trapped and limited in my capacity to be a mom again and help contribute to my home life, when a friend offered me her mother's 3 wheeled scooter to use to get around.
I refused at first, but after some reconsideration I borrowed it, and I'm glad I did, it has given me back my freedom.
I take it everywhere and can do the things I couldn't before. It has given back everything but my legs.
If you're on the fence about getting a scooter for yourself or someone you love is on the fence read on...
Wheelchair vs Scooter
When my friend first asked me if I wanted to borrow the scooter I said "No, don't be silly, I've got a wheelchair, I'll be fine."
"I'm young, strong, I'm going to get better; the last thing I need is for the world to think I'm an invalid", was all I could think.
"What will people think if they see me in it?" I was thinking about how it would affect the perception of me. I wasn't thinking about my needs. I never considered that it might help my quality of life.
Now I love my family to death, and I am so grateful for everything they have done for me but; having someone push you around in a wheelchair, especially shopping, is one of the most frustrating experiences I have had so far with this little blip in my world.
Trying to be as specific as you can with directions and product descriptions before someone flies by it is almost impossible and I'm sure just as frustrating for the person driving as directing.
The scooter "turn around moment" came for me however, the day I had to go to my doctor's office up the street; one city block away. A friend pushed me there in the wheelchair, but I got myself home. Not only did it take forever to get home, I almost couldn't do it because of having to push my chair with my my bad arm.
How do you Operate this Thing?
So I called my friend and had the scooter within a couple of days.
Well at first I was very nervous, it was a few days before I would even go on the scooter. Finally my 10 year old, who was now the scooter "valet", showed me how to use it.
I had to go up to the doctors again, this time I would take the scooter. Off I went, carefully driving, a little nervous but kind of interested to be going out for the first time on my own in months.
When I got to the doctor's office someone held the door open for me and I drove right up to the reception desk. When it was my turn to see the Dr., I drove right into the exam room, parked beside table and the doctor helped me transfer up onto it. Getting out of the room was a bit tricky but basically backwards out the door and off I went.
Very simple to operate. A push lever on each handle for forward and backwards and a dial for speed control between a turtle and a rabbit. Put the key in, press the lever and the scooter moves. Simple and easy to use, it easier than I thought it would be.
Scooters @ Amazon
The Scooter Changed Our World
Well it changed our world. I say our world because it affected our whole family.
Suddenly I could go everywhere, and I did. I started grocery shopping again and shopping with my girl. It freed up some of my husband's time. It was a small way I could start contributing again, for the first time in a long time.
It was summer vacation and school was out.
I rode the scooter everywhere and had it out for up to 6 hours at a time. It changed what was looking like a crumby summer into a great time, because I wasn't limited. We went shopping, to museums, the IMAX, festivals, out to restaurants, almost anywhere we wanted to go we could. We even took the scooter camping.
Instead of being forced to stay at home we ventured out and it worked, and we had a great summer.
We live in a very accessibly friendly community. The sidewalks have ramps, most stores isles are wide enough to go down, automatic doors, restrooms with accessible stalls, elevators ... and I'm lucky that we do.
Check Your Local Transit
BC Transit website
BC Transit Scooter Training
In the middle of the summer I called BC Transit and arranged a training session to learn how to get on and off the bus with the scooter. It's a free service and boy did I appreciate it.
They brought a bus to the nearest bus stop (and they brought the bus that is the biggest challenge to get onto) with a trainer and driver. They literally talked and walked me through the process of getting on the bus, parking (including parallel parking, and parking on both sides of the bus), turning around, and getting off the bus.
There was no time limit. Although it didn't take long, I appreciated the no pressure attitude. In the end I felt much more comfortable about getting on a bus full of people.
They gave me a sticker for the front of the scooter which tells the drivers that I've "been trained", and a complimentary bus pass for the month, which was a very nice bonus. I was glad I did it and would recommend checking to see if a similar service is available in your community.
I got trained on the bus so I could take my daughter to and from school year. I used to drive but can't anymore, so the bus had to become a big part of our world. It's been a great way to get around in general as well and the bus service is very good.
I find people generally pretty friendly and helpful with regards to the scooter and my situation. If I need help I ask for it. I use the scooter for distance.
I'm at the point now that I can park the scooter inside the door of a smaller store and walk around with my cane. Even though I can walk small amounts I get "trapped" at times and can't continue to move; I lose my weight bearing ability.
The scooter means I'm no longer trapped by my body's whims. Whatever the distance I can still get there.
Here's the point of my story. If you or someone you know is on the fence about getting a scooter I want to encourage you to look into it.
Try one out at a local mobility scooter store. Tell them at the store you are considering buying one. Sit on it and make it move slowly. They can't go very fast anyway, but in a store it would seem like it! Get a feel for it.
As you sit on it the mystery of the machine will go away and the potential of "the wheels" will unfold.
Used is OK
Consider looking for a used one. Know that you'll want/need to change the batteries. Two batteries cost me $250 but they should last a few years.
The scooter I'm using is 10 years old and we just changed the batteries for the first time.
I've seen used scooters for sale for much less money than a new one. After using this "well loved" scooter for a few months I'd say a used one should be just fine if it's in good condition. It's rugged and rainproof and hasn't had any problems.
Look at websites like craigslist, kijiji, usedeverywhere.com, or your local classified ads. The local scooter store may have used ones for sale as well. I think it's one of those items that is made to last, so why not buy one that hasn't been overused and pay less?
I highly recommend a scooter to help with mobility issues. Whether you're a senior and slowing down or can't get around for health reasons permanently or temporarily, consider a scooter as a serious option.
*Note; apparently not all scooters will fit on the bus, so if you are hoping to use a scooter to access the bus, make sure you don't get one that is too big. Mine had 3 wheels and worked fine.
I used to think I'd never want to use one of those; admittedly I saw it as a sign of weakness. Now I consider it a tool that gave me back my independence.
It put freedom back into my world, has allowed me to once again contribute to the household workload ... and has made a bad situation easier to deal with.
ps. When you get your scooter Please Remember: Drive to Arrive Alive
© 2011 eye say
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