Getting older typically hasn’t been something that adults look at with fondness. As many of us age, our mobility starts to deteriorate over time. Aging is a new reality, and while 40 may be the new 30, it is good to know there are a variety of options that help make the transition from the sprightly energy of youth to the function over the formation of maturity.

But how do you choose? With all of the options available, it can be a confusing decision to make. And with Medicare insurance covering the majority of the cost for most Americans, these companies marketing scooters or “power chairs” as mobility aids are masters of the hard sell. So, let’s take a minute and explore the options available to you as you consider how to purchase electric mobility scooters.

Understand Shipping and Costs

If you are physically disabled and/or meet certain diagnostic criteria, your physician may be able to write you a prescription stating your scooter is essential Diagnostic Medical Equipment (DME). Your insurance would then cover up to 80% of the purchase price, with a 20% out-of-pocket expense due at the initial buy-in. Additionally, direct-to-consumer wholesalers such as Amazon.com and other mail-order DME companies may offer to ship to your front door. An important consideration when using these options is to figure the weight of the chair, as most courier services ship by the pound weight which is a fee that is not covered by insurance.

Determine Your Needs

After you and your physician have discussed the benefits of a mobility scooter, and you’ve gotten your prescription squared away, the next step should be finding a chair to fit your lifestyle. Do you and your family travel a lot? What methods do you use? No matter if you make use of planes cars trains or mass transit, there is a scooter for every body type and every terrain. Do you need a folding model, or would your body conformation benefit from the more sturdily constructed single-piece motorized base? Battery size is important also. Will you be using your chair for extended periods of time (up to 12 hours a day) or just for short excursions on the sidewalks around your home? How fast does the motor accelerate? Some models have been clocked as fast as 20 MPH, as such riders need to wear protective helmets and elbow/knee pads when using these models to avoid injuries. These faster scooters also generally come with an included seatbelt and may be subject to your state or territory’s traffic regulations.

Another important consideration is the type of entry and exit from the scooter. Do your physical ailments require your chair to swivel 90 degrees and/or have an armrest that moves out of the way to allow ambulation? Do the handlebars have a narrow or wide footprint to allow for a comfortable grip and ergonomic handling? How does the scooter accelerate and brake? Do you have the option to reverse? What is the total turning radius available on the scooter? And what safety features does it offer. Some brands have pressure-activated parking brakes that release when your full body weight is applied across the seat or audible alarms for reversing.

Think About What You’re Using It For

Finally, consider what kind of cargo capacity your scooter will offer. Will you be using it to get groceries and/or traverse airports with a carry-on? Then you may want a model that features larger baskets as options. You may only need it to get from point A to B and if there is someone that will provide you with assistance when transporting bigger items like luggage or food. Consider leaving the basket panniers off to make the overall vehicle lighter and easy to use.

As you can see there are a plethora of choices, options, and models out there to explore and create your perfect power chair. Have fun with it, and look forward to getting out there again with your family and friends quicker, and in more style, than you thought possible.

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