While there are essential differences between both types of mobility aids,what is ultimately right for you comes down to your needs and personal preferences. We've outlined a few of the factors you might want to consider before deciding on your purchase. Mobility aids, including electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters, provide people with limited mobility greater independence and self-reliance. These options allow the user to undertake numerous daily activities, such as heading to the shops or visiting friends and family.
While there are essential differences between both types of mobility aids, what is ultimately right for you comes down to your needs and personal preferences. We've outlined just a few of the factors you might want to consider before deciding on an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter.
A mobility scooter or electric wheelchair
Mobility scooters are designed for people who may be fairly mobile around the home but who find it difficult to walk long distances. There is a wide range of scooters available, from smaller models that can fit into the boot of a car through to heavy-duty mobility scooters that can navigate steep hills and travel long distances on a single charge.
Electric wheelchairs are similar in many ways in that they are designed to assist people who have difficulty walking. However, their smaller turning circle means they are more suited for use indoors.
And if you're using it at home, chances are you'll spend a great deal of time on your mobility aid. Electric wheelchairs offer more seating options for comfort, including reclining the backrest and raising or lowering the footrest.
Operation and maneuverability
Electric wheelchairs are operated using a joystick mounted on the armrest, requiring less upper body mobility to control. Mobility scooters are operated using a tiller handle and will require both hands to steer and control.
Electric wheelchairs have a smaller turning circle than mobility scooters. While there are small scooters with a tighter turning circle designed for use indoors, you will require more space between furniture to maneuver indoors.
Speed and distance
The speed of freedom electric wheelchairs can up to 7km/h and will travel up to 30km on a single charge. This can be affected by things such as the terrain and the weight of the user.
If the distance is a concern, a mobility scooter may be a preferable option. A robust mobility scooter can travel at speeds of up to 10km/h and distances of up to 50km on a single charge. Again, while the maximum speed and distance depend on terrain, mobility scooters are designed to travel long distances outdoors.
While electric wheelchairs can be used outdoors, they are better suited to flat, even terrain and slight slopes such as access ramps. A mobility scooter will give you the required power and stability if you need to navigate difficult terrain and hills.
While the best mobility device for you is the one that provides the optimum level of independence and support, there can be a perception that some devices – and therefore users – are more ‘legitimate’ than others. While unfortunate, the public may generally be more accommodating of someone in a wheelchair than in an electric scooter.
FreedomChair will help you find the right mobility aid for your needs and preferences. For more information, please feel free to contact us.