Personal Mobility: How to Choose the Right Device


Personal Mobility: How to Choose the Right Device

A mobility device can come in handy if you have mobility challenges that a cane or walker cannot solve. However, choosing the right mobility device that best suits your needs and preferences is never an easy task. You can opt for a manual wheelchair, power wheelchair, or mobility scooter. But which one is the best for you?

How To Determine The Best Mobility Solution

In determining which mobility solution is best for your needs, you first need to get answers to these questions:

  • Location of use: Is the mobility device for outdoor, indoor, or both?
  • Running time: How many hours will you be using it?
  • Do you have the physical strength to operate the mobility device?
  • Are you fit enough, intellectually and physically, to run the mobility device?
  • Is there enough space in your house to allow movement of the device?
  • Will you need assistance hopping in or out of your mobility device?

Once you have answered the above questions and validated your decision in investing in a mobility device, you will choose between these three options:

  • Mobility scooter
  • Power Wheelchair
  • Manual Wheelchair

Manual Wheelchair

Manual wheelchairs require upper-body strength to operate, making them ideal if you have adverse balance challenges, lower-body challenges, and upper-body strength.

Some of the pros of manual wheelchairs include:

  • Minimal maintenance cost
  • Lightweight thus easy to carry them
  • Long-running time since they do not require power from batteries to run

The major drawback of manual wheelchairs is that they require strength and stamina to operate and not everyone has such.

Mobility Scooter

If you require occasional assistance while outdoors and lack the strength to operate a manual wheelchair or use walkers or canes, a mobility scooter is your best choice. Mobility scooters require lesser power to operate compared to manual wheelchairs. More so, they are well-designed for use on both outdoor and indoor surfaces.

However, mobility has some setbacks, which include:

  • They are large and thus require massive space for maneuverability making them not ideal for indoor use.
  • Mobility scooters require full upper-body strength and usage to operate for more extended periods.
  • They have frontal obstruction, which poses a challenge when using a table, sink, work surface, etc.
  • They are unstable while riding on uneven terrain

Power Wheelchair

If you need full-time indoor and outdoor mobility assistance and you lack the strength and stamina to operate a mobility scooter or manual wheelchair, the power wheelchair is the best choice for you. The mobility scooters have numerous advantages, which include:

  • Easy usability: Power wheelchairs uses a joystick positioned at the armrest to operate
  • Unlike mobility scooters, power wheelchairs lack frontal obstruction. This feature makes it easy for you when accessing sinks, counters, work surfaces, etc.
  • Ideal for users with minimal upper-body strength and stamina to operate manual wheelchairs or mobility scooters
  • High maneuverability: They are ideal for outdoor and indoor use.

The only drawback of power wheelchairs is their bulkiness, making it challenging to transport without using a ramp or a lift. However, you can buy a wheelchair ramp or a folding power wheelchair which is easy to transport.