Investing in a motorised wheelchair or mobility scooter for your elderly parents is something that they would undoubtedly appreciate, especially if they are still using older personal mobility aids (PMA) like canes and walkers. Unlike their manual counterparts, motorised PMAs do not require much effort to operate, making them far more user-friendly and convenient to use. Apart from being electricity-powered, the similarities between these two motorised PMAs stop there. Since their usage varies significantly from one another, it is necessary to determine your use case requirements to choose the better option for you. Below, we go over four primary considerations to factor into your decision.
1. Indoors or outdoors
Both motorised PMAs excel in manoeuvring different terrain and environments. Electric wheelchairs are better suited for indoor use, while mobility scooters are great for outdoor travel. Although newer electric wheelchairs can also be used outside, mobility scooters are typically the better option for such use cases. This is partly due to the mobility scooter’s slightly faster speeds and bigger battery capacity. More power means more excellent mileage, making it possible to go further and back without the risk of running out of battery and being stranded.
However, these advantages mean that mobility scooters need to be more prominent in size, making them difficult to use in indoor environments like buildings, let alone get them through the door in the first place. Electric wheelchairs are better suited in these situations thanks to their smaller size that can easily fit into spaces that a non-disabled person usually can.
2. User’s body strength
The user’s body strength plays a significant role in choosing their motorised PMA. Like manually operated PMAs, the motorised versions have specific body strength requirements to be used effectively. Motorised mobility scooters require users to have some degree of torso and arm strength to grip the handlebars and use the controls properly.
Meanwhile, electric wheelchairs are operated solely by joysticks on the armrests, meaning they require less effort and strength to use. Ideally, this should be the first thing you consider when deciding on a motorised PMA since it is arguably the most critical factor for its intended user.
3. Storage requirements
Storage, in this case, refers to both internal storage on the PMA itself and external storage for it. Electric wheelchairs typically do not have much space for other items apart from the user. Therefore, if more storage capacity is needed, it may be better to go with a bigger mobility scooter. These motorised PMAs often come equipped with baskets on the front and a flat floor surface below to place groceries and other items while driving.
When it comes to storing these motorised PMAs, most electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters sold in Singapore will have no trouble fitting in most HDB apartments. Even so, many Singaporeans who have to use such mobility devices often store it along the corridors. If that is the case, a scooter cape is necessary at the very least to protect it from the elements.
4. Required features
Depending on the user, they may request certain features specific to their use case. A couple of these standard features are typically foldability and airline-approved batteries. Electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters quickly fold allow more accessible car boot storage and better travel. Similarly, airline-approved batteries mean that users no longer must gain approval from airlines before their flight, making air travel a less hassling experience for frequent travellers.
Choosing a motorised PMA is not a quick process. You should carefully consider the needs and requirements of its intended use to ensure that they get the most out of their mobility aid and that it is best suited to their capabilities.
If you have finalised your requirements for a motorised PMA, do not hesitate to contact us at Falcon Mobility for assistance. Our wide selection of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs will have one that checks all your PMA needs. Additionally, we provide a free test drive so your loved ones can better understand which devices suit them the best. Our friendly sales assistants will be glad to answer any additional queries if you have any further questions.