Martin had always been a social guy. He loved walking his neighborhood, waving and calling out to his neighbors. He often stopped to toss a ball with the little boy down the street and popped in for coffee with friends who lived a few blocks down. But, after suffering a stroke, Martin wasn’t able to walk as well or as long as he used to. He had to give up visiting neighbors, which left him feeling sad and isolated. Then, his family presented him with a shiny red mobility scooter. Now, Martin buzzes around the neighborhood again, smiling, waving, and chatting with the people he had missed.
Family caregivers with aging relatives who have trouble walking or who tire easily may be looking for ways to allow them to continue getting around independently. A mobility scooter can be an excellent solution, but they can also pose risks to seniors. Knowing both the benefits and risks of mobility scooters can help caregivers to make an informed decision about whether a scooter is the right choice for their older family member.
Pros and Cons of Mobility Scooters.
There’s no doubt that having a mobility scooter could help your aging relative in many ways, like:
- Giving them more independence.
- Making outings less tiring.
- Allowing them to visit nearby friends or family members.
- Reducing the risk of social isolation.
However, studies show that accidents involving mobility scooters are on the rise and seniors can be seriously injured. One study showed that older adults are more likely to have an accident with their scooter than younger people who also use a scooter to get around. The researchers reviewed hospital records for people who had been involved in a scooter accident and found that 51 percent of the accident victims were 75 or older. They concluded that scooter operators needed to improve their driving skills to reduce the risk of accidents.
While it’s true that there is a risk of having an accident when using a scooter, there are ways caregivers can help older adults to stay safe. Here are some safety tips caregivers and seniors should follow:
- Be sure to choose a good quality scooter that fits the older adult well. It can be helpful to talk to a doctor or occupational therapist about whether a scooter is right for the person and if they have the physical and cognitive abilities to operate one safely.
- Practice using the scooter at home before going out in public with it.
- Add reflective strips and lights to the scooter to make it more visible to others.
- Make sure the senior is aware of any laws that apply to using a mobility scooter.
- Perform regular maintenance on the scooter and keep it in good shape.
- Stay on the sidewalk and out of the street as much as possible.
A mobility scooter can be a great way for your aging relative to continue living an active life. However, it’s important that they learn to use the scooter safely, so they do not injure themselves or others. Before investing money in a scooter, talk to the doctor about whether your loved one can be expected to operate it safely.
If you or someone you know needs caregiver services in Buffalo, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.
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