If you’re getting your mobility scooter or power wheelchair for use around the home there are many things to take into consideration to ensure you get the most out of your investment. These things are expensive so if you are planning on getting one you ideally want to be prepared to use whatever mobility aid you bought straight away and to its fullest capacity.
What are the most important features?
Width and Length: The size of your mobility aid will be key in determining whether using it indoors is a viable option. Most doorframes are around 30” wide so any scooter or wheelchair with an overall width less than that will be fine to drive through. You should measure up the smallest doorframe in your house before deciding on what size aid you can get. Most of the scooters we have reviewed are around 27” wide which leaves room either side for maneuvering through a door.
For the length you want something that can turn around corners or furniture easily so shorter scooters are more useful for this. For electric wheelchairs and powerchairs this is not as much of a concern as they tend to be very compact anyway and more akin to moving a chair around the house.
Turning Circle: This is the smallest circle that the scooter or wheelchair can turn in, a smaller turning circle means a tighter turn so will mean the aid is more mobile and easier to move around the house. You can measure out around the house where turning your scooter or wheelchair will be possible using a chord the same diameter as the turning circle and just lining it up in the spaces between furniture and corners. This leads us onto the next point of arranging furniture.
How to arrange furniture for a mobility aid?
Once you have an idea about the scooter or powerchair that you want to get and made sure it will fit through the doors of your house then you should think about arranging the furniture in your house to make it easier to ride around. Open plan arrangements work especially well for those with mobility aids as you can have a clear ride through an entire floor of your house. The key point is to leave a larger gap than the scooter width in any place you plan on riding.
If you have steps around the house then you will need ramps installed to move around, when installing ramps you need to consider the floor clearance of the scooter (wheelchairs do not have this problem) as too steep a ramp can lead to you getting stuck or hitting the front of your scooter. A longer and shallower ramp is encouraged but this is not always feasible when steps are in awkward places.
Storing a mobility scooter or powerchair?
When you are sleeping or out of the house you need somewhere to store your mobility aid. It doesn’t have to have its own cupboard as inside the house there is no wear due to weather which is what mobility aids are generally built against.
Good places include:
Next to power outlets – This is obvious as you can charge the batteries during the time you are not using it. Some batteries need to be detached to charge so parking your scooter up next to where your charging is a good idea as you won’t have to carry the batteries as far back to the scooter or wheelchair.
Near the stairs or front door – If you leave your aid by the stairs you can transition straight into it after coming down the steps. The other place is next to a front door, ideally because when you come into the house you can get sat into it without having to take unnecessary steps especially if movement is hard for you.