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A mobility scooter has a seat over 3 or 4 wheels, a flat area for the feet, and handlebars in front to turn one or two steerable wheels. The seat may swivel to allow access when the front is blocked by the handlebars. Mobility scooters are battery powered. A battery or two is stored on board the scooter and is charged via an onboard or separate battery charger unit from standard 110 outlet.
Three-wheeled mobility systems, also known as scooters, are becoming increasingly popular among the elderly. Scooters are useful for individuals who can walk short distances but need help for long distances. Most scooters have rear wheel drive and front wheel steering. According to Mann, even though scooters have been around for a long time, they have undergone some of the biggest improvements. "The power of the batteries and the speed at which they recharge are the most important changes we have seen with this technology," Mann says. Specifically, power seats, flip-back arms, adjustable bases, gear drive systems that provide 40 miles to a charge, and attractive colors are enhancements found in today's scooters.
Many elderly patients like scooters since they provide a very comfortable ride because they absorb shock. Most can achieve speeds of up to four miles per hour. Scooters are steered with a handlebar, steering wheel, joystick, or push-button controls. Some scooters disassemble easily for transportation in the trunk of a vehicle. "The elderly particularly need to pay attention to how heavy a scooters is if they, or someone else, will have to lift it in and out of a car," Mann says. "The best gauge is to determine if you can lift the largest, heaviest part when the chair is disassembled."