Commuter Solutions

Mobility Scooters to Aid the Elderly

Like everyone else, elderly people depend on their driving to maintain their work, independence and social engagement. However, as they age, some older people are voluntarily giving up their driver’s license and are limiting their driving due to medical conditions. Powered mobility devices are going to aid them to continue and maintain their independence and quality of life.

Now with a vast range of mobility scooters with improved batteries, safety and modern designs, elderly people have the possibility to access most parts of their city such as shopping, recreation centers, hospitals and other places of interest.

Depending on their need and budget, users can choose from three-wheeled scooters (for greater maneuverability) to four-wheeled scooters (for greater stability) to even five-wheeled scooters (for both greater maneuverability and stability). These range from light, small scooters which are designed to travel on smooth surfaces to heavy-duty scooters for other road conditions.

Improved scooter design and components to change the riding experience

As the population of scooter users is growing, road accidents are becoming a significant problem. Hence, it becomes increasingly important for mobility scooter manufacturers to consider every aspect of the scooter design.

With this in mind, manufacturers made a very significant development by introducing a sealed VRLA (Valve-regulated lead-acid) battery. This can be stored anywhere on the machine and the user does not have to keep an eye on the battery’s water levels, unlike the traditional ones.

Another improvised aspect of this powered mobility scooter is the brakes – manufacturers have replaced mechanical brakes with electromagnetic brakes. With these brakes, scooters can no longer roll downhill when stopped, thus increasing the safety and reducing accidents.

The next aspect is in the chassis design. In light scooters, this new design will help to keep scooters as simple and lighter as possible. In some cases, they can also be folded up. They have also improvised the overall design to make them look more trendy and sporty. For example, one of the manufacturers introduced a heavy-duty four-wheel scooter for outdoor use.

Another problem faced by many traditional scooter users was the lack of adjustable seats and controls. To provide better seat adjustments, manufacturers introduced rotating seats allowing people with limited agility easier access.

In order to provide support to service engineers, manufacturers integrated a full interrogatory fault diagnosis and fault history, thus allowing them to interrogate the machine’s controls in different ways rather than depending on the customer. This means that the scooters can be repaired more easily.

Do you think these improvements in mobility scooters are sufficient to aid the elderly? Do have more ideas, then share them with us in our comment section.


Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

3 Comments

  • momodestroyers
    27. May 2015 at 20:35

    With the elderly population skyrocketing in countries like Japan and Canada, transportation and autonomy for this demographic will become more and more important. Glad to see that you have brought the issue to the table.

    I think scooter re-design and safety regulations are an important step in the right direction. Car sharing and self driving vehicles will also do wonders to help this group stay mobile and independent.

  • Stefanie Söhnchen
    29. May 2015 at 8:59

    I agree with you, momodestroyers, that this is an important issue as there will be an increasingly big demand. I also believe that if we manage to improve existing means of transport to serve all travellers better, we will not only have a diverse society but also a healthier and happier one which is better connected.

  • Dan Sturges
    12. June 2015 at 3:04

    I think the tiny e-vehicle could someday have a much larger market than older people. Why? Well, as I hear car owners express their desire for a private vehicle in the autonomous car / taxi future, I think we could see small “cove” like seat vehicles fit into this future of mobility. This means a normal sized self-driving car shows up, and the doors open large, and the tiny seat-mobile rolls in. It would make transfer very easy if the infrastructure allows for it. You never have to get out of your private seat (+environment) to transfer – a big aspect of this future nobody seems to yet understand. Here is such a “cove” seat on an airliner. Yes, larger than the small senior scooters (that badly need a decent design effort put towards them).

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