Ian Cook is a disability journalist who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) 30 years ago. In this article, he explains how having a mobility scooter has helped him to live a more independent and comfortable life.
Within 10 to 15 years of diagnosis, about 80% of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) experience difficulties walking. After being diagnosed with it myself 30 years ago, I’ve found my mobility scooter to be a life-changing tool, giving me back some of the independence that MS has taken away.
Although symptoms of MS vary, many of them (such as balance problems and fatigue) make it difficult to get around. As these symptoms contributed to my own declining mobility, I’ve found that mobility scooters are a great way to move around and carry out day-to-day tasks.
These are some of the key advantages Motability Scheme mobility scooters offer people with MS:
With some models having pneumatic tyres and comfortable suspension, scooting along becomes a pleasure compared to walking, which becomes progressively difficult with MS. Being able to sit in a comfy, well-designed seat makes it so much easier to carry out my day-to-day tasks.
One of the well-documented symptoms of MS is foot-drop, which gives you a tendency to drag one foot, meaning you’re in danger of tripping over things like kerbs. Travelling by scooter instead of by foot can help by preventing you from falling and hurting yourself.
Scooters can also help if you suffer from vertigo or balance problems. Personally, I’m sure scooters have saved me from injuries many times.
Go further afield
I can only walk a maximum of 30 metres with a stick, which is very little compared to the 10-mile range that even a compact scooter can deliver when fully charged. Being able to travel further gives you more independence and the opportunity to do things you’d otherwise not be able to.
You can also take a mobility scooter onto many forms of public transport, which gives you the option of going even further afield. This can help you enjoy more freedom, by making your world a bigger place.
Optional extras to look for on your next mobility scooter
There are a few features that you might want to look out for when choosing your next mobility scooter, in order to have the smoothest, most comfortable experience possible:
- Extra legroom: If, like me, you suffer from spasticity and spasms or have long legs, the extra legroom of some models can be very beneficial.
- Tiller style controls: These are easy to operate even with reduced hand strength and movement, poor coordination or weakness in your arms.
- Swivel seat: Some models feature a seat that can swivel 90 degrees to either side, making it easier to get on and off.
- Quick and easy dismantling: Some small scooters are very quick and easy to dismantle, which is ideal if you need to store them away in a car boot.
- A basket: This can be very useful for storing things like shopping bags or a fold-up walking stick.
Advice for choosing a scooter for the first time
Don’t go it alone. There are around 300 Motability Scheme dealers across the UK with specialists to assist you in selecting the right scooter for your needs. If you’re thinking of getting a scooter, be sure to visit a dealer near you – the staff will be able to show you how each scooter works and which ones would be best for your specific needs.
You can also take a look at the Motability Scheme website for more information, and use their handy tool to help you choose the right product for you. It’s also worth remembering that the Motability Scheme provides an all-inclusive lease, which includes insurance cover, servicing and maintenance. The worry-free package reassures me that I am in safe hands.