Being able to drive a vehicle is critical to an elderly living at home. Although driving is not essential for fundamental functioning, this enables an individual to live independently in a community.
Most older adults especially in developed countries like the U.S. and New Zealand view their driver’s license as a symbol of maturity and independence. This stems from owning a car during their younger days. Losing a driver’s license as an older adult only validates one’s fear of being frail and being dependent on others. Public transportation is not much of a help either as they oftentimes prove to be unavailable, inconvenient or expensive.
Getting Around With The Prowler 3-Wheel Mobility Scooter
Mobility scooter is one of the emerging approaches, aside from pet ownership and e-bikes, to encourage physical activity among older adults.
This power-operated vehicle accommodates only one person. The device is controlled via a mechanical tiller system. Some have 4 wheels; others have 3 wheels. The prowler 3-wheel mobility scooter can travel up to 23 miles with a maximum cruising range of 7 miles per hour. It also has safety features such as anti-tip wheels, turn signals, rearview mirrors and a headlight. Aside from travelling distances, this technology conserves energy compared to propelling a manual wheelchair.
In New Zealand, for instance, 50% of people aged 65 years and above have some form of mobility-restricting physical disabilities. Many elderly, including those in the U.S. and New Zealand, reported of being unable to walk several blocks, creating a dependence on others.
A study by Sullivan et al. suggested that with the projected rise of people aged 65 years and over, it is reasonable to assume that there will be a rise of people using this assistive device in the immediate future.
The Sullivan et al. study showed that this assistive technology was the main form of transportation and in many instances it replaced the ownership of a car after a loss of a driver’s license. The study further suggests that this modern form of transportation facilitated wide range of activities such as shopping, recreational and socializing.
The study added that the regular use of this device improved the ability of the users to “get around” in their community. This, in turn, may have a positive impact on the overall health status of the users, the study stressed.
Driving a Car Versus Driving a Mobility Scooter
The health requirements for driving a scooter are less than the requirements for driving a car. Here are the basic health requirements for driving a scooter:
Visual capacity: One must have a decent visual ability in order to drive a mobility scooter. This Optometrist in Calgary strongly prohibits the use of mobility scooters if you have problems related to eye sight;
Ability to walk even for short distance;
Finger control to operate the vehicle;
Ability to sit down and stand up independently and safely from a chair; and
Good trunk control and good balance while sitting.