Long ago in the old days, seniors and individuals who had difficulty walking were stuck using manual wheelchairs, relying on others to maneuver them around. However, the first successful motorized wheelchair was invented by a Canadian named George Klein after World War II. In 2016, Diwakar Vaish from India invented the world’s first mind-controlled wheelchair, pioneering a significant breakthrough in how occupants can maneuver by themselves.
Until mind-controlled wheelchairs become commercial products, power chairs and mobility scooters are the options available. Many confuse the two terms, so we have devised this guide to help you find a vehicle that suits your needs.
What Is a Power Chair?
A power chair is like a wheelchair, except it’s built with advanced technology to make the driver’s life easier. Its level of sophistication knows no bounds with four or six wheels that simplify maneuverability and a joystick that gets the vehicle going. Power chairs have individual footrests, and a single charge grants drivers up to 32 km. These vehicles allow occupants to keep up with friends who have the longest of strides.
A power chair offers multiple sitting positions, including recline, lean forward, and lie down. The seat generally redistributes pressure for optimum support since the occupant will be using it for long periods.
What Is a Mobility Scooter?
A mobility scooter has a frame that’s similar to a moped scooter. It has three or four wheels and an area for your feet with handlebars placed in front of the driver to navigate the vehicle. The types of models vary, but a mobility scooter can have:
- Rearview mirrors
- A swivel seat
- A basket on the back and/or front
- Under-seat storage
- A dashboard
Some fancier models come with overhead cover, resembling golf carts.
Whether they’re for indoor or outdoor use, mobility scooters provide seniors with a stylish set of wheels that come in a variety of colors, thus making them a popular choice. Many seniors happily trade their canes, walkers, and rollators for a mobility scooter. They can give seniors a boost of confidence while making onlookers slightly jealous.
Mobility scooters can generally run between four and eight miles per hour, so they facilitate walking and talking with companions. Mobility scooters also give enough power to run errands in a reasonable amount of time. Charging is a major time-saver, as many models can run for 40 km after one charge.
What Are the Differences?
These two types of vehicles are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re designed with specific uses in mind.
The Benefits of Power Chairs
Power chairs are suitable for individuals who need them for long-term use. Individuals suffering from hand injuries or paralysis, for example, can easily use the joystick or have the chair programmed to respond to mouth or eye movements. Mobility scooters have ergonomic handlebars, but these are painful to manipulate for individuals with arthritis or hand injuries.
When transported, power chairs can be secured in a van or bus, which adds a level of safety for the chair’s occupant and the other passengers. Mobility scooters are not made with securing mechanisms.
Since power chairs are for long-term occupants, they are designed to make everyday tasks easy for the person. Essentially, power chairs can turn within tight spaces with minimal turn radius. In comparison, mobility scooters have a much wider turn radius, making them an ideal vehicle for the outdoors.
Power chairs are robust and technologically-packed vehicles, making them more expensive than mobility scooters. However, Healthcare Solutions offers competitive prices and provides sales.
The Benefits of Mobility Scooters
Ideal for short trips, mobility scooters let seniors who have some difficulty walking complete tasks, such as going to the grocery store and enjoy the outdoors, such as visiting the park with their family.
Whether you’re in the backcountry with gravel roads or on cobblestoned city streets, mobility scooters handle all terrain with ease and have shock absorbers to make the ride more comfortable. Unfortunately, power chairs are built low to the ground and can’t handle uneven terrain.
When it comes to storing a mobility scooter, many of them are made to be easily disassembled or at least folded in on itself. Power chairs are heavy machines and don’t have this feature.
Mobility scooters are more affordable than power chairs since they are more widely in demand. Healthcare Solutions has a decent selection with many sleeks models.
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Being confined to a chair or missing out on activities from pains makes for a dull life. Whether you buy a power chair or a mobility scooter, they will enable individuals to feel part of the community since they can go out whenever they want and without tiring themselves as quickly. Family members won’t need to worry about being available or having to be strong enough to push the occupant to where they want to go.
Both vehicles empower the occupant and improve their overall outlook. Healthcare Solutions is your number one provider of high-grade medical and health supplies, as well as resources for Alberta residents.