“I have enough money to buy a piece of very suitable mobility equipment for my elderly mother,” a young man was talking to himself as he was waiting for his flight back home. He felt his mother, a widow, will be lonely when he left for his work in another country. And he needed to do something about that. He could not forgo a satisfying job with an excellent salary.
He has different monitoring systems, including burglary and personal monitoring systems installed. He felt confident the mother would be well cared for with around-the-clock nurse’s aid, and with the monitoring systems, he would watch what would be going on with the mother from anywhere he was.
The young man was still not satisfied because the mother would become a prisoner in her own house with him unavailable to drive her around, and he would not trust any other person to chauffeur her around.
What to Do
He spent the following week reading some literature on home safety and consulting people to find the most suitable mobile equipment for the mother.
The mother had two disabilities – early on-set of chronic arthritis and diabetes. Both diseases were under the care of the family doctor. His insurance provided diabetic monitoring equipment, and he bought the Fall detector also.
The Mobile equipment That Came to Mind
The following were his potential choices:
How Did He Make His Choice?
It was not an easy task. A car was out of the question – she was not allowed to drive. The mother has a thing against wheelchairs. The choices have narrowed down to the scooters. A two-wheeler lacks balance, and the son would not go for that.
He was more interested in a scooter that was simple enough for her to operate and of low speed for obvious reasons.
The mobile equipment must be sturdy enough that would enable her to visit her near-by friends.
The seat would be spacious enough to accommodate her comfortably.
The mobile equipment must be able to operate on unpaved terrain.
She should be able to go to her favorite store and navigate her way in the store.
She should be able to live the type of active life she had always enjoyed.
By now, the two-wheel is out of the race, but three-wheel- and four-wheel are still in the race.
The young man continued coming back to the three-wheel because of maneuverability and being more straight forward and less bulky.
So far, the man has not visited any scooter showroom. And also he has not consulted the family doctor who, he was sure, would ask questions about the mobility equipment.
In any matter concerning her arthritis and diabetes disabilities, the healthcare professional had to say whether she was healthy enough to operate a motorized scooter. So, her son wanted to do his homework first and well.
That answered the question, “why did the young man refuse to consult the family doctor first?”
His choice of a suitable scooter for an older person (the mother)
After finishing his research, he visited and consulted the family physician, who gave him the go-ahead sign. Then he began reading scooter catalogs and finally settled on a four-wheel with the mother’s favorite color.
The catalog helped him pin-point the type of scooter he had in mind by supplying him with other pieces of the puzzle.
The following is the specifications he came up with
- he wanted the top speed not be more than five mph
- fast and slow speeds must be button-operated
- turning radius, around 22.”
- drive range, not more than 10 miles
- overall weight, not more than 200 lbs
- price range, within a 1000 dollars
- seat swivel – not more than 180 degrees
- must have two side rear mirrors
- large plastic carry basket.
When he finally walked into a scooter showroom, he came out with this: The 4-wheel scooter chosen for the mother
The primary lesson learned here is clear – that there is no such thing as one suitable mobile equipment for all older persons. And the reasons behind this conclusion, the discussion above made them clear.
No two elderly persons are the same, not the same in their likes and dislikes; the type of disabilities and the stages are never the same. And finally, the financial abilities are not the same. These need to be considered first in the process of finding suitable mobile equipment for an older adult.
Procuring a piece of motorized equipment for an older person, therefore, requires careful due diligence and even more so if there are physical disabilities involved.
The ability to buy stuff is one thing, and the material satisfying the need is another thing.
Therefore, the people involved in recommending suitable mobility equipment for an older person should spend the time to get it right to avoid causing more problems than they intended to solve.
The young man in the story got it right. Money was not a problem. But it was the least of the solution. He knew what the mother needed to maintain her type of active lifestyle. But he must get it right to avoid disaster – he did his research, consulted people, and even approached the family doctor for his opinion on the matter.
He did not just buy any mobile equipment, any scooter! No! He purchased what will satisfy the need. But before he departed the house, he got his mother to promise him that she will never take the motorcycle to the freeway.
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