Consider scooter as viable alternative
Q. I don't walk so well anymore and I'm considering getting one of those scooters that I see seniors driving. What do you know about them?
Scooters have become increasingly popular since they were invented in 1968. As more baby boomers hit the market for mobility assistive equipment, we will see more scooters.
About 1.7 million in the United States use wheelchairs or scooters. About 90 percent of these people have manual wheelchairs. There are155,000 using electrically-powered wheelchairs, and 142,000 riding scooters.
Motorized scooters serve the same function as motorized wheelchairs. Scooters are easier to maneuver and are more versatile. And because they now have sleek designs and are marketed primarily as a product to facilitate movement, rather than to assist the disabled, they appeal to a broader spectrum of the public.
I shopped online for scooters. They range from about $500 to $4,500.
If your doctor submits a written order stating that you have a medical need for a scooter, Medicare will help cover the costs under the following conditions:
You have a health problem that causes difficulty moving around in your home.
You're unable to do activities of daily living even with the help of a cane, crutch or walker.
You can't operate a manual wheelchair.
You're able to safely operate, and get on and off the scooter, or have someone with you who is always available to help you use the device safely.
You must be able to use it in your home. Medicare won't cover a scooter if it will be used mainly for leisure activities, or if it's only needed to move around outside your home.
A mobility scooter usually has a swivel seat over three or four wheels, a flat area for your feet and handlebars to steer it. Mobility scooters are usually battery-powered. Order "How To Be A Healthy Geezer," 218-page compilation of columns: healthygeezer.com; "Healthy Geezer" questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
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