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Trying to get my head round idea of having a mobility scooter

I’ve got SPMS and I’ve just started thinking about the possibility of getting a folding lightweight mobility scooter. I’ve been looking at some of the many threads here on this subject.

When I applied for a blue badge about three years ago someone on here advised me to complete the application as if it was my worst day. So I did, and to my surprise got the badge. Then I started to notice a slight but steady deterioration in mobility and was I glad that I’d applied. It’s been a godsend, and I’ve occasionally given similar advice to other people in a ‘pay it forward’ kind of way.

We live in London, about six minutes slightly uphill walk to the tube station - though rather more than six minutes for me and quite difficult these days but OK on the return journey. I use a walking pole as advised by my neurophysio.

I’d say that one of my worst symptoms with the MS is fatigue. I used to enjoy walking but find it very tiring. I’ve realised that it’s putting me off doing things that I like - art galleries and museums with my husband. We went to a museum last week and I could only manage the main museum hall then I was done for! We’re planning a trip to an art exhibition but I know that I’ll find it really tiring.

So I’ve started thinking about a mobility scooter. Where’s the best place to start? Is it possible to get a folding lightweight one that I could put in the boot of the car myself and get out without difficulty? So that I could go to our local covered shopping mall where I haven’t been for months? Not that I particularly like it! Or a scooter that we could take on the tube?

And why oh why does this seem like such a big step for me? I didn’t have a problem with the blue badge - I said to myself that if I didn’t need it then I wouldn’t have to use it - and likewise with a scooter - but I can’t even bring myself to discuss it with my husband in case he thinks I’ve ‘given up’. And it does feel a bit like that to me if I’m honest.

Thanks for reading. And if anyone wants to knock some sense into me it would be welcome!

Louise

Hi Louise,

I decided to get a scooter a couple of years ago and was surprised how elated I felt with my independence and freedom. I can go into town whenever I like; go to the library, have my hair cut and I don’t have to pay any parking charges. I don’t have to ask my wife to take me and I can take my time, which you can’t always do if you’re with someone.

I went to a mobility scooter shop so I could try the different models to see which one fitted me best. I didn’t feel that I was giving in, it felt like I was making progress.

Best wishes,

Anthony

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Its a big step to take Louise.I had to gear myself up for quite some time before i took the plunge and got one i dont know WHY i found it so hard but i did, and still do if i am honest.I still feel conscious when i use it and i think i always will do too,silly i know but its the way i am.I hope you get one though as it makes life easier and i like mine better than a w/c i just did not like to use the w/c at all it made me feel useless and angry too.I got a Luggie scooter from a lady that had only used it a few times i got it for about £800 and it was £2200 new.Its very portable.but quite heavy too i got it thinking it would be good to take on planes but sadly i never did get to use it on a plane.Ther are some good bargains on ebay at times.Good luck i know how hard it is to come to the decision.

Is there in your town near you have disabled scooters for anybody to use, I am still in limboland but when I broke a bone in my foot I was able to get to the shopping centre in Nottingham on the bus but there was a place that you could hire a scooter for 3 hours no cost, it was great my dad would drop us off and we then swaned around town, ending back at the mall ready to go home, the bus station was very close to the hire place. I can’t think that it’s the only town that does it. Hope it helps.

PS you could try a few before making up your mind which one was the best.

Kay

If you can Louise try one first. They are such fun honestly. Without mine i would be house bound now. I use it to take my dog for her walk and get my fresh air. You can buy ones that do fold in back of cars but dont go too small for going out as they are not that stable on the ground. I didnt like the 3 wheeler to be honest. there are so many types. You might find you can hire one first. If you go to supermarkets some of the bigger ones have one you can use. have a go you will love it. Its just an ends to a means thats it really. you use a stick, its just another form of stick. x

I know how you feel. I find it easy to use a scooter when I am on holiday or having a day out in a place where nobody knows me but I don’t like going up my own street in it. Stupid really. We went to london last year and I took my scooter, I found it ok getting about but we were staying in a hotel in a good location so I didn’t need public transport I could get everywhere by just scooting. I was amazed though that I hardly saw anybody else on one, everywhere else in the country you can’t move for them but in London there was hardly any.

Thanks for all your replies. They’re really helpful.

I’m trying to take the idea of a scooter on board with baby steps, starting with museums/galleries and shopping centres - where I can borrow one.

I was telling my husband about using one in an art gallery and he said ‘oh, you won’t want that’ and I replied that I actually would find it useful. He was like ‘ok then’ which proves that it’s probably more in my mind than his!

Louise

Hi Louise,

That sounds ideal.

If you cut short a visit to a gallery because you didn’t feel like walking any further, you might be disappointed that you’d had a wasted trip.

It will help you get the most out of life.

Regards,

Anthony

Louise,

it is indeed a big deal, however the benefits of being able to do more stuff and spend more time with your husband will outweigh the negatives.

His response of “you won’t want that” suggest that he is less accepting of your reality than you are, so when you are deriving the benefit of doing yourself a favour you should let him know. I am not advocating any kind of giving in, but we should each choose our own thresholds.

Good luck

Mick

I Certainly did far more in London than I could have dreamt of doing on my legs. Plus by being in the scooter most of the day my legs weren’t cramping up during the night so slept far better. I have always tried to do what I could on my legs but now I find it too painful and it would ruin mine and the wives holidays if I hadn’t succumbed to the scooter.

Hello, I am at a similar stage to you Lou62. I use a stick nearly all the time out of doors, walking poles when terrain is suitable and occasionally a rollator. The MS Nurse said it was not worth me applying for a blue badge as they are ‘very strict’ in my area apparently and I was not likely to get one.

My husband keeps saying ‘get a blue badge’ …

I like visiting bird reserves - there I borrow a mobility scooter for the day if available. I find them great. They conserve my energy on the longer distances and I then have enough energy to walk a bit to the less accessible hides or climb up stairs to the high level hides.

However, I too am shy about using one where I might meet people, I know although I know I am missing out on life/shopping.

I am hoping to get into London at the end of the month to see the London Marathon (my daughter is running for the MS Society) - I shall take my rollator and hope it all works out. At least I shall have a seat and hopefully the crowds will move aside a bit.

Mouse

Thanks again for the replies everyone. They gave me the ‘courage’ to open up to my husband about this - felt guilty as it’s his birthday today - some conversation to have on your birthday, right? You’ve all really helped , I find that as the MSer in the family I feel a need to shield everyone from the nitty gritty stuff.

I was reading the Sunday Times magazine from this week where the ‘Life in the Day’ column is Frank Bruno. A very inspiring guy…I particularly liked his ‘Words of Wisdom’ which were:-

Best advice I was given -We are only here on borrowed time and time waits for no man or woman.

Advice I’d give - Try and look after yourself as best you can.

What I wish I’d known - Accepting help is crucial.

Mouse my blue badge was a game changer. I’d apply for one again anyway as if it was your worst day. I think that some areas want to interview you when you submit an application but I’d certainly kick off if I was turned down for one.

Looked at some mobility scooters and rollators online with my husband. So we’ve started that conversation and I feel better for coming clean about it.

Do people have a rollater and a mobility scooter? Finances allowing, I mean.

Louise

Hi Louise,

It’s just another big decision you have to make to make your life a little bit easier. Stick, scooter, walking frame, automatic car etc, Having a scooter gives me my independence as I live on my own.

I started by using mobility scooters in other cities to my local one. Eventually bought a second hand £250 Day strider 2, before I really needed it. Comes apart but needed someone strong to lift into the boot.

I now get enhanced mobility so got an estate car with a hoist for my scooter. Totally independent now. Just been away on my own to a hotel for two nights. Shopped, visited a gallery and at a National Trust place borrowed a Tramper. Scooter carries my luggage in a rucksack on the back and also carries my shopping.

Look on the motability website. They have The Big Event and One Big Day events where they have numerous cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs. Well worth going if one is near you to compare scooters. Then shop around to find one you like.

https://www.motability.co.uk/news-views-and-events/one-big-day/

Good luck

Jen

Evening Louise

I was just surfing around here for a bit, trying to miss the football actually and came across this post. I thought it was just me who had a problem with going out on a scooter but am relieved to find others feel the same. I am not so bad on my road scooter but last year decided to buy a boot one, I am ashamed to say I have never used it, only because in my mind I thought everyone was going to stare at me, as if they hadn’t got something better to look at! However, the final straw came yesterday at the garden centre. After 45 minutes I was dead on my feet and they weren’t actually acting like feet by that time. OH bundled me back in the car and immediately said that I should have taken the scooter and then I would have been able to look at the roses instead of crawling back to the car. It would have also meant that I could have left my stick in the car instead of having to find a place to park it in the trolley which was keeping me upright. Lesson learnt, scooter - affectionately named Little Ern- will be going out next time to the garden centre and anywhere else I might need my legs! The only thing I will add as someone else has mentioned, try as many as you can because some of them don’t feel as stable as you would like but best of luck with which ever one you get.

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Hi louise i have a mobility scooter, an electric wheelchair, and a rollator lol.

actually on ebay been looking at a really smart folding scooter i liked which i might have instead of the chair. I use my chair for appointments as i can go in with the chair.

I could never go to shops or supermarkets etc without my scooter.

wondering if it might be easier then the chair for my friend to fold.

its fun having a scooter and it really changes your life.

ah now then you could have got your hubby to go get a wheelchair. I believe nearly every garden centre has one. I am glad you are going to give little Ern a try it will transform your life hun really.

My wife was really reluctant to get a scooter but if we tried to go anywhere, i would often have to abandon her on a bench and go fetch the car to pick her up again.Eventually she decided it might be a good idea and after testing a few at a shop bought the exact same one she picked (Model and colour) almost new from ebay a week later.We can now get out and about together for nice walks by the sea etc or just trawl round charity shops or whatever she wants.Obviously i don’t know your hubby but i know i felt so much frustration that our lives were restricted far more than they needed to be before she accepted this need. Why would you not get one if it would help,you don’t have to be on it all the time if not needed but there will be times when it definately enhances your life! I know people worry about what others might think and i know that does seem to be a fairly natural human reaction,but it shouldn’t be.If anyone is going to form any kind of opinion on you based on seeing you on a scooter then that isn’t someone whose opinion you should place any value on or give a dam about,sod em!

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Stop allowing vanity to over rule your common sense. If you lived 5 miles from the shop, you’d think it too far to walk to. You’d use a car or accept a lift. No different with a scooter or motorised chair. Just wheels of a different type. It was my OT that made me see sense three years ago. After hearing my story, similar to your own, she taught me that by NOT using a motorised chair in my case, I was in fact "giving in ", letting MS win, not in fact the other way around. After the initial few self conscious outings I soon got used to it. Toddlers and children are the funniest spectators. You see the curiosity and wheel envy as they pass and inspect from their buggies. :smiley:

Names.

My scooter is called Thunderbird 4 as it comes out of my car (Thunderbird 2).

Try one out at your local shopmobility, they give you a little lesson of how to drive them too.

You’ll make lots of new scooter friends too if you get one. I often get asked make and model like a classic car!

Jen

Go for it. Through the years, I reluctantly started using a walking stick, crutches, blue badge, wheelchair. Every time, I used these, life became so much easier. For those who are self conscious and think people will look at them for whatever item they are using, I mentioned this to someone who said, “you’ll get more stares if you fall on your arse”. Hardly subtle, but true. Derek

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