Adjusting To Life With A Mobility Scooter

If your ability to walk reasonable distances is deteriorating, you might be considering a mobility scooter. Using this aid can help you get your life back. You regain some independence, meaning you can participate in activities that you may not have previously been able to. However, going from no assistance to using a mobility scooter can be daunting. So, to help with this period of change, we have put together some top tips on how to adapt to life with a mobility scooter.

a person using a mobility scooter in a park

Ensure Your Home Is Ready for The New Addition

You may or may not require your mobility scooter when in the comfort of your own home. If you only have limited ability to move while you are at home, this could be an excellent chance to walk short distances, to ensure you keep physically active. However, if you do require support at all times, you need to make sure that your home is suitable for your mobility scooter. Some homes are built with wider doorways and entrances, but if your house wasn’t, you will likely need to get them extended. With this extra space, you will be able to move more freely around the property, without having to worry about hitting or knocking anything over. Furthermore, if your property is slightly raised, you will require a ramp so that you can access your home with ease.

Independence is key! So, when it comes to the bathroom, you want to ensure that you have all the assistance you need. Having the correct facilities will allow you to gain that freedom once again and need no one but yourself. Sturdy grab bars are essential in the bathroom. These can help you move from your scooter and around the room with ease. Slipmats are especially important in the bathroom to avoid any accidents because the floor can, at times, get wet and therefore create a hazard. Additional adjustments would include increasing the height of the toilet and also removing the vanity from underneath the sink. These changes will allow you to use the bathroom more freely.

disabled access bathroom facility

The same suggestions apply for both the kitchen and bedroom. First and foremost, make sure that the items you want regular access to are stored in the lower cupboards and drawers. It is also useful to remove cupboard doors to avoid any restricted access. Although rugs and mats look nice, they can obstruct movement when using a mobility scooter; it is best to remove these to ensure you can move around effortlessly. For further information on how to adapt your home, check out our blog on mobility aids to consider for your home.

Keep Yourself Active

When you are limited with movement, it can be tough to remain active. However, don’t think that because you are restricted to a chair that you can’t do some physical activity! It is essential to try and do a little bit of exercise every day to keep yourself moving. Doing this will help avoid any aches or pains. Staying in one position every day can leave your body feeling still, especially your neck, as you are sat continuously upright. A way to avoid this is to do some chin to neck exercise; a simple movement that can relieve any tension in the neck. Your shoulders too can get uncomfortable from lack of mobility so to loosen them up, do some shoulder rolls. You want to sit upright in your chair, raise your shoulders and slowly roll them in a backwards motion; the goal is to perform a circle. To focus on loosening the lower body, raise one leg at a time and perform small circular motions with your foot. A few circles with each foot can help with any tension in your lower legs. Complete these exercises daily, and you should feel less discomfort. Therefore, enjoying using your scooter more!

a mobility scooter plugged in to charge

You Don’t Need to Worry

Gauging the width and speed of your scooter can be daunting, so here are some tips on how to stay safe. Firstly, ensure the battery is always fully charged; this is to avoid any cut outs while out in public. Secondly, practice makes perfect, so do a few laps around your local area to get used to the sensitivity of the scooter and also the width of it. Learning the size of the scooter can be one of the toughest challenges, so it’s great to get some practice in! To make travelling easier, consider purchasing a high-quality mobility scooter; they can move on multiple terrains effortlessly and are more comfortable.

Here at Essential Mobility, we have a wide variety of mobility scooters that you can either hire or buy. Start your journey to independence and freedom by checking out our range today to find your perfect match!

Accessible Tarka Trail Highlights

Last Bridge To Bideford
CC by Andrew (Last Bridge To Bideford)

The Tarka Trail is a beautiful walking and cycling route spanning North and West Devon, as well as Torridge. The trail is one of the most extensive dedicated walking and cycling paths in the country and has an array of highlights along the route. This blog will explore some of those attractions that are wheelchair-accessible, and will hopefully encourage you to visit some of them for yourself.

Most people think of the Tarka Trail as only consisting of the 30-mile stretch between Braunton and Meeth. However, the full Tarka Trail is actually a figure of eight around Devon, reaching from Bideford to Exmoor, and from Exmoor to the tip of Dartmoor. In total, the trail is over 160 miles in length, with many attractions along the way. This blog will include the extended 160-mile trail’s attractions.

The Trail

Obviously, the main attraction on the Tarka Trail is the trail itself. With the 30-mile path from Braunton to Meeth being accessible to wheelchairs, there’s plenty for those to see along this stunning stretch. See some of the beautiful sights along the route, like the vast Taw-Torridge Estuary along with its over 20,000 occasional migratory waders, or Beam Estate – the birthplace of Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter. The Tarka Trail has some fantastic sights accessible to wheelchairs, so next time you’re nearby, take a look! We promise you won’t regret it.

Instow Signal Box & Bideford Railway Centre

This little part of British railway history is situated on the Bideford part of the Tarka Trail. These places offer a peek into the past for people who are interested in railways and their history. Sadly, no trains have run between Bideford and Barnstaple station since 1982 – if you don’t count the time in 2011 where model trains completed the route. Either way, this attraction is a fantastic slice of British rail history that’s mostly wheelchair accessible and is definitely worth a look.

Queen’s Theatre

Nearby to the Tarka Trail in Barnstaple, the first-rate Queen’s Theatre is situated. Come here to watch some fantastic performers, eat some good food, and generally have a good time. The theatre has accessible seats and provides free tickets for carers. If the theatre is something that interests you, this is the place to go.

Arlington Court

Situated within the north loop of the extended Tarka Trail, Arlington Court is an early 19th-century manor house with a beautiful garden and some brilliant architecture. There are plenty of exciting things to see at the house, most of which are accessible with manual wheelchairs or small mobility scooters. The National Trust owns the house, and parking is very reasonable. Most of the garden is accessible – but some of the paths are formed of gravel, so you may need a more robust scooter if you want to explore the whole garden. If you’re interested in being able to traverse more rough paths like this, consider buying or hiring one of our all-terrain mobility scooters.

Exmoor Zoo

Exmoor Zoo is a brilliant attraction near the north-eastern part of the Tarka Trail. There’s a fantastic range of flora and fauna available for you to see here, including the only pair of black leopards on display in the UK. The zoo is very accessible for wheelchair users, with the majority of the paths made from concrete, and the rest being scree. Exmoor Zoo is a wonderful day out for the entire family – something that everyone will enjoy from nine to ninety! If you’re looking for a fun, cheap, and educational day out, then this is the place to go!

Meerkats at the zoo

High Streets

If shopping is your thing, then the high streets of towns like Barnstaple and Bideford are for you. Situated closeby to the Tarka Trail, these places have everything from fashion retailers to unique antique shops. The locations are mostly wheelchair accessible, and parking is usually quite wheelchair friendly.

We hope that we’ve inspired you to visit the Tarka Trail. Thanks for reading this blog, and, whilst you’re here, why don’t you check out our previous blog for more attractions around North Devon.