Using a wheelchair or mobility scooter when you have fibromyalgia or ME/CFS. Click to read or pin to save for later.

One of the most popular search terms that brings people to my blog is “fibromyalgia wheelchair”, which takes them to this blog post I wrote about fibromyalgia and wheelchair use in 2014. At the time I wrote that post I had hired a mobility aid on a couple of different occasions.

The first was hiring a manual wheelchair to visit the Enchanted Forest and the second was hiring a mobility scooter during my visit to Disneyland. In the post, I talked about my limitations and getting my head around accepting additional help when I needed it.

I seemed to understand the need to hire a mobility aid when I was going above and beyond what I would normally do in a day. Case in point, the two examples above. However, it has only been in recent months that I have come to accept the need to use a mobility aid—specifically a mobility scooter—to assist me in my day-to-day life with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.

This came after a long time of questioning, “should I use a wheelchair or mobility scooter for fibromyalgia and ME/CFS?

If you have ever found yourself asking the same question, please read on to learn about my personal experience and how a mobility scooter has helped me to manage my health conditions. I hope you find this post useful and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below.

Purchasing a mobility scooter to help manage my fibromyalgia and ME/CFS

In February of this year, I purchased a mobility scooter. It’s something I actually debated for a long time. I spent a lot of time asking myself, “do I actually need a wheelchair or scooter?” In the end, I decided the answer was “yes” and I opted for a scooter.

It’s a decision I definitely haven’t regretted. As much as my health has improved, I still suffer from fatigue and poor stamina; to a level that it interferes with my ability to do many things.

It is a frustrating position to be in; feeling like I am capable of doing more but physically being unable to. I hoped that purchasing a mobility scooter would enable me to do more while still living within my limitations.

The first day I went out in my mobility scooter I immediately knew I had made the right decision. In fact, I wished I had made the purchase sooner. So what held me back?

My worries and concerns prior to purchasing my mobility scooter

There were a few reasons why I was reluctant to invest in a mobility aid and why it wasn’t really on my radar until a few months ago. These are all very personal reasons and I want to share them with you in case you find yourself feeling the same way I did:

  1.  No-one ever suggested it to me. Had a doctor or other professional suggested the idea to me I probably would have researched mobility aids sooner. The fact no-one said anything to me made me feel like I must not need one.
  2. I can walk short distances, therefore was the use of a mobility aid justified?
  3. Plus, I wouldn’t need to use it all of the time and there would be days where I wouldn’t need to use it at all.
  4. I worried that if I started using a wheelchair or mobility scooter that I would become more reliant on it over time and my fitness would suffer as a result.

 What I have learned since purchasing my mobility scooter

What I have come to learn is that we know ourselves best. It didn’t matter that no-one had suggested using a mobility scooter/wheelchair to me because I am best placed to judge my own situation.

Just because I can walk short distances or manage things one day, doesn’t mean I can do it reliably or repeatedly. Should I miss out on doing things just because I am less capable some days? Definitely not.

One of my biggest frustrations, before I got my scooter, was not being able to walk my dog. At times I felt useless because it seemed like such a simple thing and I failed to be able to do it. I was sick of being stuck in all of the time. Now that I have my mobility scooter, I can take my dog out most days. 

Using a wheelchair or mobility scooter when you have fibromyalgia or ME/CFS. Click to read or pin to save for later.

How having a mobility scooter and wheelchair has helped me

Since purchasing my mobility scooter, I have also made use of a manual wheelchair, which I have borrowed from my friend’s mum. It has allowed me to do some amazing things, namely visiting Copenhagen and London without completely doing myself in. These are things I would most likely have had to say no to before.

I think that in itself shows just how much of a positive difference using mobility aids has made to my life; they help me to live my life to the fullest without causing an exacerbation of pain, fatigue or other symptoms.

That said, having a wheelchair or mobility scooter doesn’t mean I have to use it all of the time. I’m still allowed to walk and do what I am able to. I see a wheelchair/scooter as simply being a tool that I use to enable me to do more and get around more easily without causing myself any harm.

It doesn’t mean I am confined to it all of the time, though admittedly people do give you strange looks when you get out and walk! I’m quite oblivious to that sort of thing though as I don’t really care what others think.

As well as being able to do more, one of the biggest benefits of having my scooter is that it helps me to pace myself more effectively whilst doing so. I mentioned above that I was worried I would become overly reliant on a mobility aid and my fitness would suffer as a result.

I needn’t have worried as the opposite has actually been true; I am successfully using my mobility scooter to help me build up my stamina and fitness. If I am feeling well enough, I will hop out of it (and my mum jumps in) and walk for a short distance.

It’s great because I don’t have to worry about how far I am walking or if I am leaving myself enough energy to make the return journey.

Since my scooter has come into my life, I’ve also stopped pushing myself out with my energy envelope. As most of you will understand, in the past there were times when I would push myself to do something I really wanted to do, despite knowing full-well that there would be consequences as a result.

Now that I have a mobility scooter and wheelchair, I no longer have to knacker myself or cause a flare-up when I want to do something that would otherwise be out with my energy envelope.

As a result of all of the above my health has been more stable over the past few months. I honestly feel like my scooter plays a key role in helping me to successfully manage my fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. I love my little scooter and quite honestly I wouldn’t be without it.

I do hold onto the hope that one day I might not need it (or that I will need to use it less often). But until then, my scooter is allowing me to live the life I want without the risk of making my symptoms worse.

My advice to you if you are debating whether to purchase a mobility aid

My advice if you find yourself questioning whether you need to use a mobility aid is to consider the following: what is it that you wish you were able to do and would a mobility aid allow you to safely do it. If the answer to the latter question is “yes”, I absolutely believe the investment is worth it.

We only live once and I personally believe we should make the absolute most of every day. If a mobility aid helps you to do that, then that’s a positive in my book.

What are your thoughts? Do you use a mobility aid? Does it help you? Or are you wondering if you should invest in one? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.


Update April 2018: This post was written in 2016. You might be interested to know that I have progressed enough in my recovery that I no longer require my scooter. Read more here.

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Using a wheelchair or mobility scooter when you have fibromyalgia or ME/CFS. Click to read or pin to save for later.

 

Author

Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.

39 Comments

  1. Thanks for this update. I’m not at the stage where I would consider buying a mobility scooter or wheelchair, but I have used them. Most recently when I went to Japan I took a folding seat stick which I agonised over buying but when instantly appreciated when abroad. My Japanese is at a beginner level so it was nice to have a visual aid to help me explain why I was in pain and needed help. People “got it” without me needing to explain.

    I also used special assistance to travel to Japan, so I used a wheelchair in the aiports and borrowed a wheelchair when I went around Universal Studios because I knew I could not walk it and make it back to our Air B&B in one piece. The relief I got was amazing, it was great to relax and enjoy my holiday and not worry about pacing to make sure I had enough energy and could rest whenever I needed to.

    Hope you remain as well as you can be.

    • A folding stick seat sounds like a brilliant device to take travelling. I’m so pleased it helped you with your Japan trip and you were able to enjoy yourself. Airport assistance is definitely a huge help too. It’s great to be able to hire wheelchairs at theme parks as it makes things so much easier. I would love to travel to Japan one day.

    • My 11 year old has had CFE for 5.5years. We carried him to begin with but he started to get heavy. We first used a wherlchair in a visit to Florida again we as parents felt wrong about using it but as soon as we did we knew we had to buy one. Wr alwsys use it if we go on trips, airports or long walks as he can not make it. His class have been amazing and foght over pudhing it. The opportunity to participate more in life has more value to his mental health than any stigma of being in a chair could ever have. Yes you get the odd comment as he hops out to do a fun activity but most people accept an explanation or sometimes i donot bother. We are now looking at an e scooter or mobility one so that when he moves to secondary school he can move himself about without relying on friends. I have asked physiotherapy for help but have no idea how this will go but it is worth a try. Good luck to everyone and if you need one get one CFE/ME etc is a tough condition and if it helps you to participate more in life then go fir it.

      • This is wonderful to hear. I am so happy for your son that his chair has enabled him to participate in life more 🙂

  2. Hi Donna, another great read thank you! This one has actually just given me the swift kick I needed to stop being so pig headed. I too bought a scooter in February, but have only used it a couple of times for exactly the reasons you discuss. I was in particular worried it would make me ‘lazy’, and about what people would think. Both of which are daft! I can only manage to walk short distances on crutches, so have been limiting myself to places I can drive to the door. Doh! The times I have used it have been great, thank you so much for both sharing and dismissing your doubts, I can now do the same 🙂

    • Hey Denise. It’s definitely a difficult adjustment, isn’t it? I am glad you found this post helpful and I say just go for it with your scooter! I totally understand your concerns and doubts but I hope once you start to use it more you find the same benefits as I have 🙂 Good luck!

  3. I think this a fantastic post for people. Its easy to get very black and white about wheelchairs and being disabled. People think that the only people who use wheelchairs are usually paralyzed OR cannot walk at all. My feelings are if you cannot walk significant distances, if you feel faint any time you walk (but CAN walk), or even if you only need it on certain days…YOU SHOULD get a wheelchair with no guilt or worry that you doubt “qualify”. It does get more complicated when people are like “well you didn’t need that yesterday” but chronic pain and illness and its many complexities are hard for people who are well to understand.
    Im so grateful for my wheelchair, I cannot walk normally and though occasionally I use a walker where I can prop my “worst” foot/leg on it, I am in my wheelchair almost all the time. People often assume I am paralyzed so I use that to educate people about my neurological diseases and to remind them that disability is different for all of us. I hope others who are questioning whether to get one will read this. Job well done!!!
    http://www.shipwithnosails.com

    • Thank you, Genevieve. You are so right, a lot of people see disability as being black or white when the truth is that each of us is very individual in our needs. I do think a lot of people think you can either walk or you need a wheelchair, with no in between. I think there are so many who would probably benefit from the use of a mobility aid from time to time, who don’t feel justified in using one. Which is exactly why I wrote this post 🙂 It’s difficult when your condition is so variable but what we have to remember is we never have to justify ourselves to anyone. We simply need to focus on what is right for us.

  4. This came at the perfect time for me to really receive it. It’s been on my mind for some time. It brought tears to my eyes to think of walking my dogs again. Before all my pain, I was a dog walker and belly dancer. It would be so great to be able to do one of the things I love! Who knows, maybe I can ‘walk’ other people’s dogs again. 🙂
    A few questions – these are personal, so I understand fully if you do not want to share.
    1) what kind did you decide to purchase?
    2) I’m in the US, so it might be different, but did you go through health insurance?
    3) how much was your scooter?
    4) any tips when shopping for one?

    Thanks a bunch in advance!!
    Kerry

    • Hi Kerry, I am glad you found this post useful. I used to be a dog walker too at one point 🙂 It is so great being able to get out with my dog again, it has really benefitted mentally. My scooter is a Rascal Ultralite 480. I am in the UK so I had to purchase it myself. We have a consumer website here in the UK called Which and I decided on this particular scooter because it was a Which Best Buy. Plus I was kind of sold on the fact it was teal lol!!

      My tips when shopping for a scooter would be to think about what your needs are: where do you intend to go with your scooter, what type of terrain do you need to cover, does it need to fit into your car or would you be using it from home. To begin with, I had looked at folding scooters but the weight of them was far too much! I’d never have been able to lift them. Plus they were seriously expensive! I picked mine because it comes apart easily and I can lift each component by myself should I need to. Definitely consider the weight of each part of the scooter. It would be a shame to purchase one then realise you cannot use it on your own because you can’t lift it in/out a car.

      My best advice though would be to visit a local mobility shop, get a feel for different types of scooters and try them out. Though I have to say the guy at my local mobility shop was such a shark; he was trying to tell me I needed one with bigger wheels, more ground clearance and more power to handle walks in the park because of the grass and hills. Of course, this came with a hefty price tag! Needless to say, I didn’t buy from him. I can say my little scooter copes well on not only tarmac, but cut grass (when dry), gravel and the odd rough terrain. And it handles the hills in the park no problem. It’s probably not the best thing for it but sometimes it is fun to off-road 🙂

  5. I have one and it just sits in the living room, my chronic fatigue due to Fibro is unbearable at times and leaves me in bed for days. I think I don’t use it because how people look at me – but after reading your article makes me wonder …..would I spend less time in bed or just plain run down, could I actually get several errands done in one day without suffering for 3 ? It fits in back of my SUV but it’s a little heavy for me – I need a solution to load and unload. Lol there are all my excuses

    • I can’t answer that question for you Lisa but I definitely think it would be worth trying to use it more and seeing the value it adds to your life. I know it’s hard when people look but I ask myself this question: am I willing to let what other people think stop me from living my life to the fullest? I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that the people who I’m close to know how much it helps me and are supportive and I have a good anti-bullshit filter for strangers 😉

  6. I thought about getting a mobility scooter. Mainly so I could take my dog for longer walks (a JR too!) and also cope with days out without my husband having to miss out on stuff. However, when I mentioned that I was going to go and look at some, he said that I didn’t need one/was not ‘that bad’. So I continue to do what I can – short walks with my dog most days and occasional trips out for sightseeing. I managed to drive myself down to a local beach today and walk along the short wheelchair – friendly path. It was lovely to be out. My other problem is that we live on a farm, with narrow roads around the area. It would be dangerous to use a scooter on the roads, and a lot of walking we do is also not suitable – on the coast path/woodland etc. I may see if I can hire one when we next go for a city break or around a large National Trust property.

    • I’m sorry to hear your husband isn’t supportive of the idea. I bet if he realised how much more you would be able to do with it, he might change his mind. It’s tough that there are times and places you wouldn’t be able to use it but perhaps hiring one would be a good idea. It would allow you to do more and see how you really feel about having one. For me, it’s the difference in how I feel that makes it 100% worth it. I might be able to push myself to do stuff but it leaves me in pain, exhausted and possibly in bed for days. However, using the scooter means I can do the same thing but stay within my limitations and not suffer that increase in symptoms.

      P.S. Aren’t JRs just the best? 🙂

  7. Hi Donna,
    Great post! Well as you know on my blog, I’ve faced these same questions too. But the difference using a mobility scooter makes by helping me pace my energy levels to my activities is invaluable. I need to use one initially to help me walk our dog which was becoming very difficult. Having bought a second hand one last year, which has been breaking down a lot recently, I am now in the process of trying to get funding via a charity, to purchase a new, more robust one….watch this space. It’s good to know other people struggle with the psychological leap needed to admit to start using a scooter or wheelchair, and to overcome the fear of what others may be thinking. But in the end does it really matter what they think, if it gives me my life back to a greater degree.
    Best Wishes,
    Sophie

    • Hey! Thank you, Sophie. It’s great to be able to pace better, isn’t it? It’s definitely a difficult adjustment but I absolutely agree with what you say. It really doesn’t matter what others think. All that matters is that our quality of life improves 🙂

  8. A couple of years ago I was confined to a wheelchair from a very severe arthritis flare. I didn’t even know if I could walk down the aisle. Thankfully I didn’t use it that day although I couldn’t walk at all for the following 10 days.
    I also use the chair for fibro/ME as there are days when my muscles just don’t work and I’m stopping my family from doing things as well. I’ve since started using a scooter as well as I find my arms are too weak for prolonged use of my self-propelled chair or even a walking stick. I can now choose the most suitable for the days plans.
    The one thing that still stops my indepence though is that I cannot lift my scooter in the car or put it together despite it being a lite model. There are no useful amenities close to where I live sadly.

    • I am sorry to hear about your severe arthritis flare, it sounds horrible Cathy 🙁 I am pleased you were able to walk down the aisle and didn’t need to rely on it that day. Scooters and wheelchairs can make such a difference on those unpredictable days and they also mean you can join in more and miss out less. I am sorry to hear you cannot lift your scooter yourself, that must be frustrating. They aren’t the lightest of things, are they? I am lucky in that most of the time I am out I am with someone who lifts it in and out for me (though unlucky in a sense as the main reason for that is because I struggle to drive and get out on my own!). I can lift it at a push but I am fortunate not to suffer from arthritis or joint problems. I can fully appreciate why you have difficulties.

  9. Teresa Blakeley Reply

    Hi Donna, thanks for your lovely posts. I have only just got my scooter for holidays and days out. I have come to a point where I have to accept that I can’t do what I used to. I’ve had fibro and an expanding list of illness for 4 years. I never thought I’d need a scooterat 42. I’m just going to ignore the stares like I do when I’m on my crutches. Good for you and thanks for this post. It came at a perfect time for me xxx

    • Hi Teresa, it’s so hard coming to terms with life now being different, isn’t it? I too never would have seen myself needing to rely on a scooter. Absolutely ignore those stares! The looks of strangers mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, though I appreciate it’s not nice to experience. Thank you and I am so pleased you have found this post helpful 🙂

  10. This is a great post. I hope that it encourages people who are on the fence about if they are “sick enough” for mobility aids to go ahead and get them to make their lives easier. Some people think that using mobility aids means giving up but your post really shows that they can help you live your best life.

    • Thank you, Brittany. It’s the reason why I wrote this post as I hope anyone who finds themselves in the position I was will find what I have written helpful 🙂 I agree, I don’t think it should be about giving up but more about focussing on what enables us and helps us to do more. Anything that does that can only be a positive. Sometimes we can push and push ourselves for fear of giving up when really we are putting up a block towards a better life. Hope that makes sense!

  11. From my own experience & that of many people in the EDS community, mobility aids are something we’ve had to suggest rather than being advised to consider by a medical professional. To me this is worrying. How many people are out there & struggling more than they need to because a doctor isn’t suggesting they consider a mobility aid to manage their symptoms? Though my wheelchair isn’t ideal – it’s too heavy & causes pain, if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have been able to get out of the house, let alone go to my sister’s hen do & be getting ready to attend her wedding! I really wish there was more support out there for people who would benefit from mobility aids, it would help get past the “do I really need it?” stage. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

    • It is worrying because, like you say, there will be many people who are struggling and not aware of ways they can make life easier for themselves. I always feel it is a real shame that people with fibro and ME (not sure if it is the case for EDS) are left to the care of their GP and once help from them has been exhausted, you are basically on your own. There should be better support for sure. Even if it’s not ideal, it’s a starting place for you and I am sure your experience has helped you to realise what help you actually do need.

  12. Nicola Mundie Reply

    This post was like a ”sign” to me, I’ve been ill for years but only diagnosed for a few months, I’m able to go to the mall at the weekend with my husband, but the absolute maximum time I can walk etc is 2 hours, then I go home and usually end up crying in pain and gobbling pain killers for a few days.

    Thank you so much for the post, I wanted to let you know that the things you write are so important to me, as they seem to answer every thought I have rattling round in my head.

    • Hi Nicola,

      I can totally relate to what you say about effectively doing yourself in and suffering for days after. I think that’s why a scooter has been so important for me– it’s helped me to escape that boom, bust cycle.

      Are you thinking of purchasing a mobility aid for yourself?

      Thank you so much for your kind words, it really means a lot to me that people can relate to what I write.

  13. Thank you so much for this and your previous blog post about your journey. I’ve been diagnosed since 1999 with fibromyalgia and CFS, but it’s only in the last six months that anyone has mentioned mobility aids as a viable option for me. Due to my costochondritis (rib cartilage inflammation), walker/cane/crutches risk just making the pain worse and I’d never considered that scooters would be an option for me (I just turned 40 recently…). A friend visiting from Europe brought up the idea a few months ago, and my therapist (yay for depression and anxiety that come from 17 years of near constant pain) encouraged me to at least start using the carts in grocery stores, and consider buying one as a long term aid. She’d noticed a prominent pattern of me saving my small amounts of energy to do simple things like going to the store, and then being in a bad mental place because I’d be exhausted and then barely function for days after.

    So, I last week I got knocked out by a terrible flare, to the point I’m working on short term disability with work, the fog and pain meds along with the pain making it impossible to accomplish my high stress job. Long story short, my sweet husband agreed with me that this would be a good time to try renting a mobility scooter from one of the local rental places for a week (I live in Las Vegas – perk of living in a tourist town, I’m spoiled for choice with all the options!). The thought of being cooped up in my house for weeks was horribly daunting. Also there’s a festival in a local part this coming weekend that we’ve had plans with friends to attend for months, but even if I recovered to the point of being functional, walking all day to enjoy the festival would just send me back down the drain.
    I’ve had it for three days now, and it’s been the most educational experience. Even with outings limited by the flare, I’ve actually been able to leave the house and go place with my husband. Things I thought were out of reach forever are once again a possibility. Even though walking across my house is so tiring I have to sit down and regroup myself to do whatever I was over there to do, and spend most of the day resting in bed, I’ve been able to go out in public again and enjoy life. Part of my recovery needs to be mental as well as physical, and the ability to not be cooped up in my house is amazing, especially when we’re just not sure when/if I’m going to be even sort of functional again.
    Long term, I’m pretty sure getting one of my own is in the cards. Accepting that I’m someone who needs a scooter is the hardest thing I’m running into. Seeing others that have gone through this journey before me and benefitted is such a boost. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s very helpful.
    (Now to find the one I want…everyone else seems to have a red one, I like the looks of your turquoise!!)
    (Also, sorry for the novel, bored trying to let my body rest… 🙂 I think I’ll go read the rest of your blog now!)

    • Hi Amy,

      It’s lovely to hear that you have found my blogs helpful. Costochondritis must be extremely painful, I am sorry to hear you are also dealing with that and I completely understand why certain mobility aids are difficult for you to use. That’s exactly it, a scooter can be so helpful in preserving energy and allowing us to do more without causing ourselves any harm.

      Gosh, I imagine the heat in Vegas adds to things but it definitely sounds like there are benefits to living there too 🙂 I’m so pleased to hear you’ve found the scooter to be really helpful for you getting out and doing more. It’s wonderful to hear.

      It sounds like you would really benefit from one of your own. Mine is a Rascal ultra-lite 480. I had decided on the model and when I saw it came in teal, that sealed the deal for me lol!

  14. This morning I have had someone round to demo a mobility scooter and, while I know it would help me, I’m struggling to accept that I need one and to justify the cost. Then I open Pinterest and the first thing I see is a link to this post. It’s as though I’ve been sent here! I have ME and only go out if someone takes me as I live alone. I use a wheelchair at the moment and need to be pushed. I know I won’t use the scooter every week as I won’t feel up to it, but reading your post and all the previous comments has opened my eyes and my mind to getting one. I think just to have it there for times when I ask my parents to post a card or pick me up some milk and to be able to do that for myself, can only be a good thing. They are in their 70’s and can’t be running around after me. And when I stay at my sister’s I’ll be able to go with her when she walks her dog which is something I often wish I could do.
    So thank you so much to you and the other commenters for putting my thoughts into words and giving me the push I need to buy this for myself x

    • Hi Kaz,

      I can totally understand where you are coming from re: struggling with acceptance. I too felt that way. The moment I got my scooter I knew I had made the right decision and I have no regrets 🙂 I am happy to hear this post and the comments have helped you. I look forward to hearing about how you find your scooter if you do decide to buy one.

  15. Hi Donna, I just want to thank you for this article. I’ve been debating for literally years on whether to buy a wheelchair but the thought of it made me feel sick to be honest. I just wasn’t confident enough in myself to handle the looks or comments I would get and I also felt I would be accepting defeat and letting the m.e win. Well here I am today, 23 years old, and I just got my first mobility scooter. Reading your article was so relatable, the only reason I honestly went for the scooter in the end was our dog. I was struggling to walk her enough and watching her little face when I would turn around after a short walk, the sad look that she clearly wanted and needed more exercise than I could give.. that was enough guilt to nudge me into getting one. I am actually nervous but mostly excited to use it, and your article made me feel so much better about my decision too. Can I ask if you have any tips please regarding walking a dog with one of these scooters? Our dog is not so great at walking in a straight line and she is clumsy with her feet, I am a little worried about her getting hurt by the scooter. I may resort to having her on my lap until we reach a place she can be let off but I would prefer if she could walk by my side. Thank you x

    • Hi Beks,
      I just read your reply and wanted to reply too because my dogs were honestly the main reason I decided to finally get a scooter. You won’t regret it! I have four dogs and it has been wonderful to be able to walk them again. I have found that walking multiples can be challenging (depending on who I’m pairing up), but individually it is totally manageable. At first, your pup might be a little intimidated by the scooter. I would take it slow and give lots of treats initially. Also, I have found it helpful to keep and train them to stay on my left. My scooter is easier to accelerate with my right hand and I feel more confident steering with my right hand. In my neighborhood the sidewalks are terrible, so I stay on the street along the curb. I ride on the side that is against traffic, so that I always feel confident that I see the drivers and more importantly, that they see me. Also, by riding against the traffic, this means that my dog is between the scooter and the curb and I feel like they are safe. Oh and I’m in the US, so if you are in a country that drives on the other side of the road, it might be different. Any time I leave my little neighborhood, I ride on the sidewalks to be safe. I have found certain leashes and harnesses to be more helpful depending on the dog’s size and personality. For my two crazy pullers, I have them in a gentle leader and I use an extendo leash, but locked up so that I have a handle. I also got this handle/leash that is super comfortable to use. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004PGJKJW/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
      My only complaint is that it is a little short. I guess it would depend on the size of your dog. I keep poop bags in the basket. I have one dog that likes to get a little close to the scooter and sometimes gets distracted enough that he has been clipped by scooter, but not hurt. What I do is keep my left foot out in his direction and anytime he gets too close, I tap him as a reminder. Once you both hit a stride, it will be awesome.
      I take my scooter all over the place all the time! It is sooooo much fun and liberating to be able to do what I want to do all by myself. 🙂
      I have become comfortable enough that I strap on my baby in a front carrier, leash up a dog and scooter all over the place! I go to the grocery store, to local restaurants, pharmacy, the antique store, the ATM, etc…honestly, anywhere I can go that strikes my fancy. My husband even made an adjustment on the back part so I can hook up one of those bike trailer things for kids to ride in. My point is, have a blast with this new found freedom. Yes sometimes I get odd looks, but for the most part seeing me, my baby and a dog or two scootering around seems to make people smile and wave.
      Have fun,
      Kerry

    • Hi Beks, I am so pleased to hear this blog post has helped you. I can completely understand and empathise with all your thoughts and feeling relating to a mobility scooter. Getting out and walking my dog was my main motivation too. It’s definitely worth being careful as it would be all too easy to accidentally run over a paw if your dog has a tendency to dart around. I would first of all make sure your dog is comfortable around the scooter before you go anywhere as it could be a little intimidating for them. If possible, when you first go out it might be an idea to have someone else walk the dog next to the scooter, ensuring that she gets lots of treats to build a positive association and to reward good lead behaviour. This way you can all be safe and ensure the dog is totally relaxed before you walk her yourself. When it comes to walking your dog yourself, ensure that you have your scooter on the slowest speed and ensure that there is plenty of room for your dog to stay away from the scooter when walking. Reward good behaviour, start small and build up. Teaching commands like “leave” and a word to get your dog’s attention onto you (which can be done through clicker training) will be helpful, as well as ensuring basic obedience like sit etc are well trained. The thing about a scooter is, when you take your hand off the accelerator it stops quickly but doesn’t immediately stop so you need to be aware of that. If the pavements are narrow then it would probably be advisable to have your dog on your lap if she is happy with that. If she tends to pull/dart all over the place, using a harness might help. I really like the ‘perfect fit harness‘.

  16. Cennin Thomas Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you, I could totally relate to this blog. My hubby had wanted to get me mobility scooter for a while and I resisted. Felt as though I didn’t justify having one. Yet I struggled walking anymore than 40metres.
    After reading your blog I took a deep breath and decided it was the right time for me to get one.
    Oh my goodness what a difference, yesterday for the first time in 12mths I went with my hubby and took my dogs for a walk. It was a wonderful feeling. I have now name my little tiger ‘Bollie’
    It will make such a difference.

    So thank you again. Xxx

    • Hi Cennin, I can completely empathise with resisting. It sounds like you have a wonderfully supportive husband and I am so pleased to hear this blog also helped in your decision. It’s so nice to hear that you have benefitted from your scooter. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to go out, do something and have a slice of independence back. Wishing you many happy scooting adventures!

  17. Thank you for writing and sharing this! (Even if I’m late to the party! 😉 ) I’m 29 and have had my scooter for over 3 years. I concur, it is one of the best decisions I have made. I came to the conclusion on my own, simply not wanting to miss out on life with my husband and daughter. No doctor had ever mentioned getting one; In fact countless doctors have vocally looked down upon it, not recognizing the independence it has given me back nor seeing how such a view only furthers the prejudice that only some people “deserve” it.

    My scooter was blue to start with, but I customized it with a sparkly purple coat of paint and handdrawn details. I figured that I’d already be sticking out, why not do it my way?

    I do stick out and get a lot of confused/ disapproving looks – some days I can handle it more than others. My pregnant belly was a welcome addition, seeming to justify the scooter use to strangers more than an invisible disability does, but the belly presented its own challenges! I could no longer safely lift the 60lb scooter in and out of my SUV, so we purchased a hitch rack with a ramp that folded out. Now that my son is here, I’m back to lifting it in and out, but stuck stacking an uncooperative stroller on top of it. I usually ride on the scooter and carry him in a sling though.

    On that note, there should be better options for disabled people wanting to grocery shop for their family! I expertly fit items into a basket or store’s scooter shopping cart, yet it will never compare to the days when I could push a full shopping cart. Oh those were the days! 🙂 It would be nice to go back to that. Anyone who thinks we are lazy has never driven a scooter through a serious shipping trip… No one ever sees me coming and I have so much more appreciation for everyone who has to go about life at that height on a more full-time basis!

    • Hey Rachel, thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience. It’s lovely to hear how your scooter has helped you. They are a wonderful way to help us regain our independence. I feel it is a real shame that doctors often do not appreciate this. I think some can hold the view that a scooter leads us towards doing less and becoming more deconditioned etc. When, actually, it helps us to do more! Without it, I would have been stuck at home and missing out on many things.

      It’s fab that you have customised your scooter, I bet it looks amazing! And, if people are going to stare and give disapproving looks it gives them something to look at 😉 Congratulations on the birth of your son 🙂

      Yes, there does need to be better options. I haven’t done it but I can only imagine doing a full shop is a logistical nightmare.

  18. Hi Donna,
    I know your original post is quite old, but I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia June of last year,and it took me from June -sept, to make a decision to get a scooter.
    I work part time, in a small off licence, and was struggling to get to and from work as I was exhausted and in more pain . I finally made the decision to get a Mobilityscooter on Enhanced rate of PiP for the next 3 years. It’s the best desission I have made, and helps me to pace my myself more each day .
    I do get some looks on it as I am only 49, but that does not bother me at all now, I have my independence back now.

    • Hey Pam,

      Sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with fibro. It sounds like your scooter has made a really positive impact for you, which is wonderful to hear. Using a scooter is a great way to help us pace and allow us to do more 🙂

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