Pictured: *Polly stands with her mobility scooter outside her home (photo supplied)
Written by Parkinson's WA Community Member *Polly Gardiner in collaboration with AT Chat
As someone living with Parkinson’s, I’ve spent a long time resisting other assistive devices that might have made my life easier – and safer – because I didn’t want to “give in”. For example, I wanted to deal with my walking difficulties by overcoming them.
I could accept a walking stick, but going the next step to a walking frame was too far.
It seemed too cumbersome and clearly identifies you as old and disabled. I was certainly never going to be seen creeping around a shopping centre sitting on a mobility scooter.
Then something happened to change my mind. My daughter and eight year old grandson were coming for the school holidays and I took a chance and rang Rottnest to see if there was any accommodation available. One last cottage! What a stroke of luck. Then I rang to book their bikes and a cheery young voice said, “And what about you? How will you get around? Will you have a mobility scooter?” Astonished, I tentatively agreed to book one.
It was waiting for us at the end of the jetty when the boat arrived, so there was nothing to do but receive instructions from the eight year old who mastered its very simple technology in about two minutes. I climbed aboard and settled into its comfortable seat. It felt quite secure as I applied a bit of pressure to its single-driving lever.
From that very moment, it was fun – and freedom.
The next day, riding around the island together, we were complimented for being such a stylish couple. I had a fabulous time, riding the bikes to the shops, as well as just exploring every nook and cranny of Rottnest from Geordie Bay to the Basin and the settlement.
Pictured: Polly navigates the many Rottnest roads on her Scooter (supplied)
I had my walking stick on board and could park and explore a sandy path on foot, enjoy the view, join the others on the beach and then take off again. And I could carry the towels and supplies that were too heavy for his sparkling sky-blue bike on my shiny royal blue scooter. There was a bit of turtle and hare competition as he flew past me on the downhill slopes, and I steadily overtook him as he walked to the top of the hills.
Home again, it has set me off on a new quest to thoroughly research the mobility scooter market and find the perfect one for me. Perhaps I’ll even investigate the walking frame options to find something that would really suit me – one that is light but stable and can be easily folded and lifted into the car. Suddenly I’m noticing them everywhere. Yesterday I came across a savvy friend with a very cool aluminium model that was so easy to use and so simple to fold and light to pack into her car.
Whatever happens, it will be an excellent addition to my collection of multi-coloured walking sticks – one for every occasion.
If you would like to learn about what to consider when purchasing your mobility scooter or gopher, as they are sometimes called: check out the short Tech Tuesday video here or watch it below.
You can see how many scooters there are to choose from on Ask NED here which makes it good sense to check in with your peers and professionals about which product would best suit your needs. It's important to make a fully informed decision so you don't think twice about using it!
Join AT Chat's private Facebook group Chatterbox - Assistive Technology Chat to talk to your peers about what assistive technology products could help you get on with living your life.
Join the Chatterbox conversation here.
Article originally published through AT Chat and shared with permission. *Name has been changed to protect the full identity of the author.