Written by: Beth Hudson, LBKA
When BH (Better Half) and I decided to live in our 5th wheel RV full-time, we had many discussions about what medical equipment to bring or not to bring. The largest piece was my custom wheelchair - very lightweight, but it does take up quite a bit of space. In the end, the cons outweighed the pros, even though we knew we were taking a gamble if something happened that kept me from using my prosthesis. For roughly three months this fall, I had a skin break on my fibula which would not heal. After trial and error, and with my prosthetist's help, I finally found a way to offload the pressure to let it heal; however, for over a month I was advised to stay off it as much as possible. The frustrating part is that it would scab over during the night, then just putting it on to walk down the three steps from the bedroom to the living/kitchen area would open it up. Once we figured out how to offload the pressure, it healed in three days. It would have been advantageous to have my wheelchair during that time for outside use, but we made the best of it (got caught up on a lot of reading!). Luckily it wasn’t something major.
We are now snowbirding in north central Florida, near Gainesville. So much to do and see and explore. That included the nation’s largest RV show at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Nine miles of rigs from the tiniest teardrops to million dollar motorhomes, and hundreds of vendors to boot. Because I walk with crutches, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the show if I walked - I’d be exhausted after a few hours. The website listed scooter and wheelchair rentals, and that’s how I found Scootaround.
I made a one day rental online for a scooter, and the process was extremely easy. The rental was $60, and I paid an extra $10 for insurance/theft protection. They also offered cancellation for another $10, but I declined that service. I immediately received an email with all the information (and liability boxes to check) - I was good to go. What really surprised me was the phone call I received half an hour later from the company. They called to confirm my reservation and asked if I had any questions about the rental. I asked the rep why they called me when I received confirmation online. She said that customer service was very important to Scootaround and they wanted to be sure that not only was I correct with my venue and date, but also if I had any other medical needs in order to give me the scooter that would best fit me. I was duly impressed.
We arrived at the venue, and BH declined to go to HC parking (not happy); our walk from the parking space to the entrance was approximately one tenth of a mile. Uneven surface as it was in a field, having to dodge other walkers and cars, and it was a warm day for January. I was already sweating and thirsty by the time we arrived at the entrance. Once in, Scootaround was the first booth on the left. The two reps there were very friendly and efficient. I gave them my license, got a quick lesson (first time for me), and off we went!
The scooter was in good shape and clean - the only wear and tear dealt with the arm rests, which were loose and wiggly; I had to be careful if I used them for balance when getting on and off. It had plenty of juice and its turn radius was very tight, which came in useful, especially when inside visiting the vendors. None of the RV reps minded that I drove right up to the door of an RV so I could get inside for a viewing. My only recommendation for them is to add flags - people just didn’t see me, and I had a few close encounters. One reviewer suggested that they have half-day rentals - he was a senior who stated that a full day, for him, was too much. Otherwise, the reviews were positive.
It was a great decision to rent one as I never would have made it through the day without it. As a bonus, our 12 year old dog came along, and he even got to ride on it with me at the end of the day. When we returned the scooter, the rep allowed me to ride it to our parking space (BH rode it back) - she didn’t have to do that, so again, really appreciated their customer service.
Scootaround rents mobility equipment internationally. You can rent power chairs, wheelchairs, rollators, walkers, knee walkers, in-home medical equipment (recliners, beds, etc.), oxygen, and accessories (leg rests, cushions, leg holders, etc.). It’s quite a comprehensive list. They have over 2,500 locations in North America and Europe. You can rent by the day, week, or month. And they also have a sales department if you would rather buy outright.
Most weekly rentals for a scooter average $150 and wheelchairs $60. On the higher end, Washington D.C. was the most expensive with scooters at $220 for the week. Of course, the price reduces the longer you rent.
I’m relieved to know that if I am in need of a wheelchair, I have a place to rent that is reasonably priced. If you are traveling, it may be worth considering renting a mobility device instead of dealing with having to travel with it. We’ve all heard horror stories about broken equipment from airlines mishandling it or it not arriving at all. With the state of airline travel as it is now, that is something to consider.
You can look up Scootaround at Scootaround.com. Just one more tool in the toolbox!
And remember: You never know how much strength you have until you are called upon to use it.