User guide

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Getting out and about

Even as we age, there’s plenty we can do to stay active and sociable, and avoid feeling frustrated or isolated. There are lots of ways for an older person to get out and about.

Common mobility issues

As we grow older, we gradually lose some of our strength and flexibility. When combined with aches and pains, fatigue or potential other medical conditions, older people often have reduced mobility. They may have difficulty with steps, stairs and inclines, uneven ground or loose surfaces, or walking long distances.

If so, they might benefit from the support of a mobility aid, like a walking stick, walking frame, wheelchair or even a mobility scooter. Read all our tips on what to buy – and how to make the most of these options.

Mobility scooters 

Mobility scooters are a great option for taking the effort out of walking, but it’s important to get the right one. For example, do you need to look for one with a tiller and controls that can be operated even with arthritic fingers? These are the main types to consider:

  • Class 2 scooters are for use on pavements and in shopping areas. They are smaller, lighter and often cheaper than those designed for the road.
  • Folding boot scooters are also for pavements only and can be folded or taken apart to fit into a car boot – good for days out with the family.
  • Class 3 scooters can go on any road with a speed limit up to 50mph (although you may be relieved to learn that their maximum speed is 8mph). They are more powerful and tend to be more comfortable, but are heavier.

There are various factors to consider when choosing a scooter. You’ll need a model that’s right for the types of journeys it will make. Other factors to consider include: body weight and size, storage space and budget. As a Which? member, you can read all our scooter reviews and guidance on picking the right one for you.

Getting around 

There are a wide range of transport options for older people. Many are free or subsidised.

  • Community or group transport: usually minibuses that take community groups to specific destinations (such as a social club or lunch club).
  • Dial-a-Ride: minibuses or accessible cars operated for eligible individuals in their local community.
  • Motability: a not-for-profit scheme that allows people in receipt of specified disability benefits to hire a powered wheelchair or mobility scooter.
  • Shopmobility: a wheelchair or scooter loan service that helps people with mobility problems get access to shopping and leisure activities.
  • Driving Mobility Centres: a network of centres around the country providing support and advice on driving and mobility-related concerns.
Get your badge

The Blue Badge scheme provides a national range of parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport. You can both check eligibility and apply online.

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