Low vision and mobility scooters: the experiences of individuals with low vision who use mobility scooters

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2019 Aug;14(6):574-580. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2018.1470685. Epub 2018 May 9.


Purpose: Older adults with low vision are a growing population with rehabilitation needs including support with community mobility to enable community participation. Some older adults with low vision choose to use mobility scooters to mobilize within their community, but there is limited research about the use by people with low vision. This paper describes a pilot study and asks the question: what are the experiences of persons with low vision who use mobility scooters? Methods: This study gathered the experiences of four participants with low vision, aged 51 and over, who regularly use mobility scooters. Diverse methods were used including a go-along, a semi-structured interview and a new measure of functional vision for mobility called the vision-related outcomes in orientation and mobility (VROOM). Findings: Four themes were found to describe experiences: autonomy and well-being, accessibility, community interactions and self-regulation. Discussion and implications: This study was a pilot for a larger study examining self-regulation in scooter users. However, as roles emerge for health professionals and scooters, the findings also provide evidence to inform practice, because it demonstrates the complex meaning and influences on performance involved in low vision mobility scooter use. Implications for rehabilitation Scooter use supports autonomy and well-being and community connections for individuals with both mobility and visual impairments. Low vision scooter users demonstrate self-regulation of their scooter use to manage both their visual and environmental limitations. Issues of accessibility experienced by this sample affect a wider community of footpath users, emphasizing the need for councils to address inadequate infrastructure. Rehabilitators can support their low vision clients' scooter use by acknowledging issues of accessibility and promoting self-regulation strategies to manage risks and barriers.

Keywords: Mobility scooter; community mobility; community participation; low vision; mobility impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Electric Power Supplies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Self-Help Devices*
  • Social Participation
  • Vision, Low*
  • Visually Impaired Persons / psychology*