Mobility aids: before you buy


I wish I’d thought about….

Over the years we’ve had conversations with members about mobility devices that they were using. There are a lot of things that many wished they had thought of before making their final choice. Whether it is a wheelchair, sticks/crutches, or electric scooters, many questions are similar. Hopefully by listing these we can help members in the future...


Some retailers are aware of Vat implication but some are not. People with HSP can buy mobility aids VAT Free. Usually you only need to fill in a simple declaration.

Take a “test drive”

Does the item suit you and your lifestyle? Things to think about include:

  • Trying before buying either from friend or in a local car park.
  • Does it match your needs for shopping, lifts, disabled toilets etc.?
  • Surface (does it matter if smooth or rough) do you go to park with grandkids?
  • Thresholds/entrances - how high a “step” do you need it to climb?
  • For shopping in smaller places how tight a turn do you need?


  • Can you open it/fold it yourself?
  • Stability - how is your sense of balance – 3 or 4 wheels vs turning circle?
  • Transfer on and off - will you need help?
  • What size and weight limits are applied to bus and trains in your area?
  • Will it fit in car or be allowed on train etc.?
  • Do you need someone to help load / unload if using car?
  • Are the hand controls OK? choice of throttle / thumb / forefinger type may be important to you.