The impact of mobility scooter on occupational participation among older adults in Singapore: an exploratory study

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2022 Sep 15:1-9. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2022.2121008. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: With an ageing population, the use of mobility scooters by community-dwelling older adults with mobility limitations has been increasingly prevalent in Singapore. Their experiences in using mobility scooters remain unclear. This study aimed to explore the impact of mobility scooters on occupational performance and engagement among elderly Singaporeans.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mobility scooter users were recruited via purposive and snowballing sampling. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in English or Mandarin via phone call or face-to-face and audio-recorded with permission. Interviews were transcribed verbatim in their original language and translated to English (when applicable) for thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Twelve eligible participants (mean age: 75 years) completed the interviews. They were predominantly female Chinese with 7 receiving training from occupational therapists (OT). Four main themes emerged from the interviews describing their experiences of using mobility scooters: factors of decision-making in getting a mobility scooter, enhanced occupational participation with the use of the mobility scooter, enablers for community participation and barriers to community participation. Despite having barriers, older adults with mobility limitations generally still had positive experiences to continue using mobility scooters to perform occupations in the community.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the benefits of mobility scooters in supporting users’ occupational performance and engagement in the community. Continual efforts are required from all stakeholders to provide an accessible environment and improve societal attitudes to further support the mobility scooter users.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONMobility scooter users can be deterred from performing their preferred occupations if they had a prior negative encounter and they mainly rely on self-developed coping strategies to overcome possible barriers in the community.Occupational therapists should identify and address the potential barriers when prescribing mobility scooters to older adult users.Occupational therapists should work collaboratively with other key stakeholders, such as external vendors and government agencies, to co-create a universal guideline to support and safeguard mobility scooter users.

PMID:36107814 | DOI:10.1080/17483107.2022.2121008

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