Whether you’re on a spending spree or picking up the essentials, shopping is a part of life. But if you have mobility problems, it can be a daunting prospect. Making your way down busy high streets, squeezing into lifts and navigating the crowds in shopping centres can be very difficult. For those with mobility issues, a stress-free shopping experience requires lots of forward planning.
Even though they come with their own set of unique and very individual challenges, mobility issues shouldn’t put you off heading out for a shopping trip. We wanted to share with you a few shopping tips and tricks to help you combat these problems.
If you don’t already have the mobility aids you need to get around easily, it’s worth investing in equipment that makes your life simpler. That way, they’ll be at the ready next time you head out shopping.
Have you considered a mobility scooter? Whatever your needs, there’s an option to suit you – from mini portable boot scooters to mid-range mobility scooters. And if you go for a road-legal mobility scooter you can even use it to get to your local shops. There’s no need to load and unload it from the back of the car.
Even if you don’t usually use your walking frame, wheelchair or mobility scooter all the time, it’s useful to at least make sure you have them to hand while you’re out shopping, just in case you find yourself in need. If you use a battery-powered mobility aid, just remember to keep it charged so you don’t run out of juice.
Once you’ve got the equipment you need, it’s time to choose where to go shopping. Taking the time to plan ahead can make your day out significantly less stressful, because you’ll know what to expect.
How about your local high street or shopping centre? Or an outdoor shopping village? Before you go, it’s well worth seeing how much you can find out online, so you know what kind of shops to expect – and whether there are enough you’re interested in to warrant a visit.
You should also find out as much as you about disabled access and facilities. For example, how easy is parking? Can you leave your car within easy reach of where you want to go? In addition, if there’s a shop, café or restaurant you’d like to visit, you could always give them a call and see how accessible they are.
If you’re really organised, you could look for a map and plan your shopping route. Of course, nothing needs to be set in stone, but if it makes you feel less apprehensive about heading out, it’s worth doing.
Will you or someone else be driving? Are you taking public transport? Can you take your mobility scooter with you?
If you’re heading out in a car, then a portable mobility scooter is a great option. They’re designed with everyday use in mind, and you can pop them in the back of the car. Alternatively, mid-range mobility scooters can come in handy for regular journeys to get you from A to B, which is perfect is public transport isn’t suitable for you.
Plan how you’ll get there as far in advance as possible, rather than leaving it until the last minute. That way you can enjoy a stress-free journey and make the most of your day out, as well as make changes should the need arise.
Have a think about which day of the week and what time you’d like to visit. For example, do you mind busy crowds, or would you prefer to steer clear of peak times? If you want to avoid the crowds, then shopping on a weekday could be more sensible than the weekend. Alternatively, you could set off a bit earlier in the morning – generally, shops are quieter at this time of day, so it’ll be easier to get around.