All Posts By

Mark E. Smith

August 18, 2016

Baby Boomers revisited: The truth about Zoomers

Senior couple having a coffee in a bar. taking selfie with smart phone

 

If you are one of the baby boomers – or have a loved one who is – you are not alone, that’s for sure.

Post WWII, 77.3 million Baby boomers, as coined by the New York Post back in the day, were born between 1946 and 1964. In 2016, that places the baby boomer generation between the ages of 52 and 70. Historically, in previous generations, this meant slowing down and retiring. However, for this generation, retiring may not mean slowing down, but simply changing directions! Yes, Boomers are the new Zoomers.

As sociologists have researched, the trait that makes Baby Boomers different than previous generations is that they’ve maintained an indomitable spirit of growth. This traces back to their coming of age in the 1960s, where personal growth became a cultural norm. That same spirit remains with them today, regardless of their age.

From civil rights to physical fitness, Baby Boomers continue to push the envelope, embracing change and growth.

In 2016, when we look at the demographics of which age groups are traveling the most, adopting technology at lightning-fast rates, and are pursuing late-in-life courtships in growing numbers, Boomers and Zoomers top the charts. You might say, you’re more likely to find Boomers texting on their smart phone than having a conversation on a porch swing.

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August 10, 2016

Cruise your Community in a Personal Mobility Vehicle

Personal Mobility Vehicles on a path

Personal Mobility Vehicle? Imagine cruising around a private community. Maybe you’re headed to the golf course, swimming pool, tennis court or club house.

You’re probably meeting up with neighbors and friends. The ride there isn’t in a car. No, it’s far more practical and, yes, fun. You’re on a comfy captain’s seat. The vehicle’s suspension soaks up bumps. Lights and turn signals are at your thumbs. And, the warm breeze blows through your hair. All this may sound like a high-end golf cart. However, it’s a rapidly growing trend in senior and private communities that’s far more practical and captivating: full-size outdoor scooters, or a Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV), as they’re officially called.

To rework a phrase, these aren’t your average scooters. PMVs are lifestyle-based, designed to get you to the country club in luxury and style. PMVs are a very convenient, low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly way to travel around private communities.

For starters, PMVs are large scooters, typically sized in-between a mobility scooter and a golf cart. Although not made for indoor use, a Personal Mobility Vehicle is ready for sidewalks and bike paths, with features and performance not found on typical mobility scooters.

Starting with creature comforts, PMVs have high-end, automotive-style seating, with a cockpit to match. Roomy foot platforms allow tons of leg room, and moving up the adjustable tiller, you’ll find cup holders and interior courtesy lights. Steering is most commonly by a loop-around steering wheel, with throttle controls on its back edge, surrounded by turn-signal and light switches, as well as a horn. A LCD dashboard gives line-of-sight data, such as speed, tripometer, and battery gauge. Of course rear-view mirrors and automatic brake lights most often round-out the features.

Personal mobity vehicle looks like a motorcycle

Pride Mobility Sport Rider

As for performance, that too separates PMVs from other scooters. PMVs are designed for true community use and transportation. As such, they’re designed to go faster, further, smoother. The average Personal Mobility Vehicle  travels up to around 9 mph, with a battery range of 25 miles or more, with very sophisticated suspension and even disc brakes. As a result, you can cover a lot of ground quickly and comfortably. This makes PMVs a very convenient, low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly way to travel around private communities.

With such luxury, performance and convenience, accessories are a popular addition. Depending on model, accessories ranging from storage trunks to golf bag holders to canopies are available.

Personal mobilty vehicle for the golf course King Cobra PGV

Drive Medical King Cobra Personal Golf Vehicle

 

 

 

There are a few important notes on use. Firstly, PMVs are not street-legal so they should only be used on designated pedestrian or bike routes, and in areas of private communities where allowed. Secondly, some PMVs with turf tires are allowed on golf courses; however, always check with the individual golf course regarding their rules.

 

 

 

It might sound odd to refer to a scooter as “cool,” but when you park your PMV next to the others at the club house – shined-up, with a bit of a hot-rod look to it – there’s really is something fun and cool about that!

August 4, 2016

Accessibility and America’s National Parks: Top 5 Picks

Half dome reflection in yosemite national park is accessible

As the U.S. National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, there’s never been a better time for those who use mobility products to visit and enjoy our national parks.

Even more, now in the 26th year of the ADA, access to our national parks is more prevalent than ever. From the stunning granite-lined valley of Yosemite National Park to the poignant history of the Statue of Liberty, our national parks provide breathtaking access for all. And, importantly, don’t forget your Access Pass!

No matter if you choose one of these terrific national parks or any other of the 58 national parks, don’t forget to check in at the Visitors Center and fill out the simple form to receive a National Park Access Pass. The Access Pass allows anyone with a permanent disability to receive free admission to any of the national parks.

 

So, what are our top five picks? Well, that’s a tough one, as there’s so many stunning national parks from coast to coast. However, here are five that particularly rise above others when it comes to placing those with mobility needs in the middle of our nation’s best.

 

Yosemite National Park

Based in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite was the inspiration of naturalist John Muir, a significant figure in the founding of our national parks. Among the absolute most stunning accessible nature paths and destinations in the country is Yosemite’s Mirror Lake. In the shadow of Half Dome, Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake on Tenaya Creek, A one‐mile road leads to the lake and is easy to access due to its paved surface. At its culmination is a breathtaking mountain lake scattered with granite boulders.

 

Mammoth Cave National Park

An extraordinary national treasure based in Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park is the world’s longest known cave system at over 400 miles. Although Mammoth Cave has been off limits to mobility users for over a decade, this summer (2016) has ushered in all new accessibility, allowing a mind-blowing view of the cave for all. What’s more, Mammoth Cave features a beautiful, accessible boardwalk to the Sand Cave opening, which offers a fantastic view of the surrounding nature.Mammoth cave is an accessible national parks

 

Yellowstone National Park

Spanning 3,500 square miles between Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is best known for its geysers. For those using mobility products, there’s an extraordinary ADA 1.5-mile path leading to the Morning Glory Hot Springs. The Hot Springs are named after the Morning Glory flower, both of which feature stunning colors. It’s among nature’s rarest sights.

Yellowstone National Parks is wheelchair accessible

Yellowstone National Park

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July 29, 2016

How to choose between a 3 or 4-wheel scooter? Ask Mark!

Victory 4 wheel scooter

 How to choose between a 3 or 4-wheel scooter? Let’s ask Mark….

I’m currently shopping for a scooter and I see that many models come in either 3 or 4-wheel versions. Can you explain the difference and why I might choose one over the other? Thank you in advance. – Gerry

Gerry, your question is the most common consumer question in the scooter market. As you suggest, it is difficult to decide between 3- or 4-wheel options, especially when it’s the same model, simply available in either configuration. So, let’s look at why the two configurations are offered and the benefits of each.

Firstly, it’s important to note that both 3- and 4-wheel scooters go through the same safety testing process. Therefore, no matter which configuration you choose they are thoroughly tested from a safety standpoint. Each style, however has its strengths.

Let’s start with the benefits of a 3-wheel scooter. Three-wheel scooters feature two wheels in the rear and one in the front, like a tricycle. Because 3-wheel scooters feature a narrow front end with a single front wheel, they offer optimal maneuverability. Put simply, they turn in smaller spaces. Furthermore, because of the compact front end, 3-wheel scooters are easier to transport. They take up less space and are a little lighter than 4-wheel scooters.

The downside of a three wheel scooter is stability. If you are traveling at speed, and cut the front wheel sharply to the right or left, centrifugal force will turn you right over. Likewise, when travelling up or down a steep incline or hill, you must use real caution to keep from turning a three wheel scooter over. You have to use good scooter driving skills at all times.

Some three wheel scooters offer extended foot boards, such as the Golden Literider 3-Wheel, allowing you to stretch your legs out straight on both sides of the tiller for comfort.

Golden LiteRider Three Wheel

Golden LiteRider Three Wheel

 

4-wheel scooters offer a larger overall footprint, which can enhance outdoor performance. 4-wheel scooters feature two wheels on the rear and two on the front, similar to a car. Due to the wide front end, 4-wheel scooters offer wider foot room. Often 4-wheel scooters allow two leg positions – your legs straight down or your legs stretch forward a bit resting against the wheel-wells.. When it comes to taller users the extra foot room of a 4-wheel scooter can be beneficial, but you are resting your feet up on the front fenders as you travel. Some people find that position uncomfortable over time.

Great Outdoor Performance

Afikim C-4 Great Outdoor Performance

Buzzaround 3-Wheel Travel Scooter by Golden

Golden Buzzaround 3-Wheel Travel Scooter for great maneuverability

Once you understand the benefits of each scooter configuration, you may still be wondering how to choose which is best for you? There are three primary considerations: comfort, maneuverability, and portability. If you are seeking optimal maneuverability and transportability, a 3-wheel scooter such as the Golden Buzzaround 3-Wheel may best meet your needs. If you’re a taller individual wishing to use the scooter outdoors, and have means to transport it via a lift, a 4-wheel scooter may suit you best. Check out the outdoor performance of the new Afiscooter C-4 for great outdoor features.

 

When it comes to selecting a scooter, the primary features and performance capabilities are of course vital considerations. Understanding which scooter to choose – 3- or 4-wheel – is ultimately your decision to make. Fortunately, by using the aforementioned pros of each, you can decide which is best for your life style. Most importantly, though, no matter if 3- or 4-wheel works best for you, your mobility will be optimized. Enjoy!

 

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July 21, 2016

Long-Distance Caregiving, a new American reality

For those of us not yet at retirement age, many of us face an increasingly-common family dynamic: long distance caregiving.

Statistically, as caregivers, not only are we not alone, but long distance caregiving is becoming more common every day. Currently, 19 million Americans are over the age of 75, and by 2020, that number climbs to 23 million. Furthermore, 66% of those who reach 65 have at least one chronic condition, and 20% have 5 or more chronic conditions.

With these realities, caregiving is part of more and more of our lives. However, here’s a secondary situation facing many: how can we provide caregiving from a distance? After all, aspects like careers or economics can prevent loved ones from moving close together.

Fortunately, ingenuity and technology are making caregiving possible from across town or across the country. Let’s look at ways we can effectively care for our loved ones over distance.

long distance caregiving

Caring for loved ones long distance is a new American reality

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