If you have a wheelchair-accessible van in order to meet your own needs or the needs of a loved one, then you understand the mobility challenges you can often face. People new to accessibility vans are often not aware of all the tools available to them to make everyday life easier. With that in mind, we consider five mobility aids that can make using your wheelchair-accessible van much more convenient and productive.
1. Transfer Seats
Many people who require a wheelchair are legally allowed to drive and thus be fully independent through the use of an adapted vehicle. Among the most prevalent conversions is the transfer seat. Such seats help a person with a disability transfer from a wheelchair or mobility scooter to the driver’s seat and/or the front passenger seat or other seating. This provides an excellent alternative to driving or riding while seated in the wheelchair itself.
2. Secondary Vehicle Controls
Modern vehicles have a wide range of controls, such as a horn, wipers, a shifter and so on and so forth. These are configured with the typical person in mind. Custom interfaces are available, but these can be very expensive due to the custom nature. A mobility-friendly option that isn’t so expensive is secondary vehicle controls. Such as system generally provides a single touch-based interface the driver can access.
3. Mobility Scooter
Mobility scooters are a lot more versatile than traditional wheelchairs in many scenarios. They can allow a person to shop at a grocery or to enjoy a day at the park. Accessibility vans can be set up for the person who can use both so that he or she can switch between all three vehicles as needed.
Lifts are often used for side-door and rear-door access to wheelchair-accessibility vans. These lifts are platforms that the seated personal can wheel onto or be wheeled onto. The system can then bear the weight of the person as well as the wheelchair or scooter as it lifts it into the vehicle.
Ramps are an alternative to lifts that allow the wheelchaired person access into and out of the van. Use of ramps often requires assistance from a person other than the person seated in the wheelchair, which can make them less convenient and less of an independent option. Lifts are usually preferable, but even with a lift, a ramp is a good idea as a backup option in the case of equipment failure.
These are five mobility aids that arguably every wheelchair-accessible van should have. But note that this list is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to such aids. Furthermore, it’s possible to have aids personalized and even custom aids made in order to meet your particular needs.