Tag Archives: wheelchair

Side Entry Versus Rear Entry Wheelchair Vans

The question of a Rear Entry wheelchair van versus a Side Entry van often comes up in conversation when a first time buyer enters the accessible van market. There are several things to consider; first, the family or care giver needs to decide on where the wheelchair user is going to sit. If the person in the wheelchair is able to drive and will be independent there are other things to consider, but for now, let us stay with an assisted member of the family.

Door height is an issue. For that we need to know how tall the person sits in their wheelchair.

Scooter or Power chair is next. Size and weight combination will come into play as we move along in the discovery process.

Will the person transfer into a  seat or will they remain in their wheelchair while traveling?

Okay, now we get into seating. The side entry offers both mid-section and front seat options with tie-downs located throughout. In a rear entry van, the mid-section to rear of the vehicle, are the only seating options while remaining in the wheelchair.

There are five passenger seats available for family members in a side entry van versus six available seats in a rear entry. Both are in addition to whoever is in the wheelchair, which gives a total of six people in a side entry and up to seven in a rear entry.

For folks with a long wheelchair or scooter the rear entry is ideal. Over six feet of space is afforded to tie down the wheelchair and no turning to forward face is necessary.

A side entry requires up to eight feet accommodating the lowering of the ramp allowing access into your van. This may prohibit the use of the ramp while inside a garage or if someone parks to close while at the mall or a doctor’s appointment.

The rear entry does not have the blocked in problem, you are always accessing your van from the aisle.

In summation, like anything else, it is best to try before you buy. Our Mobility Center has both styles of wheelchair vans. See which style suits your lifestyle and then consider the purchase of either a new or used mobility equipped van. Always consult with your mobility product specialist for any additional questions you may have.

Holiday Travel Preparation

With the holidays only a few short weeks away, it’s time to get plans for family visits and end of year trips finalized before the busy season is in full swing. Traveling with a disability that requires mobility equipment can quickly become a stressful task if proper accommodations have not been made in advance.  Preparing ahead of time can save you some headaches when it is time to board your plane. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your upcoming vacations:

  • Be sure to inform your airline if you or someone you are traveling with uses a wheelchair, mobility equipment or will need to bring medical equipment onto the aircraft.
  • Ensure you have refilled prescriptions for any medications you may need throughout the duration of your trip.
  • If you need to rent a car, make these arrangements in advance to guarantee a handicap accessible vehicle.
  • If possible, bring any tools you might need in case you experience any issues with your wheelchair. If you have replacement parts, it might be a good idea to bring these along as well.
  • If your wheelchair must be checked for your flight, make sure to tag it as you would the rest of your luggage. Include your name and contact details, as well as those of your hotel or wherever else you may be staying.
  • Staying somewhere other than home can be a challenge so make sure your hotel or other arrangements are accessible by wheelchair (if necessary) and can otherwise accommodate you.
  • Plan to arrive at the airport as early as possible to ensure you have plenty of time to make your way through security and finalize any special accommodations you might require for your mobility equipment.
  • When booking your flights, know that passengers requiring a wheelchair are generally the first to board and last to leave the plane, meaning that connecting flights with short layovers may become difficult.

Despite having to take select special measures, those living with disabilities should not be apprehensive to fly or travel. Airlines have become more and more accommodating and understanding, making this the perfect time to book a vacation and get back in touch with faraway friends and family.

Be Prepared For Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can take place at any moment and can come in any form from floods, severe weather, earthquakes and more, yielding unfortunate outcomes without warning.  Being prepared can save lives and planning is important; know who will help you if you need assistance or if you need to evacuate.

Be Informed
Ensure you have the proper equipment to stay up-to-the-minute on breaking news and changing weather patterns. You may need a radio for this, specifically one that runs on batteries so be sure you have extras. Know when, where and what local branches of organizations like American Red Cross, have planned in your specific location, and find out how they can help. Also, ensure you can maintain contact with those outside of your home, having a phone car charger and jumper cables could be essential.

Make a Plan
For people with mobility challenges, assistance can be crucial.

If are a caregiver, or if you have assembled a “Help Team” to assist a person in need:

  • Be helpful in letting others know exactly what you need and when you need it.
  • Contact family, friends, neighbors or social service agencies if and when possible.
  • Try to have someone available who can lift and carry heavy objects such as wheelchairs or other medical equipment.
  • Give at least one other person a key to the person’s home.
  • Each team member should have the contact information for the others.
  • Name a substitute caregiver in case the original is unavailable.

Develop an evacuation strategy with your “Disaster Team,” and consider the following:

  • Where are the closest special needs emergency shelters and what are the different routes you can take to reach them?
  • What supplies must you take with you that are used every day?
  • Whom should you inform that you are evacuating?
  • How much gas do you have and how much will much will you need? Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank over 1/2 full at all times.

Make a Kit
Assemble your kit well in advance with the help of a list and be sure to include:

  • Water – Keep one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day for at least three days. Make sure you replace the water every six months.
  • Food – Keep at least a 3-day stock of non-perishable food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in a safe place. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

For those with mobility disAbilities:

  • Pair of heavy gloves to use while wheeling or making your way over glass and debris
  • Extra battery for your motorized wheelchair or scooter
  • Jumper cables or specific recharging device to be connected to an automobile’s cigarette lighter
  • Patch kit or can of “seal-in-air product” to repair flat tires
  • Spare cane or walker
  • Food, medicine, favorite toy, and other care items for your service animal
  • Plastic bags, disposable gloves, and other items for the animal’s care

Find out if you qualify for assistance and fill out a form in advance to ensure your safety should the need arise. And be aware of FEMA resources in your area, including their capabilities and the best way to reach them.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle: Seating Options

There are many options you will need to consider when purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, especially if you are a first time buyer. It’s our job to make the process easier.

There are several seating options to consider; first, you and your family or your caregiver will need to decide where you want to or are going to sit. This depends on whether you are going to drive from your wheelchair and/or if you are going to be a passenger.

Knowing if you will be transferred into a seat or if you will remain in your wheelchair while traveling is also an important factor.

Seating in a Side Entry vs. Seating in a Rear Entry

Side Entry

  • Offers both mid-section and front seat options (with tie-downs)
  • There are five passenger seats available for family members in a side entry van.
  • A total of six people can be seated in a side entry wheelchair accessible van.
  • The side entry can comfortable fit a wheelchair or power wheelchair, where as a scooter has a less roomier fit.

Rear Entry

  • Only offers the mid-section to rear of the vehicle (with tie-downs)
  • There are four passenger seats available for family members in a rear entry van.
  • Up to six people can be seated in a rear entry wheelchair accessible van.
  • The rear entry can comfortable fit a wheelchair, power wheelchair or a scooter, but
  • If you have a long wheelchair or scooter the rear entry is ideal with over six feet of space, no turning to face forward is necessary.

If you have any questions our Mobility Center can further explain and demonstrate all seating options.

Please feel free to consult us with any additional information you need regarding wheelchair vans and mobility equipment, it’s what we’re here for.

Benefits of Owning an Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Safety
Safety is a universal concern for people with disAbilities and their caregivers. Many caregivers experience chronic back and joint pain from years of wheelchair lifts. And far too often there are stories of people fearful of loading and unloading their wheelchairs. Mobility vehicles are designed with a dedication to safety. Not only do ramp systems remove the liability, wear and tear and exhaustion of a lift, but brands like VMI adhere to the safety standards and qualifications of original equipment manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, Chrysler and Dodge.

A vehicle conversion from a company like VMI must maintain and provide the same safety ratings, post-conversion, as it did when the original model was created. That means collision safety and design is held to a very high standard. So there’s simply no reason to risk your personal safety or the livelihood of your passengers in an outdated vehicle.

Independence
If the daunting process of wheelchair lifts and transports kept you from leaving home in the past or the frustration of coordinating shuttles and third party transportation limits your lifestyle, look no further.

Mobility vehicles empower opportunity and independence. Frankly, when transportation is a possibility  rather than a limitation, the world gets a whole lot larger. Independent wheelchair users with reliable mobility vehicles hold the power to call the shots on their own life. They can drive where they need to, how they want to, when they want to. A mobility vehicle isn’t just a mechanism to take you from point A to B; A mobility vehicle is an entryway to possibility.

Increased Space and Flexibility
Most modern mobility vehicles feature side-entry and front door benefits which allow an array of seating arrangements and interior flexibility. With such added space, nearly any wheelchair — even power chairs — can fit in the cabin while still leaving room for the rest of the family.

Vehicles such as VMI’s Toyota Sienna Access360 have been engineered to promote a full range of motion and maneuverability for power chairs inside the vehicle, eliminating the need to hastily rearrange and remove seats for transports. Obstruction-free doorways and head clearance also pave the way for an enjoyable transition to and from the vehicle.

Simplicity and Ease-of-Use
Whether you are a caregiver or an independent wheelchair user, mobility vehicles have practical answers.

Through the addition of manual ramp systems and automated, in-floor ramp technology, transportation doesn’t have to remain a daily hassle.  Life often throws bigger dilemmas our way. Mobility vehicles make sure transportation isn’t one of those.

The Northstar E by VMI is a great example of a vehicle that was engineered with simplicity and ease-of-use at the forefront of its design. Caregivers can easily remove the vehicle’s ramp system without physical strain or contemplation. The process is intuitive and quick. Loading and unloading a van can be easily accomplished in a matter of minutes without sacrificing time or energy for the caregiver and loved one.

Mobility vehicles can even be outfitted with aftermarket additions such as remote start and keyless entry to  further simplify the transportation situation for independent wheelchair users and caregivers.

Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that makes epic Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs.

Their vision is to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair by transforming their wheelchairs into awesomeness created by their hands and their imaginations.

Their mission is to give kids in wheelchairs an unforgettable Halloween by creating custom costumes for them at no expense to their families

Kids, with their parents’ permission can submit a 1-3 minute video telling them what they want to be for Halloween and why they should be selected for this year’s Magic Wheelchair Build. They will review the submissions and select 5 children, who will then work with designers and builders to create the ultimate wheelchair costume in time for Halloween!

Being in a wheelchair can be tough, so they want to help kids make something truly epic. To do that requires time, money and the support of people like you. But when they’re done, they will change the life of a young wheelchair rider. See some of the costumes here.or check out their Pinterest account.

For more information about Magic Wheelchair you can visit their website or their Facebook Page.

Wheelchair DanceFit: A Program of Aero, Inc.

Aero, Inc. is a not-for-profit integrated mixed abilities dance company located in Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, USA.

Aero, Inc. was founded by Maryan Amaral in 1997. This nonprofit is the first integrated dance company in Greater Boston to perform in local and national venues. They lead workshops and performances in schools, colleges, parks, private and public venues.

” Everyone who wants to dance can dance.”

For more information, contact: maryan@aeroinc.org or visit the website

Adaptive Q&A

With such a wide variety of adaptive vehicle equipment available, selecting the appropriate features or modifications can become big task. In an effort to facilitate this process, here are the responses to some of the most frequently asked mobility equipment questions.

Are ramps difficult to operate?
Most vans equipped with side-entry mobility equipment are fully automatic. The seamless loading and unloading process can be as simple as pushing a button. Vans can be converted to automatically open their doors, lower to the curb and deploy or stow a ramp without the driver or passengers needing to work with any equipment. Manual options are also available, however these are also very easy to use. Built with springs that carry most of the ramp’s weight, manual ramp options are also quick, safe and simple to use solutions.

Can I drive from my wheelchair?
In many cases, it is possible for drivers with disabilities and the need for a wheelchair to avoid transferring by properly securing their chair and themselves within the vehicle. With the use of both a wheelchair tie-down system and occupant restraints, driving from a wheelchair can be a safe and convenient option.

Can I drive from my scooter?
Operating or riding a vehicle from scooter is not recommended. In order to remain safe while traveling, passengers or drivers in scooters should always transfer into vehicle seating. Turning or swivel seats can make the transfer process easier and less demanding on those with limited mobility or access to caregiver assistance. Scooters should also be properly secured with a tie-down system to prevent movement in case of a sudden stop or turn.

Side entry vs. rear entry – which is best for me?
There are a few things to consider when deciding between a side entry and a rear entry vehicle. Passengers who are not going to be driving the vehicle typically use rear entry vehicles. Side entry vehicles work well for drivers and co-pilots getting in to the front of the vehicle, as well as passengers. Depending on the parking conditions of your regularly visited establishments, your vehicle’s entry points may need to be redefined. If you often need to parallel park or live in a region that experiences recurring inclement weather, a side-entry vehicle will prove to be a better option for your needs. These are only a few of the deciding factors when it comes to choosing between side and rear-entry.

Can someone else drive my vehicle if I install hand controls?
In most cases, both able-bodied drivers and those with disabilities can comfortably operate vehicles adapted with hand controls. Most hand controls do not interfere with the way a manufacturer intended the vehicle to be driven.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

35th Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games

If you’re looking for a summer vacation getaway full of excitement, look no further than the National Veterans Wheelchair Games held this year in Dallas, Texas. Whether you’re taking the whole family to experience these acts of courage and strength, or making a stop on your summer accessible road trip, this event supports and benefits our country’s veterans by encouraging a spirit of healthy activity and friendship.

The History
Since the Games began over 30 years ago in 1981, the event has grown from only 74 competitors to over 500 in 2014. This event is presented each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Paralyzed Veterans of America, with additional support from numerous organizations, corporate and community sponsors. Wheelchair sports had their start in the aftermath of World War II, when young disabled Veterans began playing wheelchair basketball in VA hospitals throughout the U.S. Since 1980, when the VA’s efforts brought about an enhanced awareness of the rehabilitative value of wheelchair athletics, VA therapists have used wheelchair sporting as a therapeutic tool for supporting Veterans with disabilities.

The Location
The event has moved from city to city over the years and 2015 marks the 35th annual NVWG. The event is being held in Dallas, a city with much to offer as host, including cultural districts, the best restaurants, hotels and museums for something to do while you’re not at the games. This years games are being held June 21–26, so if you’re looking to turn up the heat this summer, Dallas is the perfect place to be!

The Events
Veterans can compete in 18 different events at the games, including: 9-ball, air rifle, hand cycling, quad rugby, softball, track, table tennis, weightlifting, and many more. Athletes are classified by degree of disability and then further into divisions. Although registration for this years event ended April 15, if you are a U.S. military service veteran who uses a wheelchair due to mobility impairments, be on the lookout early next year to register!

If you aren’t a veteran, or just happened to miss registration but still want to be involved with this event you can always sponsor the games, or volunteer! More than 3,000 local volunteers are required to assist with all aspects of the games, from helping with transportation, to event set-up, water distribution, assistance with meals, and much, much more. Summer time calls for travel and excitement, and what more of a rewarding way to spend your summer days then traveling to Dallas to support our veterans.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle checklist For Passengers

Traveling position

  • Make sure you can sit comfortably and upright (without having to duck your head), and can easily see out of the windows.
  • Is there enough space above your head so you don’t hit the ceiling if the driver takes a bump too fast?
  • Will you be able to talk to the driver and any other passengers?
  • Will your carer be able to get to you if you need assistance of any kind while you’re underway?
  • Ideally, you should be positioned in front of the rear wheels or the ride can be very uncomfortable. This may not be possible in some smaller vehicles.
  • If you have uncontrolled movements, make sure you are not too close to un-padded parts of the car.

Getting in and out

  • Make sure that you, or whoever is helping you, can get you in and out and can safely and easily operate any equipment.
  • Make sure that you and your wheelchair will fit along the entry and exit route without getting stuck.
  • Some wheelchair accessible vehicle users place stickers on the ramp or somewhere else on the vehicle to help guide them into the right position when they are getting in.

Space

  • Think about who will be traveling with you.
  • Often, some of the rear passenger seats need to be removed to make enough space to get the wheelchair in – sometimes they’re replaced with folding or smaller seats.
  • Think about where you’ll stow, and how you’ll secure, any luggage or equipment you’ll be carrying. You can’t use the space behind the wheelchair travelling position – it has to be clear for you to get in and out.
  • Some wheelchair accessible vehicle users carry their extra luggage in roof boxes or trailers. Note that most wheelchair accessible vehicles cannot be used to pull a trailer because of the way the rear of the vehicle has been modified.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Spring has sprung! Is your garden ready?

Do you have limited mobility and enjoy gardening? Or is gardening something you’ve always wanted to try because you love spending time outdoors? Here are some useful tips to help you adapt your garden and/or get around obstacles you may have:

  • Depending on your disability, it might be easier to focus more on raised beds or container growing. Make sure any ground level areas are low maintenance to keep the digging and weeding needed to a minimum.
  • If you use a wheelchair or walking aid, paths in the garden/greenhouse need to be wide enough and with ample turning space.
  • Look for lightweight, ergonomic tools that are designed to be easier to grip. Newer types of prosthetic grips with specific uses have even been developed for amputees. Spring-released tools can help compensate for weak hands. Cordless power tools can also be a big help.
  • Watering is crucial to any successful garden but some watering cans can be awkward to carry, so choose a design you can manage easily. A lightweight plastic watering can with flat sides should be easier to carry and tip than a round can.
  • If you prefer to use a hose, a hose reel should be easier to manage than a standard hose. There are also lightweight expanding, or ‘curly’, hoses which are easier and lighter to pull into position, and they spring back into place.
  • Gardening is great exercise and it’s always satisfying to see the beautiful results of all your hard work. The key is to adapt and learn, but most importantly to get outside and enjoy yourself.

BraunAbility MXV™: Wheelchair Accessible SUV

BraunAbility MXV™

The BraunAbility MXV™ features a never-before-seen door operation, an innovative in-floor ramp and removable seating. This innovative wheelchair accessible SUV represents a brand new era in mobility and we want you to be a part of it. Availability of this vehicle begins Summer 2015.

 

BraunAbility MXV™ Features

  • Fold flat 3rd row seats for extra cargo space
  • Integrated Ford keyfob
  • Nerf bar
  • Sliding shifter for increased space
  • In-floor and lighted ramp
  • Innovative seat design allowing more interior space
  • Removable driver and passenger seats

Sporty Looks and Feel

  • EPA Estimated 17city / 24 hwy / 20 combined
  • 6-Speed Automatic
  • Wheelbase 112.6″
  • Maximum Towing Capacity (estimated) – 5000 lbs.
  • Power Glide Door Integrated w/Factory Key Fob
  • 28″ In-Floor Ramp Width
  • 54 1/4″ Door Entry Height
  • LED Ramp Lighting System
  • Cantilever Seat Bases For Easy Removal

Interior View
The interior of the MXV allows for both front seats to be removed, and the middle seating is removed for wheelchair access. The 3rd row seats remain and allow for 4 passengers in the vehicle.

Options For Driving From A Wheelchair

There are two options for a person who uses a wheelchair to drive an accessible vehicle. They can drive from their wheelchair and or transfer to the driver’s seat.

Drive from your wheelchair
Driving controls can be adapted to operate from your wheelchair. Usually this means some form of hand controls, though other solutions are possible. There will also be an automatic docking system to secure your wheelchair. All of this will be designed around you and your wheelchair as part of your assessment from an experienced mobility installer.

Safety

  • Because you have the opportunity to travel by yourself, you need to be sure you are able to get out in an emergency.
  • Typically wheelchair accessible vehicle have fail-safe devices for the doors, ramps/lifts and docking systems. These include battery backups and manual over-rides.

Other drivers

  • In many wheelchair accessible vehicles, the front passenger seat can be switched to the drivers side, and there is a docking system on both sides so you can travel as a passenger.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

Transfer to the Driver’s Seat
Some wheelchair users prefer to transfer to a driving seat because they find it more comfortable or easier to drive. Sometimes it’s necessary because your wheelchair may not be suitable for driving. Using the standard car seat also means that you don’t need to fit a specialist seat belt.

By contrast, transferring into the driver seat may not be suitable if you have a specialist seating system in your wheelchair and may be difficult if you have limited mobility.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be adapted to allow you to enter with your wheelchair or scooter (by ramp or lift), secure the wheelchair or scooter in the vehicle, and then transfer to the driving seat. You can replace the standard car seat with one that swivels and slides so that you can transfer into it more easily.

Safety

  • You will need a docking system for securing the wheelchair – you need to be able to do this by yourself.
  • Because you may be traveling by yourself, you need to be sure you will be able to get out in an emergency.

Transferring

  • Transferring between the wheelchair and the seat does take some effort – make sure you can do it even on a bad day.
  • Make sure there is enough room in the vehicle to let you transfer comfortably and that there are handholds and supports where you need them. You may need to fit extra hand rails or other supports.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

How To Choose A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

When you’re choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you need to think not only about all the same things you do when you’re choosing a standard car, but also other, more specific, things too. Just as when you’re choosing any other car, you may need to compromise and decide which features are most important to you.

Things To Consider

Size

  • Will it fit on your driveway or in your garage? Don’t forget you need to think about the space required for the ramp/lift to be deployed
  • Will it be easy to drive in traffic and on the roads you normally drive on?

Money

  • What’s the price?
  • If you’re buying it yourself, what’s the resale value likely to be?
  • What will it cost you to insure?
  • What’s the fuel consumption like?

Comfort and convenience

  • Can you get in and out easily?
  • Can you use the controls?
  • Is it quiet and smooth when you’re driving?
  • Is there good visibility for everyone in the vehicle?

Space

  • Is there room for all the people and luggage you want to carry?
  • What about times when you might want to carry a lot of luggage or equipment (ex. holidays)?

Features

  • Does it have everything you need?
  • What about air conditioning, automatic transmission, electric windows, remote start, heated seats, etc?

Performance

  • Does it give you reasonable speed and acceleration?
  • What about braking, ride and handling?

Specific considerations

Getting in and out

  • Will you choose a ramp or a lift?
  • Will you have someone to assist you?
  • Can you get in and out without hitting your head or having to duck?

Traveling position

  • Where will your wheelchair sit?
  • Will you be able to see out of the windows?
  • Will you be able to talk to other people easily?

Safety

  • How will you secure yourself and your wheelchair?
  • How will you secure any equipment you use to get in and out?
  • How will you secure anything else (unattended wheelchair, luggage, equipment, etc)?

Reliability

  • Can you rely on the equipment you use to get in and out?
  • What happens if it breaks down?
  • Are there manual over-rides for any powered equipment?
  • Do you have a suitable dealer nearby for servicing?

Build quality

  • Different conversions have been built to different standards, so some will be more comfortable and less noisy inside than others.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Wheelchair accessibility helps people who can no longer get around without support. You can optimize your home and your daily life to make things easier for your loved one if they are not as mobile as they use to be.

Wheelchair Ramps
Ramps make it much easier for people in wheelchairs to exit and enter their homes. The material for the ramps should be standard wood, but you can use protective coatings on the ramp to make sure that the weather doesn’t weaken it. You must check to see if the person using the wheelchair can easily push themselves up the ramp and down the ramp without the wheels getting snagged on anything.

Don’t space the wooden planks too far apart. The gaps in the wood can cause a bumpy ride at the least and a health hazard if you’re not careful. You can even buy portable ramps that you can take with you on road trips. The person in the wheelchair may also need help getting into vehicles and other establishments. Portable ramps can certainly come in handy at the most inconvenient times.

Wider Doors Inside
You must ensure that doors have easy paths of travel. Don’t place boxes or other items close to doors when a person using a wheelchair will have to navigate through the opening. The doors in the home may need to be wider if they are less than 32 inches wide. The wheelchair user must have plenty of space to get through.

Wider doors can also make a people feel more comfortable inside the home. The bare minimum amount of space can make them feel cramped and closed in. They should at least be given some freedom of movement even though they are using a wheelchair.

Wider Hallways
Wider hallways are also essential to the comfort and well-being of someone who gets around in a wheelchair. The wheelchair must be able to move freely through the halls with plenty of space to spare. Make sure there is at least 36 inches of space between the walls in the hallways.

You might also need wider hallways if the wheelchair will need to turn corners to get to different rooms. It can be difficult for a wheelchair to navigate through tight corridors without rounded corners. Leaving plenty of space will ensure a happier and healthier experience.

Bathroom Changes
It’s time to get rid of that bathtub in your bathroom. Showers are much more accessible for wheelchairs than bathtubs. You can also install hand-held shower heads and seats so that people using wheelchairs can have a better chance at bathing themselves. The person will be much more comfortable in the shower since they can just open the door and wheel their way in.

Buckle Up!

No matter how the wheelchair is secured to the vehicle, a properly used and positioned crashworthy seatbelt, consisting of pelvic and upper-torso belts, is absolutely essential. Seatbelts are by far the most effective occupant restraint system for protecting occupants in crashes and reduce the risk of total injuries by more that 50%. They prevent occupants’ ejection from and minimize injurious contact within the vehicle.

To be most effective, the lap belt must be placed low on the pelvis near the top of the thighs, and the shoulder belt should cross the middle of one shoulder and the breastbone and connect to the lap belt near the occupant’s hip.

While wheelchair securement and occupant restraints are important, a growing body of evidence suggests a large proportion of serious injuries to wheelchair-seated travelers is due to a lack of proper seat belt use and/or improper positioning of the seatbelt. In many cases, wheelchair features such as armrests and wheels can interfere with proper seatbelt routing and placement, and care must be taken to ensure that seatbelts are properly used and positioned. This may require placing the lap belt between the back of the armrest and the seatback post, or threading the lap belt’s end through openings below the armrest before attaching the belt to the vehicle’s anchor points. It is also important to place the seatbelt buckle in direct contact with the occupant and not where it may contact rigid wheelchair components during a crash. Never route seat belts outside the large wheels or over armrests.

Even if you are only driving a short distance under ideal conditions, fasten your seat belt.
You should never drive until everyone has a seat belt properly fastened.

Wheelchair Securement Systems

Securing a person and their wheelchair inside a wheelchair accessible vehicle isn’t much fun, especially if you do it several times a day, but it can be a lifesaver in the event of an accident or sudden stop. “Wheelchair tie-downs,” “wheelchair docking systems” and “wheelchair tie-down straps” are systems used to secure a wheelchair when in motion.

Although most securement systems have a universal design to accommodate almost all wheelchairs, it is important to understand the different kinds.

The three main types of wheelchair tie-downs are non-retractable tie-downs, retractable tie-downs and electric/automatic docking systems.

  • The non-retractable strap is a 4-point system. It is the most basic and the least expensive. You must get the wheelchair into the right position to tighten and release the straps. Since the straps do not retract into a housing, they can get in the way.
  • The simple-to-use retractable tie-down offers a tie-down on four points of the wheelchair and four straps. “Retractable” means that the strap retracts into a housing where it can be tightened and/or released.
  • Automatic docking systems are more popular and allow the wheelchair to be secured just by pushing it into a pre-determined position. The wheelchair slides into position and locks automatically. For wheelchair users who are driving, these systems are required for them to be able to secure their wheelchair without assistance.

A variety of add-ons and options are available, including:

  • Audible and visual indicators which advise when the passenger is secure
  • Automatic, self-locking allows one-handed hook-up of wheelchairs
  • Self-tensioning – retractors automatically take up the slack

Some companies that make securement systems include EZ Lock, Q’Straint and Sure-Lok. For more companies call or visit your local mobility equipment dealer.

How To Have A Comfortable & Safe Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle In Winter

We’re sure there’s no need to remind you, given the freezing temperatures outside, but winter is in full effect. During this season, keeping warm is an absolute top priority to both stay comfortable and safe. Whereas summer makes driving feel like a blast, winter might mean your accessible vehicle is taking on some damage you might not even know about.

Frozen seats, iced over windows and cold air are only some of the effects you’ll be experiencing unless you make sure to follow these helpful tips. With proper preparation, your wheelchair van doesn’t have feel like a refrigerator.

How to stay safe in your wheelchair accessible vehicle:

  • Always keep spare hats, gloves, blankets and extra layers in your wheelchair accessible vehicle. Unfortunately, cars break and, if it happens to you, having these extra essentials will make your wait for help bearable or even life-saving.
  • Make sure to keep at least half a tank of gas at all times. This helps weigh down your car in icy conditions and also prevents running out of fuel while lost or stuck in the snow.
  • Check your antifreeze levels weekly or bi-weekly for any potential leaks. You would much rather find one in your garage than learn about it on the road when your engine stops.
  • Switch your windshield wiper fluid to cold weather formula ASAP. Summer formula is great in the heat, but it’ll freeze during winter and either clog the pipes or ice over your windshield when sprayed.
  • Especially for those in a wheelchair, an extra-long/telescopic ice scraper will do wonders in creating maximum visibility. Don’t forget to clean the roof as well, which will prevent a pile of snow from hitting the car behind you.
  • Store an emergency cell phone battery in the glove box for when you’re potentially lost or stranded. Just make sure to keep the battery charged!

How to stay warm:

  • There’s no reason not to enjoy heated seats even if your accessible vehicle wasn’t installed with them. Pick up aftermarket seat warmers to provide both heat and additional support for your back and hips.
  • Stop by your local hardware store to grab a can of silicone spay. A quick spray along the window and door cracks will help prevent moisture buildup, which means your doors won’t freeze shut overnight.
  • Use steering wheel covers to help insulate your hands and also provide extra grip for slippery conditions.
  • Switch your heat settings over to recirculate the interior air. This reheats the already hot air instead of pulling in cold air from the outside. During the summer, always keep air coming in from the outside to cool the engine. But during the winter, the air inside does the job just fine.
  • Starting at around $100, you can install an aftermarket remote car starter. Now you can start and pre-heat your acessible vehicle from the comfort of your living room, just remember to set your dials accordingly each time you leave your car.
  • And of course, sip on some delicious coffee or tea from an insulated container.

Applying these ideas will help keep you comfy and safe during the harsh winter months. Always make sure to drive safe; and smile, because spring is just around the corner.

Driving In A Wheelchair

With the right equipment driving can be a reality for many wheelchair users. Drivers have the option to transfer into the driver’s seat or drive from their wheelchair, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Your mobility dealer can guide you through the range of options for your best driving experience.

  • The driver’s seat can easily be removed so you can drive from your wheelchair or transfer into the original seat.
  • Your mobility dealer can introduce you to the type of vehicle and the adaptive equipment that will make you comfortable behind the wheel.
  • You can drive from your wheelchair in any side-entry converted vehicle.
  • Rear-entry vehicles do not allow driving from a wheelchair.

The Pros and Cons of Private Transportation

The Pros of Private Transportation
Having your own accessible vehicle can offer you the ease of being able to travel at any time to any place. It can also give you peace of mind that if there should ever be an emergency where you need to reach the hospital or simply return home, you would be able to do so immediately. Your own vehicle could also accommodate the exact needs of your family. If you need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, this can be altered to perfectly fit the size of the individual wheelchair.

The Cons of Private Transportation
The downside to your own transport is of course the cost and maintenance of a vehicle. However, there are many providers of good quality second hand/used vehicles which can save on costs. Wheelchair permit holders will further benefit from being able to park their vehicle for in a more convenient location. If you or your child has limited mobility then this can be a real plus point.

The Pros and Cons of Public Transportation

The Pros of Public Transportation
Public transport is becoming increasingly accessible for passengers with disabilities and many buses and trains are now equipped with wheelchair access. There has also been an increase in public transport routes, which for many people may open up new opportunities to use public transport.

Many passengers with disabilities are entitled to public transport subsidies and fare reductions. This can make public transport an excellent option for those who are traveling on a budget or do not have access to their own vehicle.

Bus and train rides can also be very enjoyable experiences for many special needs children who are fascinated by watching the world zoom by outside of the window.

The Cons of Public Transportation
Public transport can mean long waiting times and unexpected delays. It can often also become crowded and noisy, which can make life difficult for children and adults with special needs. For those who require a wheelchair, space can also be a challenge. Whilst public transport can be a great solution for those who happen to be on the right bus route or train line, unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.

How To Choose An Accessible Vehicle For A Child

Wheelchair vans are often needed by families who have children with disAbilities. Vehicles with special features are available and/or can be converted to accommodate them. The most important step is to start with an appointment with a mobility specialist.

Here are a few facts needed to help determine which accessible option best fits the needs of your child and your family.

The Child’s Size
A mobility consultant should be incredibly thorough in compiling the details such as wheelchair width and height, your child’s height while seated in the wheelchair, and other essential information, which should help identify the perfect van for your family.

Your child’s age and size are factors, too. If your child is young/small the vehicle that they easily fit into now could possibly be out grown. It is important to not only think of their needs now, but also to keep in mind that their needs may change in the future.

The Family’s Size
Consider the size of your family. A big family (5-7 children) might need the extra room provided by a full-size van. For smaller families, an adapted minivan should work nicely, and both vehicle styles can be equipped for wheelchair accessibility. Keep in mind that even an only child will have friends who will join you for an occasional outing.

The Child’s Condition
Along with wheelchair size, your child’s condition has tremendous bearing on vehicle selection. When a child with limited mobility travels with a ventilator or feeding tube, the vehicle must accommodate it. In such situations, rear entry access is often the better option.

Side entry vans require the wheelchair user to maneuver into position; an operating ventilator or feeding tube on an independent portable stand can easily make positioning awkward. Rear entry access eliminates the need to maneuver–the wheelchair and ancillary equipment roll directly into position from the back of the van.

Seating
If you or a caretaker needs to assist your child, it would be helpful to have a seat right next to the wheelchair, as the front passenger seat can make interaction awkward.

Now is a good time to talk about the front-passenger seat, which can be adapted for portability, so you can remove it completely. With a wheelchair docking system installed, the coveted front-passenger position is wheelchair-ready.

That said, size definitely matters here. The laws in some states restrict the size of a child riding in that position, with a typical recommendation of 50 lbs.+ and the ability to tolerate the force of a deployed airbag. A child with a frail or sensitive physical condition should be seated in the middle of the vehicle for safety. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s seat-belt laws for wheelchair passengers.

Passengers
When there are several passengers in the van, middle seating in the vehicle would put your child at the center of attention and always part of the fun. The side entry accessible van has an array of configuration possibilities, including jump seats and the potential for passenger seating in front, alongside, and behind the wheelchair user in any accessible van.

Focus on the Future
When you find the accessible vehicle that fits the needs of you, your child and family now but are concerned about the changes that may come over time, discuss them with your mobility consultant. Future you has a few options. Keep in mind that additional modifications can be made to your vehicle to better fit you and your family. Another option future you will have is to trade in your vehicle for a newer one that will fit your needs better.

Full Sized Accessible Wheelchair Vans

Ask people with disAbilities—when purchasing a handicap or accessible van—size matters. The full-sized van is a good option for those with a large family, those who travel often, those with additional equipment and accessories, those who need to tow large loads, or big or tall passengers or drivers.

Most minivans do not have roof modifications so you don’t have as much interior space.  Roomy full-size vans gain space by raising the roof, lowering the floor or both, and also have the advantage of more power and load carrying capacity.

Full-sized van:

  • Its weight-carrying capacity is significantly more than a minivan’s. It can hold the weight of a power wheelchair and even accommodate two individuals in wheelchairs.
  • It offers a lowered floor for the center, passenger or driver position; raised roof, raised doors; lifts and adaptive driving aids.
  • A raised roof makes it easy for someone to enter the van seated in a wheelchair or for a caretaker to tend to them or walk in and out of the entrance.
  • Doors are raised in conjunction with a roof to enable a person in a wheelchair to enter without having to bend over or have a caretaker tilt the wheelchair back.
  • Larger wheelchairs or motorized wheelchairs require floor-lowering or roof-raising modifications that a full-size van allows.

Invisible DisAbilities

Invisible DisAbilities

In general, the term disAbility is often used to describe an ongoing physical challenge. This could be a bump in life that can be well managed or a mountain that creates serious changes and loss. Either way, this term should not be used to describe a person as weaker or lesser than anyone else. Every person has a purpose, special uniqueness and value, no matter what hurdles they may face.

In addition, just because a person has a disAbility, does not mean they are disAbled. Many living with these challenges are still fully active in their work, families, sports or hobbies. Some with disAbilities are able to work full or part time, but struggle to get through their day, with little or no energy for other things. Others are unable to maintain gainful or substantial employment due to their disAbility, have trouble with daily living activities and/or need assistance with their care.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) an individual with a disAbility is a person who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment (Disability Discrimination).

Furthermore, “A person is considered to have a disability if he or she has difficulty performing certain functions (seeing, hearing, talking, walking, climbing stairs and lifting and carrying), or has difficulty performing activities of daily living, or has difficulty with certain social roles (doing school work for children, working at a job and around the house for adults)” (Disabilities Affect One-Fifth of All Americans).

Often people think the term, disAbility, only refers to people using a wheelchair or walker. On the contrary,  the 1994-1995 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) found that 26 million Americans (almost 1 in 10) were considered to have a severe disAbility, while only 1.8 million used a wheelchair and 5.2 million used a cane, crutches or walker (Americans with Disabilities 94-95). In other words, 74% of Americans who live with a severe disAbility do not use such devices. Therefore, a disAbility cannot be determined solely on whether or not a person uses assistive equipment.

The term invisible disAbilities refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments.  These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person.

Also, someone who has a visible impairment or uses an assistive device such as a wheelchair, walker or cane can also have invisible disAbilities. For example, whether or not a person utilizes an assistive device, if they are debilitated by such symptoms as described above, they live with invisible disAbilities.

Unfortunately, people often judge others by what they see and often conclude a person can or cannot do something by the way they look. This can be equally frustrating for those who may appear unable, but are perfectly capable, as well as those who appear able, but are not.

The bottom line is that everyone with a disAbility is different, with varying challenges and needs, as well as abilities and attributes.  Thus, we all should learn to listen with our ears, instead of judging with our eyes.

Winter Weather Tips for People with DisAbilities: Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold

From commuting to work in your wheelchair accessible vehicle to visiting friends and family following the busy holiday season, here are some winter safety tips for people living with disAbilities.

Function Over Fashion
Dress in layers. Air gets trapped between the layers and acts as insulation. Wearing multiple layers of clothing also gives you the ability to remove layers when you perspire or add them when you get chilled.

Try to avoid wearing cotton clothing, as it will stay wet once it gets wet. Consider moisture wicking, polypropylene and other lightweight, man-made fabrics.

Wear warm gloves. Gripper driving gloves not only keep your hands warm but can help prevent slipping when sleet or ice stick to wheelchairs and other surfaces. Carry an extra pair of gloves with you, in case one pair gets wet.

Protect Your Face
Use sunscreen. People don’t think about it but when the sun reflects off of snow, severe sunburns can occur.

Another good idea is to use Vaseline on exposed areas of your face. It helps prevent your face from getting dry or chapped by acting as a moisture insulator.

Getting Around
Using a wheelchair in snow can be very strenuous, especially if you’re not accustomed to it. Always be careful when maneuvering through the snow, as the extra exertion could have negative effects on your body. If possible, have somebody with you to help.

Pneumatic tires or those made from soft rubber can give wheelchairs better traction on snow and ice. An alternative is to use mountain bike tires that have knobby treads.

Always take your time on slippery surfaces so you don’t go into a slide and lose control. Be especially mindful while driving a mobility vehicle and keep winter driving tips for maneuvering over slush, ice and snow in mind.

Batteries can lose 60% of their charge when temps get cold, so keep them warm with covers.

Make sure you take proper care of your handicap accessible vehicle by following the appropriate winter car-care suggestions.

Don’t Forget Your Pets
Dogs can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite, too. If you’re accompanied by a service animal or taking a pet outside, consider a dog coat and boots for their feet. It’s also a good idea to keep a blanket in your vehicle for your pet.

Be Prepared For Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can take place at any moment and can come in any form from floods, severe weather, earthquakes and more, yielding unfortunate outcomes without warning.  Being prepared can save lives and planning is important; know who will help you if you need assistance or if you need to evacuate.

Be Informed
Ensure you have the proper equipment to stay up-to-the-minute on breaking news and changing weather patterns. You may need a radio for this, specifically one that runs on batteries so be sure you have extras. Know when, where and what local branches of organizations like American Red Cross, have planned in your specific location, and find out how they can help. Also, ensure you can maintain contact with those outside of your home, having a phone car charger and jumper cables could be essential.

Make a Plan
For people with mobility challenges, assistance can be crucial.

If are a caregiver, or if you have assembled a “Help Team” to assist a person in need:

  • Be helpful in letting others know exactly what you need and when you need it.
  • Contact family, friends, neighbors or social service agencies if and when possible.
  • Try to have someone available who can lift and carry heavy objects such as wheelchairs or other medical equipment.
  • Give at least one other person a key to the person’s home.
  • Each team member should have the contact information for the others.
  • Name a substitute caregiver in case the original is unavailable.

Develop an evacuation strategy with your “Disaster Team,” and consider the following:

  • Where are the closest special needs emergency shelters and what are the different routes you can take to reach them?
  • What supplies must you take with you that are used every day?
  • Whom should you inform that you are evacuating?
  • How much gas do you have and how much will much will you need? Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank over 1/2 full at all times.

Make a Kit
Assemble your kit well in advance with the help of a list and be sure to include:

  • Water – Keep one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day for at least three days. Make sure you replace the water every six months.
  • Food – Keep at least a 3-day stock of non-perishable food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in a safe place. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

For those with mobility disAbilities:

  • Pair of heavy gloves to use while wheeling or making your way over glass and debris
  • Extra battery for your motorized wheelchair or scooter
  • Jumper cables or specific recharging device to be connected to an automobile’s cigarette lighter
  • Patch kit or can of “seal-in-air product” to repair flat tires
  • Spare cane or walker
  • Food, medicine, favorite toy, and other care items for your service animal
  • Plastic bags, disposable gloves, and other items for the animal’s care

Find out if you qualify for assistance and fill out a form in advance to ensure your safety should the need arise. And be aware of FEMA resources in your area, including their capabilities and the best way to reach them.

Simple Products That Help Transport Those with Partial Disabilities

Some people need a little help getting in and out of their vehicles. And people with partial disAbilities may have difficulty when transferring from the wheelchair to the vehicle seat but don’t need a ramp or lift. If you need basic support or equipment, a wide variety of products can be installed in your current vehicle.

If you can stand with or without assistance and turn and walk a few steps, items like grab bars, running boards, special seats and other equipment can transform your standard car, van, truck or SUV to your liking.

Grab bars and running boards can be put wherever you need a little help. They are inexpensive and can be added to most vehicles.

Assistive seating: A seat swivels out, you sit down, then it swivels back into the vehicle. Easy and convenient. Some even lift you into the vehicle and lower you back to the ground or wheelchair. Basic seats can be installed in large sedans and SUVS; others in minivans.

Wheelchair and scooter lifts lift the wheelchair and stow it in the trunk of a large sedan, back of a minivan or SUV, or back of a pick-up truck.

Wheelchair Tie Downs Systems

When deciding what type of seating you need for driving, it’s important to know all of your options before choosing. Accessible vehicles usually can accommodate two types of seating options: wheelchair tie downs, where the driver stays in their wheelchair while in the vehicle; and transfer seat bases, which are installed to allow easy transferring from the wheelchair to the front seat. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the driver’s needs.

Wheelchair Tie Downs
For people who have trouble transfering, Wheelchair Tie-Downs and Occupant Restraints Systems are used. The most common type of Wheelchair Tie-Down is the manual four-point system, consisting of four straps that attach to the wheelchair and the van floor. These tie-downs are very effective and can secure a wide range of wheelchair types, but they require that another person to attach and tighten the straps.

Wheelchair frames should include four easily accessible brackets for attaching the tie-down straps. If the wheelchair does not have designated strapping points, four structural points on the wheelchair base or seat frame must be identified and used to secure the wheelchair. When using this system, it is very important to ensure the tie-downs are not connected to any movable part of a wheelchair.

There are also electric Wheelchair Tie-Down systems available. The electric restraint system contains an anchored device mounted on the floor of the vehicle and its connecting part mounted to the bottom of the wheelchair. The wheelchair occupant guides the two pieces together, and when they are properly locked, an audible click is heard. Some electric models also contain an alarm system that will have a buzzer or light to indicate the system is not properly locked in place. These systems require the addition of adaptive hardware to the wheelchair for engaging with the docking device mounted to the vehicle floor. No matter the system used to secure a wheelchair and its occupant for travel in vehicle, the wheelchair occupant must always wear a vehicle seat belt and/or shoulder harness to properly secure the wheelchair occupant to the wheelchair, which is in turn securely mounted to the vehicle floor. Most electric restraint systems can be used by the driver alone and only requires one hand to operate.

Securement and restraint systems need to be properly sized and fitted for your type of wheelchair and vehicle.

Increase Your Awareness On DisAbilities

Anyone, at any time, could acquire a disAbility. We see, read and hear about it almost every day. So, we must educate ourselves and learn what those with disAbilities need us to understand:

  • DisAbilities affect many lives and most people do their best to enjoy their lives. No need to feel sorry.
  • Don’t refer to the person as a disAbled person or handicapped, a better term to use is person with a disAbility.
  • Just seeing the disAbility is wrong. They are people with different abilities.
    · The person will always be who they are. What they like, feel, care about and know is not defined by the their challenges.
    · We each have different frames of mind. Interact with the person, not the disAbility.
  • Parking spaces are valuable. Using an accessible space when you don’t need it is highly frowned upon.
  • Don’t push or touch a wheelchair unless you ask first. Some people may take offense of you trying to help, others may be grateful.
  • Always respect personal space.
  • Don’t ask a person in a wheelchair to hold things for you.
  • When speaking at length with someone in a wheelchair, if available grab a seat or kneel down so you are on the same level and can hear you better.
  • Always talking about the disAbility or referring to it is annoying and uncomfortable.
    · DisAbilities should not always be the topic of discussion.
    · You don’t have to be scared, or feel you have to know the “right” thing to say. Being honest and real is enough.
  • Although some may be physically constrained, that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to contribute, or ways in which they can be involved.
    · Being involved and a part of everyday, regular life is important.
    · Just because a person looks or appears like they don’t understand, doesn’t mean they don’t.
  • Think before you speak and act.

 Simply understanding and seeking further knowledge about things you are not sure of is key. People with disAbilities want to  and should be treated as equals. This is why broadening everyone’s knowledge on disabilities is important. NMEDA’s awareness campaign, National Mobility Awareness Month (in May), helps show folks that seniors and people with disAbilities can live active, mobile lifestyles – a need we understand. We hope to educate people on different disAbilities and, in turn, hope that more people will become aware and spread the knowledge.

Financing A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

One of the top reasons people with disAbilities don’t own adequate transportation is because they cannot afford it. The good news is there are a variety of options to consider when you’re looking for financing to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Don’t hesitate to do your homework and pursue all the possibilities that might be available out there. In addition to the traditional financing sources available from a vehicle dealership you may also want to consider:

Third Party Sources
There are numerous nonprofit groups and funding programs that can provide funding for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. But you will need to do your research to find out who can help. For example, the Muscular Dystrophy Family Foundation might be able to help if you have Muscular Dystrophy or United Cerebral Palsy may be able to assist with resources if you have Cerebral Palsy. Other philanthropic groups like the Masons, the Jaycees, and Easter Seals may provide assistance, as well.

The PASS Program
If you are on Social Security Income (SSI), you may want to take a look at the PASS Program. PASS stands for Plan to Achieve Self Success and is a program that provides the resources to help you reach a predetermined goal. For example, if you said you needed a wheelchair accessible vehicle to get to work or to attend school, the money for the vehicle would be provided each month to cover the payments.

Fundraisers
They may not be for everyone, but they can be effective and many people have successfully raised the money to pay for a wheelchair accessible vehicle with a fundraiser. Fundraising events can be held by family, friends, schools, churches, just about anyone who can rally a group of people together to work and contribute towards your cause.

Vocational Rehabilitation
Assistance will vary depending on where you live but the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services in your state may be able to help pay for the modifications to your vehicle. Many of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may also offer financial assistance.

Benefits Of Owning A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

With adaptive technologies emerging each year, mobility vehicles have become more powerful than ever before. These handicap solutions have changed the lives of countless persons with disAbilities and helped alleviate some of the everyday challenges of just as many caregivers. If you’ve been considering the addition of a wheelchair accessible vehicle to your family, here are three ways in which owning a handicap van or car can empower you and transform your entire life.

Safety
Whether you’re a person with a disAbility, a dedicated caregiver or an able-bodied family member, safety is a universal concern and one of the main benefits of owning a vehicle designed for adaptive use. Besides power wheelchair lifts and transfer seating options, these vehicles are built to be used by persons with limited mobility, meaning they have been modified to be a secure transportation solution. Additionally, the high-quality equipment used in handicap van conversions reduces the risk of injury while getting in and out of the vehicle, as well as transferring from a wheelchair to a built-in seat. With wheelchair ties, in-floor ramps and alternative restraint options, a wheelchair accessible van can provide the added safety you need to feel confident on the road.

Freedom
For many people, owning a mobility vehicle means having the freedom to be able to go anywhere, any time. Often, persons with physical disAbilities are able to operate a handicap accessible car or van independently, without the need to have a caregiver help them in and out of the vehicle. Thanks to lifts, ramps and transfer seats, as well as hand controls and other conversion options, wheelchair vans have helped countless individuals regain their freedom after an injury or due to a medical condition, transforming their lives for the better.

Accessibility and Ease of Use
Automatic ramp systems, in-floor ramp technology, low-effort steering and many other adaptive conversion possibilities make operating mobility vehicles simple and convenient. This accessibility not only makes these vehicles easy to grow accustomed to, it also prevents injuries that can occur if the proper equipment is not utilized. Practicality and usability are two huge benefits of owning a wheelchair accessible vehicle, as they make getting from point A to point B a seamless and enjoyable process.

Ready to begin your search for the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle? Contact us or your local NMEDA dealer today to discuss the purchasing process and the best options for your needs.

Driving Safely In Winter

Unfortunately, snow isn’t the only thing to watch out for while behind the wheel of a wheelchair accessible vehicle during the colder months. There’s also slush, black ice and blizzards. Fortunately, with the correct driving techniques, each can be handled stress free and safely.

Be Prepared
First and foremost, if you’ll be driving in the snow anytime soon, be prepared. This means having you car winterized before it’s needed. Depending on your location this can mean installing both snow tires and winter windshield wipers. Be sure to contact your local NMEDA dealer to find out if there are any special precautions you should take to get your handicap van ready for the snow. Additionally, have your battery, defroster, and antifreeze checked and stock your vehicle with emergency supplies like blankets, flashlights, food, water, shovel, sand, and first aid. Also, it’s a good idea to always have at least a half tank of gas. This gives the car some extra weight to help prevent skidding, but it’s also is safer in the event of getting lost or stranded. Finally, be sure to plan for extra time to get to your destination. You should never feel rushed or feel as if you have an excuse to speed.

Driving in Snow
First things first, slow down! Ten to fifteen miles per hour is a good speed of thumb when driving in snow. Always give yourself more stopping room because even in mild conditions, a little bit of skidding can be common. Also, try not to use cruise control. Your reaction time will not only be delayed, but if your vehicle begins to slide it will continue to accelerate. Make turns gently and avoid changing lanes unless necessary. If you must switch lanes, turn your wheel gradually to avoid fish tailing.

In the event you do slide off the road, don’t immediately try to gun it out or else you may dig yourself in. First, try a gentle acceleration. If this doesn’t get you out, stop and turn your wheel side to side to push snow away from the tires. Your best bet is to then use a shovel to clear snow and then spread sand for traction, however if you have limited mobility or use a wheelchair (meaning maneuvering in the snow might be difficult), it might be best to call a family member or emergency road service to help you get back on the road.

Driving on Ice
Iced over roads are one of the most dangerous aspects of driving during the winter. Black ice is hard to spot because it’s almost invisible, but if you begin to slide over it, take your foot off both the brake and the accelerator. Let your car slide and try to keep the car straight until you get traction back. If you lose control and start going off the road, try to guide your car toward an area with minimal damage possibilities. In general, look out for shady spots where the sun can’t melt the ground because black ice is more likely found here.

Driving in a Blizzard
If a blizzard hits while you’re out on the road, turn on your lights so that other drivers can easily see you, avoid changing lanes and be sure to pull over if you feel unsafe. If you do pull over, just make sure to get away from traffic and turn on your hazard lights.

If possible, avoid driving in the snow completely. If you do need to go out, many counties and towns list what roads have been plowed and salted online, so check to see if you can plan a safer route.

Hopefully with these tips you’ll now have a better understanding of how to handle your vehicle on winter roads. In general, if there’s any snow, ice, or slush on the road, driving slower and giving enough stopping room will eliminate many of the problems you might face. Add some common sense and good judgment, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering inclement weather.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle: Seating Options

There are many options you will need to consider when purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, especially if you are a first time buyer. It’s our job to make the process easier.

There are several seating options to consider; first, you and your family or your caregiver will need to decide where you want to or are going to sit. This depends on whether you are going to drive from your wheelchair and/or if you are going to be a passenger.

Knowing if you will be transferred into a seat or if you will remain in your wheelchair while traveling is also an important factor.

Seating in a Side Entry vs. Seating in a Rear Entry

Side Entry

  • Offers both mid-section and front seat options (with tie-downs)
  • There are five passenger seats available for family members in a side entry van.
  • A total of six people can be seated in a side entry wheelchair accessible van.
  • The side entry can comfortable fit a wheelchair or power wheelchair, where as a scooter has a less roomier fit.

Rear Entry

  • Only offers the mid-section to rear of the vehicle (with tie-downs)
  • There are four passenger seats available for family members in a rear entry van.
  • Up to six people can be seated in a rear entry wheelchair accessible van.
  • The rear entry can comfortable fit a wheelchair, power wheelchair or a scooter, but
  • If you have a long wheelchair or scooter the rear entry is ideal with over six feet of space, no turning to face forward is necessary.

If you have any questions our Mobility Center can further explain and demonstrate all seating options.

Please feel free to consult us with any additional information you need regarding wheelchair vans and mobility equipment, it’s what we’re here for.

Benefits of Owning an Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Safety
Safety is a universal concern for people with disAbilities and their caregivers. Many caregivers experience chronic back and joint pain from years of wheelchair lifts. And far too often there are stories of people fearful of loading and unloading their wheelchairs. Mobility vehicles are designed with a dedication to safety. Not only do ramp systems remove the liability, wear and tear and exhaustion of a lift, but brands like VMI adhere to the safety standards and qualifications of original equipment manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, Chrysler and Dodge.

A vehicle conversion from a company like VMI must maintain and provide the same safety ratings, post-conversion, as it did when the original model was created. That means collision safety and design is held to a very high standard. So there’s simply no reason to risk your personal safety or the livelihood of your passengers in an outdated vehicle.

Independence
If the daunting process of wheelchair lifts and transports kept you from leaving home in the past or the frustration of coordinating shuttles and third party transportation limits your lifestyle, look no further.

Mobility vehicles empower opportunity and independence. Frankly, when transportation is a possibility  rather than a limitation, the world gets a whole lot larger. Independent wheelchair users with reliable mobility vehicles hold the power to call the shots on their own life. They can drive where they need to, how they want to, when they want to. A mobility vehicle isn’t just a mechanism to take you from point A to B; A mobility vehicle is an entryway to possibility.

Increased Space and Flexibility
Most modern mobility vehicles feature side-entry and front door benefits which allow an array of seating arrangements and interior flexibility. With such added space, nearly any wheelchair — even power chairs — can fit in the cabin while still leaving room for the rest of the family.

Vehicles such as VMI’s Toyota Sienna Access360 have been engineered to promote a full range of motion and maneuverability for power chairs inside the vehicle, eliminating the need to hastily rearrange and remove seats for transports. Obstruction-free doorways and head clearance also pave the way for an enjoyable transition to and from the vehicle.

Simplicity and Ease-of-Use
Whether you are a caregiver or an independent wheelchair user, mobility vehicles have practical answers.

Through the addition of manual ramp systems and automated, in-floor ramp technology, transportation doesn’t have to remain a daily hassle.  Life often throws bigger dilemmas our way. Mobility vehicles make sure transportation isn’t one of those.

The Northstar E by VMI is a great example of a vehicle that was engineered with simplicity and ease-of-use at the forefront of its design. Caregivers can easily remove the vehicle’s ramp system without physical strain or contemplation. The process is intuitive and quick. Loading and unloading a van can be easily accomplished in a matter of minutes without sacrificing time or energy for the caregiver and loved one.

Mobility vehicles can even be outfitted with aftermarket additions such as remote start and keyless entry to  further simplify the transportation situation for independent wheelchair users and caregivers.

The History of the Wheelchair

From its early inception to modern design, the world of wheelchairs and mobility solutions has rolled through a very interesting evolution.

We live in a day and age where technology has forged the reality of power chairs, smart chairs and beyond, but history tells us the first known wheelchair, then known as the invalids chair, has developed into an extremely useful resource for people with disAbilities and has fostered a simultaneous campaign to raise awareness and understanding for its users.

The Early Days
It’s predicted that the very first renditions of the wheelchair rolled out in China, though Phillip II of Spain is largely attributed to its mainstream acceptance. Spanish inventors designed the chair for Phillip II, who was suffering from Gout.

No surprise that royalty got its own renditions.

As for the commonwealth, mobility solutions were largely the responsibility of the families and servants of the loved one with a disAbility or up to the individual with the disAbility, themselves. German watchmaker and paraplegic, Stephan Farfler was one such individual who designed a personal solution in 1665. Farfler engineered a hand cranked tricycle — called the manumotive carriage — which is said to have also inspired modern day bicycles.

Bath Chairs and Beyond
In 1783, Englishmen John Dawson invented another three wheeled rendition which he so creatively named the Bath Chair, after the town of Bath, England. The contraption appeared somewhat reminiscent of old-fashioned bathtubs and could be drawn by animals or pushed by hand.

By the late 1800s however, the clunky Bath Chairs were due for a revisit and patents started surfacing for chairs that utilized two larger wheels in the back and smaller casters in front to achieve maneuverability and better comfort for its users. Rubber wheels and pushrims were also added for self-propulsion and independent use.

Wheelchairs as We Know Them
At the turn of the 20th century, wheelchairs began to take the shape of our common perceptions, largely influenced by their need for wounded soldiers and veterans, ripples of the early modern warfare. During these years of conflict, the world experienced an influx in amputations and battle wounds that sparked a growing need for mobility solutions.

In 1916, British inventors were already designing early power chairs and in 1932, Harry Jennings engineered the world’s first folding wheelchair out of tubular steel.

Following the Second World War, Canadian inventor, George Klein, pioneered the world’s first electric power chair to enable veterans returning from battle.

Nowadays technology has empowered wheelchair conversion vans, electric lifts for people with disAbilities, prototype exoskeletons and beyond. From its humble beginnings to modern marvels, the history of wheelchairs has made a grand impact on the world around us.

How One Toys ‘R’ Us Trip Brought Mobility to Hundreds of Disabled Kids

These $200 alternatives to power wheelchairs are helping physically impaired kids get moving.

Cole Galloway’s workspace at the University of Delaware resembles a ransacked toy store. There are piles of plastic tubing, swim noodles, stuffed animals, and battery-powered Jeep and Barbie cars everywhere. But Galloway, 48, is a physical therapy professor and infant behavior expert whose lab has a very clear mission: to provide mobility to children with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Galloway started his infant behavior lab to study how children learn to move their bodies. He was particularly interested in finding ways to close what he calls “an exploration gap” — the difference between typically developing children and those who suffer from mobility issues due to conditions like cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. In 2007 Sunil Agrawal, a professor of mechanical engineering at the university, approached Galloway in a conversation he says went something like this: I’ve got small robots. You’ve got small babies. I wonder if we can do something together.

The two professors started building power mobility robots that let disabled children explore their surroundings with greater confidence and independence. But due to the cost and heft of the parts, their early vehicles cost tens of thousands of dollars and weighed up to 150 pounds, making them inaccessible to the families who needed them the most. Galloway’s solution to those problems came to him during a visit to Toys ‘R’ Us, where he saw he could shift his vision of “babies driving robots” to the lower tech “babies driving race cars.” It was then that Go Baby Go was born.

Unlike electric wheelchairs, which are usually reserved by kids above age three, Galloway’s cars can be used in the critical early years of development. He estimates that so far Go Baby Go has retrofitted an estimated 100 toy cars, a small dent for the more than half a million American children under the age of five who have mobility problems. To spread his mission, Galloway has traveled across the country, posted YouTube videos and spoken with dozens of parents. He hopes that others can learn from his work and build cars of their own: “If you’re not going to drop what you’re doing and come work for us, at least contact us — we’ll send you everything we have.”

Special Wheelchair Basketball Event at MHS!

Special Wheelchair Basketball Event at MHS!
On Tuesday, March 25th at 6:30pm The Mass Hospital School is having a special night of hoop for a great cause!

The New England Paralyzed Veterans of America NEPVA Celtics (ranked #1 in Division 3 of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association) will play an exhibition wheelchair game against the HealthBridge Management “Dribblers” and coaches from Canton Youth Basketball!

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children, and all proceeds will benefit NEPVA’s trip to the Nationals in Louisville, KY!  Refreshments and raffles will be available.  Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Adaptive Driving for Persons with Physical Limitations: Vehicle Selection

When choosing a vehicle for transportation there are several areas to consider. Your doctor, physical therapist or occupation therapist will have input and can help answer any questions, but a certified adaptive driving specialist can assist in making a vehicle selection with completion of the driver rehabilitation program.

Following are some areas to consider:
  • What are your transportation needs? Do you need a car, truck, full-size van or mini-van? Are you able to take public transportation?
  • What are your physical limitations that will effect your ability to access a vehicle or drive?
  • Will you be a driver or passenger?
  • Will you be able to handle the mental and physical stress of driving?
  • What is your ability to transfer into and out of the vehicle?
  • Will you require an assistive seat or lift to get into or out of the vehicle?
  • If you require a lift, what options do you prefer? Side door or rear door entrance/exit; electric; hydraulic; platform swing out or super arm, etc.?
  • Do you require a lowered floor or raised top and doors? What is your height, head to ground when sitting, and the length and width of your wheelchair or scooter?
  • Will you drive from a wheelchair or use a power seat?
  • Will you need special modifications to operate the vehicle?

Adaptive Driving for Persons with Physical Limitations: Adaptive Driving Aids/Modifications

With the use of appropriate adaptive aids an individual with most types of physical disability can continue to drive safely. A variety of devices are available to meet the individual driver’s needs and preferences. The following is a list of the more common modifications available. They should be tried in an actual driving situation before making a final decision. (For liability issues work with a certified adaptive driving specialist).

Automatic transmission: replaces clutch and manual shift

Power Steering: permits one-hand steering wheel operation

Power Brakes: needed for hand controls and other adaptive aids

Steering Devices: spinner knob, amputee ring, quad fork, tri pin, or custom device

Floor Mounted Steering: floor steering wheel for foot control

Modified Effort Steering: reduces strength needed to operate power steering or brake to accommodate low strength and/or endurance.

Left Foot Accelerator: eliminates left leg cross-over

Foot Pedal Extensions: raises height of brake and accelerator

Hand Controls: control operates brake/accelerator with single lever and activates secondary controls (horn, wipers, turn signals, etc.) *temporary or mounted hand controls are not recommended by Veterans Administration
Electric Gear Selector: permits left hand operation
Right Hand Turn Signal: permits right hand operation without cross-over
Remote Switches: reposition or build up secondary controls (horn, wipers, turn signals, etc.) to accommodate driver’s specific disability
Seat Belts: shoulder and lap belt adjustments may be needed
Power Seats: eases access for transferring to a regular captain’s seat
Custom Seats: creates balance, positioning, and stability
Lifts and Ramps: permits access into and out of vehicle
Wheelchair/Scooter Lifts: assists in lifting wheelchairs and scooters in and out of vehicle
Wheelchair Carriers: permits carrying of wheelchair outside of vehicle

Adaptive Driving for Persons with Physical Limitations: Driver Rehabilitation Programs

According to the Association of Driver Educators for the Disabled, a driver rehabilitation program should have a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist, the appropriate vehicle(s), and equipment to provide comprehensive services in the following areas:

Clinical Evaluation: applicable testing in the area of physical functioning and visual/perceptual/cognitive screening. Where applicable, a wheelchair/seating assessment should be completed.

Driving Evaluation: shall include an on-the-road performance assessment of the client in an actual driving environment using equipment similar to the prescribed equipment.

Vehicle Modification/Prescription: all prescriptions shall be based on the client’s demonstrated performance in an actual driving experience with equipment similar to that which is being prescribed. The prescription should include appropriate description and dimensions of the client’s vehicle and mobility aid (wheelchair, scooter).

Driver Education: shall include sufficient practice and training to enable the client to operate a motor vehicle with the prescribed equipment at a level that meets the client’s need for a driver’s license.

Final Fitting: the client shall receive a final fitting and operational assessment in their modified vehicle.

Wheelchair Accessible Van Maintenance

Auto Mechanic Car Hood
As with any vehicle, regular maintenance is important especially before a long road trip, as to prevent any maintenance-related issues from popping up. Standard “check-up” procedures such as getting your oil changed, checking the tire pressure, and making sure your spare tire is filled and your emergency kit is stocked are highly recommended.

In addition, there are special handicapped van upkeep procedures that are recommended.

These include the following:

  1. Make sure your lower door tracks are free of debris by using a vacuum along the tracks and ensuring any extra supplies won’t be able to fall onto the track.
  2. Spray your van’s ramp with a silicon or teflon based lubricant to make sure it slides with ease. If you use an in-the-floor ramp there’s one hinge, but if you have a fold-down ramp make sure to spray both the upper and lower hinges.
  3. You will also want to lightly lubricate the kneeling chain and the hand controls, if applicable to your van. Your handicap van’s manual should explain how to do this maintenance.
  4. Check your tie downs and securements to make sure there are no rips and they’re clear of debris.
  5. Tighten your 6-way power seat and make sure it’s clear of debris, if applicable to your van.

If you need any of this maintenance work done call us today to schedule an appointment.

We also provide a rust treatment that will help your wheelchair accessible vehicle last longer.

Funding Your Wheelchair Van with a Grant


Mobility beyond the wheelchair is out there, but so often, it’s out of reach financially for individuals with disabilities who have spent thousands on medical care. There are several avenues that lead to funds for a wheelchair accessible vehicle or adaptive equipment for driving, like loans, government assistance, mobility rebates and grants. So what’s great about grants?

Grant money doesn’t need to be repaid, which makes it especially attractive. What’s more, grant opportunities are plentiful; relevant grant-making organizations and foundations will supply partial or complete funding on wheelchair accessible vans for sale or assistive equipment; and you can combine funds from several sources to purchase the freedom and independence an accessible vehicle provides. Obtaining a grant to fund an accessible vehicle requires patience, perseverance and a detailed application process. Though it sounds daunting, these tips will help you navigate the process:

  • Be Patient

Grant providers don’t work in your time frame. They process thousands of applications just like yours, so you may wait longer than you’d like for a response. Expressing your aggravation to the grant provider might be counterproductive. Lowering your expectations will also lower your level of frustration during your quest for grant money. If you’re prepared for progress to move slowly, you’ll be thrilled if it takes less time than you expect.

  • Be Prepared with Necessary Information

With the likelihood you’ll want to apply to several granting institutions, it simply makes sense to have your basic information gathered and quickly accessible, so you can begin filling out an application as soon as you’ve identified another potential grant opportunity. Though the requirements on grant applications vary, you’ll need personal information on all of them, such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license number (if you have one), marital status, financial information and personal background details. It’s all about expediting the application process on your end. Keep in mind that funding organizations have different policies and requirements, so you’ll need to be flexible.

  • Line up Medical Records and References

Granting institutions will want to see your medical records. Your physician can provide you with a copy. Some physicians prefer to send your records directly to the granting institution. Either way, be sure your physician understands why you need your medical records. While you’re at it, ask your physician to write a letter of recommendation. It’s not necessary, but a letter from your physician, written on letterhead stationery, can often be helpful when applying for a grant. Ask that the letter be addressed to a generic individual (“Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”), so you can include a copy with each application.

Now’s the time to get references to support your efforts – ask close friends, neighbors, colleagues, church members and anyone who you believe will provide convincing, compelling input about your character and disability. Funding organizations want their personal perspective about your accomplishments, your attitude and how you manage your disability on a daily basis. Your references can also comment on how grant money to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle would improve your present lifestyle.

  • Make Your Case

Your mission is to help the funding organization understand your personal history, your challenges and the impact any hardships have had on your life. Be honest and persuasive in telling your story to the grant provider (including an articulate, straightforward narrative, 1-2 pages in length), describing your plans for the funding and its potential positive effect on your future. Focus on setting yourself apart from other applicants with an emotional, inspiring account. You’re in competition for a limited amount of money, so this is important.

  • Research and Identify Appropriate Granting Institutions

You now have the necessary documents and backing to begin applying for grants. Start your research with these handicap van grants, sorted by location, medical need, veterans, special needs children and others to find one or more grants for your specific situation. If you search the Internet, use “disability grant providers,” “disability grants” and other relevant keyword phrases to find foundations and organizations. If you’re a disabled veteran, check with the Veterans Administration. Remember, you can combine sources to amass as much money as possible for your wheelchair van or adaptive equipment.

Organizations that support specific conditions often provide grants to people living with that disorder. Examples include United Cerebral Palsy, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

When you’ve identified a potential granting organization, read their mission statement and get an application form. Craft a cover letter in which you align your needs with the organization’s goals to demonstrate how you can help achieve the provider’s objectives. This is essential information for the funding organization.

  • Contact the Grant Providers

If at all possible, speak or write to the person in charge when you begin the application process to fund your handicap van. Typically, assistance programs will assign a project officer or contact person to help you through the details. Always be polite and thank them for their time. Through this direct line of communication, you can have your questions and concerns addressed. Get a contact name, phone number and email address for every organization to obtain status updates on your application. Request information on their timeline for choosing a candidate for the funding opportunity.

  • Stay Organized and Aware

With multiple applications at different stages in the process, it’s essential to keep track of your documents and deadlines. You should be able to put your hands on documents and paperwork at any given moment. Devise a system to remind yourself of important dates and deadlines, and be sure everything is submitted on time. Stand out from other applicants by demonstrating your desire to earn their financial assistance – meet all deadlines and stay up-to-date on the status of your applications.

Keep copies of all of your applications (electronic or paper copies, or both), and save any confirmation numbers or application numbers you may receive in a safe, readily accessible place. You may be asked for them at some point.

It may take time and effort to get the funding you need for a wheelchair van or adaptive equipment, but it’s absolutely worth it to gain the freedom and independence that can change your life.

Wheelchair Van Fundraiser

Keep Newey Mobile Campaign

Keep Newey Mobile The Keep Newey Mobile Campaign is a fundraising effort for Josh Newey of Bridgewater, MA. This was created to raise funds to replace his current mobility van; a rusty and unreliable ’99 Caravan with 210,000 miles! We welcome your participation through online donations, or by attending our event.

Make a donation towards Josh’s new wheelchair accessible van here!

The next event for the Keep Newey Mobile Campaign is  a Craft and Vendor Fair organized by the Bridgewater Community Lions Cub which is being held at our Mobility Center!

Bridgewater Lions Club

Start your holiday shopping a little early and help support The Keep Newey Mobile Campaign! All proceeds go toward a new wheelchair accessible van for Josh!

When:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
10 AM -3 PM

Where:
VMi New England Mobility Center
1000 Main Street
Bridgewater, MA

Vendors:
Silpada, Tastefully Simple, Mary Kay, Lia Sophia, Thirty- One, Pampered Chef, and Scentsy. There will also be various crafters.

 

Prepare Your Mobility Equipment For the Colder Weather

Cold temperatures not only slow wheelchair users down, but can also slow down their vans and accessible equipment. For example, if you use a hydraulic wheelchair lift, you may have noticed that the colder the weather, the slower the lift reacts. The cold thickens the fluid, making it move slower through hoses, valves and cylinders.

There’s not much you can do about that, but preparing other equipment for cold weather is important to help avoid accidents and breakdowns.

If you live in the New England area · call our Mobility Center today (508) 697-8324 · We’ll rust proof your wheelchair accessible vehicle, give you an oil change, tune-up, and/or semi-annual ramp/lift service and have any other accessible equipment checked before the temperature dips. If you ask we can also check your battery, antifreeze level, heater, brakes, defroster and thermostat.

Do It Yourself:

  • Purchase winter wiper blades that cut through snow and ice.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full. It reduces condensation and makes your vehicle easier to start on cold mornings.
  • Buy tires that have MS, M+S, M/S or M&S on them, meaning they meet the Rubber Manufacturers Association guidelines and can bite through mud and snow.
  • For better traction and control, rotate tires so the best ones are in the front.
  • Get an electric engine block heater. It warms the engine so the motor can start. It connects to normal AC power overnight or before driving. In extremely cold climates, electrical outlets are sometimes found in public or private parking lots. 
  • Cold weather is tough on accessible van batteries. Buy one with greater starting power, higher cold cranking amps and reserve capacity for energy when the engine isn’t running.
  • Use synthetic oil to make starting a cold engine easier.

Before you drive:

  • Keep rock salt on hand to melt ice off walkways for a safer wheelchair ride.
  • Clean the snow off the roof and hood so it doesn’t “avalanche” onto the windshield and block your vision.
  • Clear the head and tail lights for best visibility.
  • Scrape the ice off mirrors and windows.

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Here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations we’ll service and repair your wheelchair accessible vehicle and/or equipment even if you didn’t buy it from us! So bring us your mobility van no matter the year (old or new), chassis (Honda, Dodge, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, excreta..), or conversion (Side Entry, Rear Entry, VMI, Braun, Ricon, Rampvan, Elorado, Amerivan, excreta..)!!

10 Simple Ways to Get Your Conversion Van Ready for winter

Winter Driving ahead

For anyone living in a northern state, Winter means rain, sleet, slush, snow and ice. Driving along icy roads is tricky at the best of times, and there’s not always a plow available to get your road clear in time to go to work for the day. Why not make your life a little easier now, by preparing your conversion van for the coming winter? You can do many small things before the snow starts to fall to make your winter that much easier to handle.

1. Get an oil change. Specifically, get the right sort of oil change. Oil won’t freeze in the kind of temperatures we see in the north, but it will get thicker. Thicker oil does a worse job of keeping your engine lubed up, which means more wear and tear on the moving parts you definitely don’t want to replace. Dirty oil gums up even worse, so get that oil changed before the temperatures drop.

2. Take steps to ensure visibility at all times. The most important and most neglected fluid for visibility is windshield washer fluid. Topping up that tank will save you plenty of headaches when you have to scrape frost off the glass or wait for a heater to melt it. A blast with wiper fluid and a few passes of the wipers will clear it right up. It helps if you clean your windshield inside as well. Of course, you should also have a good snowbrush and ice scraper stored away in the trunk or back seat. 

3. Perk up your battery. The cold and wet conditions of a typical winter can wreak havoc on a battery. Connections will corrode and the batter may lose the ability to hold a charge. The older a battery is, the more likely you’ll run into issues along the way. Most auto shops can test your battery’s ability to hold a charge, and can tell you if you need a new one. Get it looked at before you end up stalled on the side of the freeway.

4. Check the belts and hoses in your engine. Belts and hoses are made of rubber and plastic, which tend to get brittle as they age. The addition of road salt and icy water splashing up onto them only makes the process faster. Take your conversion van in to have it services and pay special attention to the belts and hoses, so you don’t end up dropping fluid or finding a snapped belt while you drive. 

5. Monitor your tire pressure. In wet and icy conditions, traction is key to keeping your conversion van on the road. Your tires are made to function best at a certain level of inflation, which varies depending on the tire. As the temperatures get colder, the pressure of the air in your tires will drop, at about 1 PSI per ten degrees. Keeping your tires inflated properly keeps them working as best they can. 

6. Switch to snow tires, if applicable. Snow tires aren’t for everyone. If you live in the middle of the city and the roads are plowed several times a day, you probably don’t need a lot of extra traction from your tires. On the other hand, if you live in an area with plenty of hills and the plows come few and far between, winter tires might be a good option. 

7. If you have four-wheel drive in your vehicle, test it out. Make sure the system engages smoothly. Since you probably don’t use the system much during the summer, it might have an issue that you don’t notice. Better to get it tested now than to discover it doesn’t work when you need it. Don’t forget to make sure that anyone driving your vehicle knows how to turn the system on and off. For new drivers experiencing their first winter in their parents’ conversion van, this can be all new. 

8. Check your engine coolant. Most conversion vans run on something between pure antifreeze and a half and half mixture of antifreeze and water. Diluted antifreeze is perfectly fine. It would take ridiculously low temperatures to freeze even a half and half mixture, so there’s no sense in wasting half a gallon of coolant when you don’t need it. You can test the mixture of antifreeze yourself, or take it to a mechanic. Check to see if your vehicle uses a special kind of antifreeze as well. Just remember that if you replace your antifreeze yourself, you need to dispose of the old coolant properly. It’s harmful to the environment and illegal in most places to pour antifreeze down the drain. 

9. Stock up on supplies and put together an emergency kit. In the event that something breaks and you’re stranded, having an emergency kit is a lifesaver. Here’s an idea of what you should have in your kit:

  • Blanket, boots, gloves and warm clothes
  • Emergency food and water
  • A snow brush, ice scraper and a small shovel
  • A flashlight with spare batteries and a set of road flares
  • Windshield wipers and extra fluid
  • Repair items like jumper cables, a tool kit, a tire pressure gauge and a spare tire
  • A first aid kit

10. Don’t forget your training. All the tools and supplies in the world won’t help you if you don’t know what to do when you’re broken down. If you’re likely to be stranded for an extended period, light flares for the front and back of your vehicle. Run the engine and heater only for short durations to save gas. Wear your warm clothes to keep warm instead. To prevent your conversion van from freezing shut, crack the window slightly. If you have hard candies with you, you can munch on them to keep your mouth from drying out. Of course, make sure you have contact numbers and a way to call for help if you do end up stranded.

Side Entry Versus Rear Entry Wheelchair Vans

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT rear entry wheelchair van newenglandwheelchairvan.com12 VS 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Northstar

The question of a Rear Entry wheelchair van versus a Side Entry van often comes up in conversation when a first time buyer enters the accessible van market. There are several things to consider; first, the family or care giver needs to decide on where the wheelchair user is going to sit. If the person in the wheelchair is able to drive and will be independent there are other things to consider, but for now, let us stay with an assisted member of the family.

Door height is an issue. For that we need to know how tall the person sits in their wheelchair.

Scooter or Power chair is next. Size and weight combination will come into play as we move along in the discovery process.

Will the person transfer into a  seat or will they remain in their wheelchair while traveling?

Okay, now we get into seating. The side entry offers both mid-section and front seat options with tie-downs located throughout. In a rear entry van, the mid-section to rear of the vehicle, are the only seating options while remaining in the wheelchair.

There are five passenger seats available for family members in a side entry van versus six available seats in a rear entry. Both are in addition to whoever is in the wheelchair, which gives a total of six people in a side entry and up to seven in a rear entry.

For folks with a long wheelchair or scooter the rear entry is ideal. Over six feet of space is afforded to tie down the wheelchair and no turning to forward face is necessary.

A side entry requires up to eight feet accommodating the lowering of the ramp allowing access into your van. This may prohibit the use of the ramp while inside a garage or if someone parks to close while at the mall or a doctor’s appointment.

The rear entry does not have the blocked in problem, you are always accessing your van from the aisle.

In summation, like anything else, it is best to try before you buy. Our Mobility Center has both styles of wheelchair vans. See which style suits your lifestyle and then consider the purchase of either a new or used mobility equipped van. Always consult with your mobility product specialist for any additional questions you may have.

Sedan, Coupe, SUV, Minivan or Van — Which Is Best for You?

If you’re one of the millions of drivers who rely on wheelchairs for mobility, you know you’ve got quite a few choices to consider when it comes to conversion vehicles. These days, sedans, coupes and SUVs may be converted to accommodate drivers with a wide range of mobility challenges.

wheelchair van 2014 Honda Odyssey Front Seat View with Wheelchair

And then, of course, there are full-size vans and minivans, which are the granddaddies of the conversion segment. Though they continue to be popular choices, they’ve been overlooked by some mobility-challenged drivers who prefer the trendier, more stylish look of certain sedans and crossovers.

Picking the right type of vehicle for your disability and your lifestyle is important. It’s a decision that could have far-reaching effects on your health and your finances, and as such, it shouldn’t depend exclusively on your feelings regarding a vehicle’s image or appearance. For mobility-challenged drivers, function trumps form by a very wide margin.

Here are five questions to consider as you evaluate conversion vehicles.

 How severe are your mobility challenges? The extent of your mobility challenges will play a major role in determining which vehicle type is the best match for your needs. For many disabled drivers who are able to get around without wheelchairs — and some who may rely on wheelchairs, but who have good upper-body strength — sedans, coupes or SUVs may be solid options.

Hand Controls Spinner Knob Massachusetts

Mobility-challenged drivers who aren’t in wheelchairs will appreciate the accessible seat height offered by many sedans and coupes. And the AWD available on many SUVs can make for safer travels in rain and snow. But those in wheelchairs will want to keep in mind that seat height isn’t an issue when you have a van’s ramp to get you into and out of a vehicle. And if you frequently face rough weather, know that there are minivans (like the Toyota Sienna) available that offer (for non lowered floors) AWD.

The main advantage to choosing a sedan, coupe or SUV is financial. “Those solutions are less costly compared to a fully converted wheelchair-accessible van,” says Doug Eaton, president/CEO of Vantage Mobility.

Nick Gutwein, president of Braun, agrees. “It’s a personal decision for the customer, and certainly someone with minor mobility challenges may fare well in a sedan. It’s a decision for the individual, his or her family, and — we’d recommend — a decision made with the help of an expert at a mobility dealer. For individuals who have the necessary mobility to transfer, a specialty seat and scooter/wheelchair stowage lift can be a viable, less expensive option [than a conversion van].”

Wheelchair Pickup Truck

How important are practicality and convenience? Though they may be less visually appealing than other types of conversion vehicles, conversion vans and minivans offer superior practicality and convenience since they typically don’t require drivers to hoist themselves from wheelchairs to seats. This isn’t the case with many sedans, SUVs and coupes.

“Generally speaking, a minivan or van is more practical, particularly for those individuals in wheelchairs,” says Dave Hubbard, executive director and CEO of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association.

wheelchair van inventory massachusetts

Are you shopping for both current and future needs? Many mobility-challenged drivers suffer from conditions — such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, etc. — that can result in diminishing strength and agility as the years go by. If you’re one of these drivers, it’s important to keep this in mind as you shop for a vehicle. Today, you may have the mobility to easily transfer to a sedan, but that may not be the case two or three years from now.

“We encourage our customers to consider both their present circumstance and future condition, as well,” says Jim Sanders president/CEO of VMi New England Mobility Center Bridgewater,MA. “This is an investment in a vehicle, so be honest with what is needed not just now, but two, five, 10 years down the road. Will you have the same strength and energy level? If you travel with a caretaker, will they still have the ability to help you transfer and stow your wheelchair or scooter? These are the critical questions to ask when making this decision.”

Also, keep in mind that while your disability may not be one that naturally worsens with time, it may be exacerbated over the years by the daily ritual of transferring from wheelchair to vehicle. “When you think about someone in a wheelchair transferring in and out of their chair multiple times a day to get in and out of a vehicle, it is taxing on the body,” says Eaton. “With a wheelchair-accessible minivan, they can remain in their chair without having to transfer.”

Sanders offers a similar perspective. “It’s important to recognize that, over time, the wear-and-tear of months, years, maybe decades of transfers can result in very serious injury to the shoulders. That’s why we regularly hear customers say they wish they’d made the switch to an accessible van years ago pass these life experiences on the they younger people. The only energy expended is to press a button, wait for the ramp to lower and then roll up and into your position. It’s just that easy.”

What’s the weather like? It’s important to consider how well-suited your potential new conversion vehicle is for use in your particular climate. Conversion vans have a key advantage over other vehicle types for those who regularly face rough weather, since they don’t require the driver to get out of or stow the wheelchair.

“Think about severe heat, or blistering cold,” says Eaton. “What about rain or snow?” With sedans, coupes and SUVs, “you are exposed to the elements that much longer when you have to get out of your wheelchair to transfer and then get your chair stowed.”

Have you gotten the help of a qualified mobility center? It’s impossible to overstate the importance of working with a qualified mobility center when deciding on a conversion vehicle. A mobility center knows the full range of options available to shoppers and is in a position to tell you which choices suit you best. This kind of knowledgeable guidance is essential if you hope to choose a vehicle that will serve as a useful companion both today and years into the future.

“Similar to a physical or occupational therapist, a mobility center advisor will ask the right questions [and] take the right measurements,” says Gutwein. “Based on what a customer’s condition is and what they want out of their vehicle, they’ll prescribe the best mobility option. It’s an essential step to getting on the road to independence.”

Eaton also believes that a mobility center is an important part of the mix, and encourages shoppers to do their due diligence when selecting a facility. “We always recommend that customers physically visit the mobility equipment center: see their showroom, [have them] demonstrate their products and put faces with names.”

This is important, since not all mobility centers are created equal. Including those that have been certified by NMEDA.

2010 Chrysler Town and Country · For Sale

We just took in a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country LMT as a trade-in for a converted van.

Additional Information

• 10,421 miles
• 4.0L V6 SFI SOHC 24V
• Fuel Type: Gasoline
• MPG City/Hwy: 17 city/24 hwy

Pictures

2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front left 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front right 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 rear right 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854  rear left side 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front side interior view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior front passenger view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 front interior view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 dash 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior front  view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 dvd player 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior rear seats 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior rear view2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 interior left rear floor view 2010 Chrysler T&C No Conversion 2A4RR8DX4AR421854 trunk open seats up view

 

Trade-Ins
We accept both converted mobility vehicles and non-modified vehicles as long as the vehicle is in very good condition. It is also preferred that the vehicle is under 10 years old with odometers at 100,000 miles or less.

Dodge Grand Caravan Wheelchair Van Conversion

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar Conversion

VMI first developed the Northstar handicap van conversion in the early 1990’s to meet customer preferences for increased interior space. To this day, the VMI Northstar on the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan remains one of the best mobility ramp vans in America.

By sliding out of a space below the floor, the Northstar mobility ramp maximizes space inside the accessible vehicle. There are so many benefits of an in-floor wheelchair ramp, it is easily understood why its so popular.

Dodge VMI Northstar at Automotive Innovations www.bridgewatermobility.com

VMI New England Dodge Northstar Wheelchair Van VMiNewEngland.com

Description
Interior handles, and switches, buttons are easily accessed
Front passenger seat retains regular functions
No additional noise from handicap ramp
In the event of an accident, the accessible ramp is under the floor-not inside the mobility van
Works on curbs up to 10 inches tall
Increased maneuverability due to greater space inside the accessible van
Ramp-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for ambulatory passengers
Minimized conversion wear and tear (fewer ramp cycles to load/unload additional passengers)
Uncluttered and clean wheelchair vehicle interior
Mobility vehicle interior gets less dirt inside
Increased handicapped ramp width

Specifications
Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
Handicap Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
Door Opening Width – 30.75″
Door Opening Height – 55.125″
Usable Mobility Ramp Width – 29.25″
Wheelchair Ramp Length – 45.75″
Length from Back Seats to Kickplate – 58.25″
Overall Floor Length – 86″
Floor Width at Front Doors – 61″
Interior Height at Driver & Passenger Positions (Without Sunroof) – 58″
Interior Height at Center Position – 57.63″
Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25″

Standard Features
Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar only
Extremely-low 8.0° handicapped ramp angle
Sure Deploy backup system leaves accessible van conversion usable even with power failure
Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind
800lb. handicap ramp weight capacity

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar AND Summit
Fully-powered accessible van ramp
11” drop FLEX Floor maximizes interior space and headroom for better maneuverability
Complete undercoating and rust proofing
PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce ramp angle
Seamless integration with Dodge Grand Caravan vehicle electronics
Complete control through Dodge keyfob and interior switches
Removable front passenger and driver seat bases
No-skid wheelchair ramp surfacing
Complete crash testing and compliance with all government safety standards
3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features
Durafloor (rubberized flooring) to match Dodge Grand Caravan interiors


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Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Summit Conversion

The Summit folding wheelchair ramp van conversion on a Dodge Grand Caravan is an economical choice compared to the popular Northstar in-floor handicapped ramp conversion from VMI. Summit mobility ramps utilize siderails that are 2 inches tall. This is especially important for those with a hard time navigating an incline. VMI Summit handicapped accessible van on the Dodge Grand Caravan also includes an industry best access ramp length of only 50.25”.

The short handicap ramp provides two key advantages to VMI customers. First, passengers can easily use the Dodge handle for the sliding door and switches because the handicapped ramp is not covering them. Second, users in wheelchairs have more room to move on and off the ramp when other vehicles park too close.

Dodge VMI Summit at Automotive Innovations www.bridgewatermobility.com

VMI New England Dodge Summit Wheelchair Van VMiNewEngland.com

Description
Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Summit Only
2” siderails help people with a disabilities stay on the ramp when coming in and out
When other vehicles park too close, 50.25” ramp leaves users more room to maneuver
By simply pushing outward on the ramp, it can be deployed incase of a mechanical/power failure
Handicap ramp surface allows debris to fall through so it doesn’t end up inside the vehicle
Mobility ramp has a quiet cabin dut to an anti-rattle device
600lb. handicapped ramp rating

Dodge Grand Caravan with VMI Northstar AND Summit
Fully-powered accessible ramp
11” drop FLEX Floor maximizes head clearance and interior space for maneuvering a wheelchair
Complete undercoating and rust proofing
PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce wheelchair ramp angle
Total integration with Dodge systems prevents damage to vehicle/ conversion
Accessible van conversion is controlled through interior sliding-door switches and Dodge keychain
Easy-out passenger and front driver seat stands
No-slip handicapped ramp
Total crash-testing and compliance with all government standards for safety
3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Specifications
Maximum Floor Drop – 11″
Mobility Vehicle Ground Clearance – 5.5″
Door Opening Height – 54.25″
Usable Wheelchair Ramp Width – 28.88″
Handicap Ramp Length – 50.25″
Length from Back of Seats to Kickplate – 58.25″
Overall Floor Length – 86″
Floor Width at Doors – 61″
Interior Height at Center Position – 58″
Interior Height at Drivers & Passengers Position (Without Sunroof) – 58″
Steering Wheel Bottom to Floor – 29.5″
Measured Down from Front Edge of Steering Wheel to Front Kick-Up – 16.25

Standard Features
Power Folding Wheelchair Ramp with Non-Skid Surface
Power Sliding Door with Easy Manual Operation
Maximum Interior Headroom
Undercoating and Complete Rust Proofing
Manual Backup Ramp Operation
Warranty – Mobiltiy Conversion Van
Fully Crash Tested
Remote Control Activation
600 Pound Load Rating for Handicap Ramp
9.7 Degree Handicap Ramp Angle

Optional Features
Rubberized Flooring

Veterans Star Spangled Salute – Wheelchair Van Giveaway

Veteran Wheelchair Van Boston MA

Contact us for more info on your chance to win a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE, with a VMI Northstar Conversion. The Star Spangled Salute campaign is valid from March 13, 2013 to November 10, 2013 for all Disabled US Veterans.

***Limit one entry per household!***

Toyota Sienna VMI Northstar at Automotive Innovations www.bridgewatermobility.comWin A 2013 Toyota Sienna SE

In Phoenix, AZ a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE minivan, that is wheelchair accessible, is up for grabs in a new contest sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and Vantage Mobility International.

The contest, The Star Spangled Salute, runs from March 13th 2013 through November 10th 2013 and is open to all disabled veterans.

The winner will be picked in a random drawing on Veteran’s Day.

The Toyota Sienna SE Wheelchair accessible minivan features VMI’s Access360 In-floor Ramp Conversion.

Toyota Wheelchair Van MA

“Access to reliable transportation is critical for wounded warriors who are reclaiming their independence,” said former Air Force Lieutenant General John F. Regni, who is a member of the VMI board of advisers. “A VMI-converted Toyota Sienna will give them the mobility to secure a job, take care of their family and travel to the doctor.”

Terms and conditions: Star Spangled Salute campaign is valid from March 13, 2013 to November 10, 2013 for all Disabled US Veterans.  The winner will be randomly drawn on November 11, 2013 and must show proof of military service.  The winner will receive a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with the VMI Northstar Conversion; no exceptions will be made.  No purchase necessary. Valid within the United States only.  Limit one entry per household.  Entries may be made HERE or by calling 800-488-6148. If the chosen winner has already purchased their VMI Toyota Sienna Northstar conversion between 3/13/13 and 11/10/2013, they can elect to be reimbursed their out of pocket cost of the wheelchair accessible VMI Toyota Sienna Northstar van on or by December 31, 2013. Reimbursement will be coordinated between VMI and the winner directly if the vehicle was purchased prior to the winner being announced.  Campaign is not valid on any added accessories. Customer is responsible for the payment of applicable taxes and registration fees.  Prize must be claimed by December 31, 2013 and is non-transferable.  No exceptions will be made.

A question from Easter Seals, Boston Massachusetts

A message from Easter Seals MA

In just 5 days, thousands of people have taken the Disability Etiquette Challenge. Will you be one more person to take the challenge? The answers might surprise you!

 

Disabled Veterans: Enter to win this FREE wheelchair van!

Veteran Wheelchair Van Boston MA

Veterans Star Spangled Salute

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2013, VMI will be saluting our Veterans by giving away a brand new 2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Van with Northstar Conversion. If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran that deserves a wheelchair accessible van, Enter TODAY!!

Enter for your chance to win a 2013 Toyota Sienna SE with a VMI Northstar Conversion.
Registration for all disabled U.S. Veterans is open from March 13, 2013 to November 10, 2013.

**Limit one entry per household

For more information call:
VMi New England
508-697-6006

 

2013 Toyota Sienna Information · For Sale

Our New 2013 Toyota Sienna LE Mobility minivan has a New VMI Northstar conversion

Additional Information

6 miles
3.5L V6 EFI DOHC 24V
Fuel Type: Gasoline
MPG City/Hwy: 18 city/25 hwy

Pictures

2013 Toyota Sienna DS292397 Front Left Side View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Front Right Side View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Rear Right Side View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Rear Left Side View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Steering Wheel and Dash Left Side View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Right Side Steering Wheel and Dash View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Indide View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Left Side View - Elias 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Trunk Open Seats Up View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Trunk Open Seats Down View 2013 Toyota Sienna  DS292397 Engine View

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Toyota Sienna With VMI Northstar Conversion Information

The all new Toyota Sienna with a VMI Northstar wheelchair van conversion is vehicular perfection for people living with disability. The Toyota Sienna handicap accessible van with a power in-floor ramp offers the most wheelchair access in a flexible package. And like everything from Toyota, the quality and value are unmatched.

The VMI Northstar handicap van engineers put together the Access360 performance package through years of research and experience that have accumulated into the most versatile mobility van on the market. There is more entry space, more interior height, and better aesthetics. It all adds up to Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans that offers flexibility, ease of use, and safety.

Description
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar
  NEW – Access360 design with more space to enter and maneuver inside the mobility van
  NEW – Access360 design allows for more flexibility and ease of use
  Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
  Clean, uncluttered handicapped vehicle interior
  Greater safety in the event of a collision
  Less dirt and debris from in-floor ramp into wheelchair accessible vehicle interior
  Wider usable accessible wheelchair ramp surface
  No interference with factory seats or controls
  Full use of front passenger seat
  Obstacle-free front row floor
  Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
  9″ more floor length than any other Toyota Sienna conversion on the market today

Specifications
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar
NEW – Access360 design with more space to enter and maneuver inside the mobility van
NEW – Access360 design allows for more flexibility and ease of use
Obstruction-free doorway allows easy entry/exit for able-bodied passengers
Clean, uncluttered handicapped vehicle interior
Greater safety in the event of a collision
Less dirt and debris from in-floor ramp into wheelchair accessible vehicle interior
Wider usable accessible wheelchair ramp surface
No interference with factory seats or controls
Full use of front passenger seat
Obstacle-free front row floor
Ramp stowed safely under floor in the event of a collision
9″ more floor length than any other Toyota Sienna conversion on the market today

Standard Features
Toyota Sienna with VMI Northstar only
Ultra-low 8.0° accessible ramp angle
800lb. wheelchair ramp capacity
Sure Deploy backup system allows users to stow or deploy the ramp  even without power
Manual secondary backup system for additional peace of mind

Toyota Sienna with Northstar AND Summit
Full-power ramp and conversion
12.75” drop FLEX Floor maximizes headroom & interior space for wheelchair maneuverability
Patented independent rear suspension designed to preserve the ride quality and performance
E-coated floor for maximum corrosion resistance
NEW, ultra-reliable hydraulic PowerKneel system lowers the minivan to reduce ramp angle
Seamless integration with the electronics prevents damage to vehicle/conversion
Conversion control through Toyota keyfob and interior sliding-door switches
Halo-lit, one-touch interior conversion button
Ramp ON/OFF switch allows users to disable all conversion features
(You can open sliding doors for able-bodied passengers without deploying the ramp)
NEW lightweight, removable front seats are easier to install or remove
NEW quick-release straps allow users to remove front seats in seconds
Non-skid handicapped ramp surface
Fully crash-tested and compliant with all government safety standards
3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Optional Features
Durafloor (rubberized flooring) closely matched to the existing Toyota Sienna interior

Wheelchair Motorcycle : A New Kind of Mobility

If you have limited mobility due to a disability, you may think riding a motorcycle is simply out of the question. As the leader in mobility features and transportation for people with disabilities, Automotive Innovations takes that as a challenge. Believe it or not, there are several motorcycles that have been developed including one built from a BMW motorcycle that is made with the specific needs of people with disabilities in mind.

Jim’s passion for motorcycles is unwavering he has worked on wheelchair accessible motorcycles for more than 10 years with features like an EZ-Lock wheelchair locking system to keep you safe and sturdy, interior storage departments to secure your belongings, a passenger seat for your favorite partner in crime, and an automatically controlled rising and lowering access ramp for a hassle-free ride.

If you’re a daredevil at heart, like Jim, and want an exciting way to get around, see if he can up fit a motorcycle just for you. Do you need to bring a little adventure to your life and experience the open road. Whether it’s for daily trips to run errands, a casual Sunday drive, or a road trip across state lines, you’ll get a kick out of the ease and comfort that comes with driving a wheelchair accessible motorcycle. If you are no longer able to ride a standard motorcycle but are not ready to give up the thrill of the ride, contact Automotive Innovations and find out how Jim Sanders and the mobility experts at Automotive Innovations will change your life!

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This mobility update has been brought to you by Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations your Bridgewater, MA NMEDA Mobility Dealer – Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features?

Contact us your local mobility equipment and accessibility expert!

Jim Sanders is one of of the most experienced people in the country at building High-Tech driving equipment and vans for passengers and individuals who drive from a wheelchair. He offers a unmatched practical and theoretical foundation in the application of vehicle modifications for individuals with disabilities. With over 25 years experience, he continues to spearhead new and exciting technological advancements in this growing and emerging market.

Jim is also an avid motorcyclist, extreme snowmobiler and ATV’er, if you are even in need of snowmobile, atv or motorcycle modifications feel free to contact him directly.

Raising Stroke Awareness for the Month of May

Help Raise Stroke Awareness

Many people are familiar with what it means to have a stroke – it is the fourth leading cause of death in America, and so has impacted the loved ones of many. When a blood clot breaks free and blocks an artery, or a blood vessel breaks, stopping blood flow to an area of the brain, brain cells in the affected area die. This results in damage to the brain, and is called a stroke, brain attack, cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or ischemic stroke. Sometimes a person will suffer something called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is a “mini-stroke” that cuts off the supply of blood to the brain but does not cause lasting brain damage; although there is not permanent damage, there is a high risk of suffering a repeat TIA or a full stroke if not properly treated. Signs that a stroke is happening or has just occurred include sudden weakness or numbness of an arm, leg, or face – commonly just one side, sudden difficulty speaking, sudden difficulty walking or loss of balance, trouble seeing through one or both eyes, or sudden onset severe headache.

In support of Stroke Awareness Month, we invite you to learn more about stroke: how to minimize the risk of one occurring, and how to recognize one happening so that medical help can be called for as soon as possible.  Check in to our blog or Facebook throughout the month of May for more information on stroke and how to participate in awareness campaigns in your area.