Tag Archives: mobility needs

Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists

Getting on the road to independence can be a long and twisting journey, but there are individuals, businesses and organizations ready, willing and able to help make it a smooth ride. Working with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) and a Mobility Dealer is one of the first and most important steps to take when purchasing mobility equipment or a new or used handicap accessible vehicle. Below are just some of the ways these specialists can make it easier for you to get behind the wheel.

Assessing Your Needs
Before taking to the road, you must complete a driving evaluation to determine your abilities as a driver. A CDRS-conducted evaluation will not only asses your driving skills as a driver with a disability, but will also match you with the most appropriate and best solutions for your mobility needs.

Safety First
By ensuring your mobility needs are met, a driving evaluation from a CDRS can help ensure you’ll be safer while on the road. These comprehensively trained specialists work with Mobility Dealers that are extremely knowledgeable about mobility solutions, provide individual, in-person evaluations and with their support and guidance, you can feel confident knowing that your time behind the wheel will be as secure as possible.

Adapted Driving Programs
A number of organizations also offer Adapted Driving Programs designed to help drivers with disabilities feel confident behind the wheel. Under the guidance of a CDRS, drivers can get hands-on training on how to stay safe and in control on the road. Some programs, such as senior safety courses, even help individuals find the best driving routes to common destinations and assist in learning rules and regulations affecting their driving environments.

Hand Control Options

Before going out and purchasing any type of modified device for a vehicle, it’s important to know exactly which hand controls are right for you and your particular needs to ensure that you are in control behind the wheel.

What type of hand control options are available?
Hand controls are designed to help drivers operate the vehicle with limited or no use of their legs. Hand controls are used to control the accelerator and brake pedals along with the steering wheel.

Mechanical hand controls can include a spinner knob, which you position and adjust to your liking on your steering wheel. A spinner knob allows drivers to steer with one hand, while the other hand is free to control the lever that is connected to the accelerator and brake. There are multiple types of hand controls but one of the common ways the device works is by pulling it down to accelerate and pushing it forward to brake.

Another option includes electrical hand controls. An accelerator ring, which is a halo-like device that can be placed on any steering wheel, turns with the steering wheel and the amount of pressure being placed on the ring controls the speed of the car. The brake function is controlled by a lever located on the side of the steering wheel that can be installed either on the left of the right depending on the comfort of the driver.

Which kind of controls fit your needs?
Decision-making can be overwhelming, especially when there are different hand control options to choose from. Luckily, a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist can help you determine what type of hand control is best for your mobility needs, as well as let you test each option to evaluate the efficiency. These specialists can also recommend other kinds of adaptive technology to make your time behind the wheel safer and more comfortable.

How do I install mobility equipment?
Installation of hand controls or any other type of adaptive mobility equipment should always be done by a qualified adaptive mobility specialist. Once you’ve determined what type of equipment is right for you, you should contact your local mobility dealer to determine how you can go about implementing these technologies within your current vehicle.

Un-Converted Senior-Friendly Vehicles

Are you looking for comfortable seating, a roomy driving position, safety, good visibility and wide doors with high entries/lowered floors so you don’t have to struggle to get in and out? In a vehicle with style, of course! Well now most automakers are designing cars with features that are more senior-friendly.

What to look for:

  • Sliding rear doors that require little strength or even better, power sliding doors. Power anything is a plus.
  • Brighter instrument displays and larger type.
  • Doors that open wider.
  • Navigation screens closer to eye level and not at arm’s length.
  • Large side mirrors.

AAA recommends that drivers look for vehicles with features that address their specific health issues/mobility needs:

  • For hip, knee or leg problems, a 6-way adjustable power seat is easier for drivers to enter and exit. Also look for seat heights that hit the driver between mid-thigh and lower buttocks.
  • Arthritic hands, painful or stiff fingers benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and larger dashboard controls.
  • Those with diminished vision should look for extendable sun visors, large audio and climate controls and easy-to-read displays with contrasting text. And less glare. (Blue-green instrument lighting is easier to read than red.)
  • A roomy trunk that can fit a walker or wheelchair.

If you can’t find one car that has it all, remember that there are many different types of adaptive equipment that could work for you. Adaptive equipment options vary from the ability to control secondary functions like turn signals and wipers with a touchscreen or voice control to pedal extenders, swivel seats and much more.

Find Financial Resources for Your Mobility Needs

Far too often, you find it hard to afford many of the tools and resources that you need in everyday life. For that reason, there are several alternative ways to get funding that will ensure that you get the assistance you need to live a hassle-free life without worrying about breaking the bank.

Here are a few sources of financial assistance to look into if you are finding it hard to cover all of your mobility expenses.

Usually offered only through private companies, Medicare can be a good option for certain medical devices and equipment and is based on your medical necessity for the goods or services you may need help with.

While there is no exclusive list in terms of medical equipment covered, cases are approved on a case-by-case basis. Medicaid is a great option to look into if your expenses and needs aren’t covered by Medicare.

The IRS:
Did you know that certain mobility aids such as adaptive driving equipment can be deducted from your federal taxes? Contact your local tax adviser to see what equipment and supplies you use regularly to see if they can be deducted.

State Programs:
Check with your state’s vocational rehabilitation agencies to see if your mobility needs are approved for financial assistance. If any of it helps you get to work or perform your job efficiently, you may be covered here. Aside from that, you may also want to check out your local Center for Independent Living to see if they have any other resources that you can look into for financial assistance.

If you’ve recently had any adaptive equipment or ramps installed in your vehicle—or, for that matter, if you’ve recently purchased wheelchair van—there are some dealerships that will reimburse you for such things. Check with your local mobility-friendly dealership to learn more.

With these resources at your disposal, you can hopefully stop worrying about money and focus more on living a stress-free life where your mobility needs are easily met.

Accessible Vehicle Options

We hear a lot of talk about which accessible vehicle to buy. It all depends on your mobility needs and your lifestyle. There are several sizes to choose from:

Minivans are taller than a sedan or station wagon and easier to maneuver than full-sized vans. Many have sliding doors as well as out-swing doors. They come in large, compact, mini and micro sizes.

Minivans can hold manual wheelchairs, many electric wheelchairs, electric scooters and walkers.

Full-Size Vans
Full-size vans are designed to transport cargo and/or groups of people. They are taller than other private vehicles and ideal for larger families or those with “cargo”- i.e. power wheelchairs.

Full-size vans are spacious enough for manual wheelchairs, 2 electric wheelchairs, electric scooters and walkers.

It’s difficult for anyone to get into the back seat of a 2-door vehicle. A 4-door is easier. If you use a walker or wheelchair, you need a car with a roomy trunk and a low lip height for easier loading. Some sedans have a hatchback in place of a trunk lid – the entire back of the vehicle lifts up for easier loading.

Sedans and hatchbacks are roomy enough for portable manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs that can be disassembled, compact or partially dissembled scooters and walkers.

Station Wagons
A station wagon has a old school connotation but they are typically roomier than a sedan and handy for loading with its tailgate at the rear. Fold-down rear seats accommodate either passengers or cargo.

Station wagons have ample space for manual wheelchairs, compact electric wheelchairs, electric scooters and walkers.

Depending on your budget, you can also adapt SUVs, Pick-up Trucks and some Sports Cars. With the rising price of gasoline you will want to consider how important good gas mileage is to you versus style and convenience.