Caregivers are always on the go. AARP reports that nearly one-third of the total U.S. population Ė 65.7 million people Ė acts as caregivers to seniors and individuals with disabilities. These caregivers tend to spend a lot of time on the road, driving to everything from doctorsí appointments and physical therapy sessions to family visits and cultural outings. A versatile, multipurpose vehicle can help caregivers deliver better quality care, with more efficiency and less stress for everyone.
Desirable Features for Caregiver Vehicles
Having the right vehicle can make all the difference when transporting a person with limited mobility. If youíre a caregiver, here are a few features to consider:
- Easy access. If you care for special-needs children, look for a vehicle thatís low enough for them to climb in and out of on their own, not a high SUV or pickup truck. If you care for someone who is wheelchair bound, look for a seat thatís relatively at the same level as a wheelchair. If you care for a senior or disabled person, minivans and crossovers offer the best access.
- Roomy interior. A wide vehicle interior with comfortable seats and well-designed seat belts makes securing passengers easier. Since you may be hauling around a lot of equipment, be sure that the cargo area or trunk has enough space for your needs and that you donít have to reach too far down to lift up something heavy.
- Sliding doors. Minivans tend to have side doors that slide open for easier access. Some models can even be operated remotely.
- Rear hatches. Many crossovers and minivans have remote keyless access to the rear of the vehicle. This feature is especially useful if youíre multitasking in a busy parking lot and donít want to fumble with keys.
- GPS. A global navigation system can help you find the nearest hospital or pharmacy more quickly.
- Rear-seat DVD player. A DVD player is a great way to keep your passengers entertained.
- Good mileage. Vehicles with good fuel economy and mileage ratings are more efficient and cost less to operate. Crossovers tend to get better fuel economy than SUVs.
The most popular minivans and crossovers are priced from the mid-$20,000 range to $40,000.
Auto makers are responding to the needs of an aging population by producing more vehicle features that help people with limited mobility get around easier, such as wheelchair ramps or hydraulic lifts. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is a great resource for finding dealers in your area with expertise in vehicle modification.
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