Transporting a loved one who uses a wheelchair can be stressful and physically taxing for many older adults. It can even put them at risk for injury as they struggle to assist the person in or out of the vehicle’s seat, or to get the wheelchair in and out of the trunk of the car.
Portable Handle Devices
Portable assistance bars or straps can offer a senior a helpful handhold into the car. Be sure that they are placed correctly. It’s a good idea to consult a physical therapist to ensure that the arrangement is safe for both the senior and the assistant.
A swivel cushion sits in the passenger seat of the car. It can make it much easier for the senior to turn to face forward, or turn back towards the door when it’s time to get out of the car. This can be helpful for seniors who can get in and out of the car without much help, but have difficulty turning.
Seniors with long-term mobility challenges sometimes opt for wheelchair ramps or extensive vehicle modifications, but these tend to be pricey. Be sure to do your research to determine which will be the best in your unique situation.
In general, these features can make vehicle travel easier with a wheelchair:
- Higher seats can make it easier to get in and out of the car
- Plenty of legroom for turning
- Reclining seats can make it easier to swing legs into the car
- Electric seats and windows offer easier control
- Easily accessible cargo space to transport the wheelchair, groceries or other items
- Hands-free navigation assistance can help with real-time directions to new destinations
- Electronic parking assistance and backup cameras
Home Care Assistance
Regardless of the number of helpful gadgets on hand, many seniors find that it just isn’t worth the energy, trouble and risk of injury to try to assist their loved one in and out of a car, push their wheelchair around a shopping center, and then try to hoist everything back into the car again afterward. Many seniors opt instead to enlist the services of a home care agency for transportation or shopping support.
Home care transportation support starts out with a professional home care aide reporting to the senior’s home. The aide can assist the senior to get ready to go if needed. They can assist a senior into the vehicle safely, and then load up the wheelchair. From there, they can either drive the senior(s) to their destination, or ride along in the vehicle to assist with disembarking when it’s time. As a bonus, the home care aide can also assist during the outing as needed. They can push a wheelchair, carry shopping bags, or even assist a senior in the restroom, if needed. When it’s time to go, they can help the senior, the wheelchair and any shopping bags back into the vehicle, and then get them home, safe and sound.
While transportation support is perfect in some circumstances, some seniors opt to skip it altogether and simply send the aide to the store with a shopping list on their behalf. The senior saves precious energy, and when the aide returns they can even put away the groceries – or engage in any of the housekeeping or numerous other services from their menu. What a service!