Mobility-Friendly Car Accessories for Seniors
Many seniors have trouble simply using cars. Whether they’re the drivers or passengers, normal aging and health issues can hinder a person’s mobility, making it harder to get into and out of vehicles. In these cases, they may require assistance from caregivers.
Fortunately, mobility-friendly car accessories are available to make the lives of seniors and caregivers easier.
1. Assist Bars or Straps
Small enough to fit into a purse or coat pocket, an assist bar is a small, L-shaped device. The shorter side slides into the U-shaped latch of a vehicle doorjamb. Then, the longer side sticks out so that seniors can use it as a handle. This longer side also has padding for comfort, and some brands have built-in flashlights or key compartments.
Also called a support strap, this device has the same purpose. However, the difference is that it’s placed around a car door window frame. The wide handle hangs down so that seniors can grasp it and get into the front seat easier. For the back seat, the strap attaches to the metal posts that support the headrest of the front seat, providing horizontal support.
2. Seat Belt Reachers
With limited torso and shoulder mobility, it can be really difficult for seniors to reach seat belts and pull them across their bodies. A seat belt reacher attaches to the seat belt, and its long handle is easier to grab than the seat belt itself.
3. Buckle Aids
Arthritis makes unbuckling a seat belt painful and troublesome. For seniors with limited strength in their hands and thumbs, a buckle aid makes it easier to push in the button to release a standard seat belt. They simply push the rubber tip into the release button.
4. Swivel Cushions
A swivel cushion sits in a vehicle seat. When seniors sit on it, they don’t have to swing their feet to get into and out of a car. Instead, the cushion rotates to make the process more manageable. It’s a great solution to try before looking into more expensive vehicle equipment and modifications.
5. Wheelchair Ramps
For seniors who use wheelchairs, it’s possible to make vehicles more wheelchair accessible with ramps. There are two types: fold-up ramps and in-floor ramps. It’s easier to maneuver a fold-up ramp when the floor of the vehicle is low. Also, it’s less strenuous to push or wheel the chair up because the ramp is sitting at a shallow angle. Unlike an in-floor ramp, though, it takes up space in the vehicle.
6. Wheelchair Docking Stations
When seniors sit in wheelchairs while riding in a vehicle, the chairs need to be secured to the floor so that they don’t roll around. Wheelchair docking stations lock the chairs into place to ensure that they remain as safe as possible.
7. Valet Seats
While wheelchair docking stations are generally safe, valet seats are considered even safer. Rather than sitting in their wheelchairs, seniors sit in installed seats that replace the original vehicle seats. Also known as Turny seats, they’re motor powered to turn and lower to the ground so that seniors can transfer into them. Then, the seat lifts and rotates into place inside of the car.
If you take care of a loved one with limited mobility, you might need help or be unable to assist with getting him or her into and out of your vehicle. Caring Home Care’s coordinators can connect you with a certified caregiver who is willing and able to provide the assistance that your loved one needs to live an easier and more fulfilling life.