Becoming a caregiver for a person in a wheelchair requires a lot of changes, and how you handle transportation is one of the most important changes. If you have a parent, child, or spouse that is going to need a wheelchair permanently or for an extended period of time, buying your own wheelchair accessible van is often the most practical way to ensure that you can take your loved one to doctor's appointments, work, school, and just go out and have fun. But choosing and paying for a wheelchair accessible van may be more complicated than you'd expect. Here are some tips to help you as you're shopping for the transportation solution for you and your loved one.
Look for Financial Help
Equipping a van with the features that a person with disabilities needs is expensive, and that means that wheelchair accessible vans are typically more expensive to purchase. But you may not have to shoulder the financial burden alone. Depending on your family's personal situation, you may qualify for a grant that will help you pay for the van. Gather your loved one's medical information, the family financials, and any other necessary information, and fill out applications for any grant that you think you might qualify for. Be prepared to wait—approval can take time, but your patience will pay off with a lighter financial burden.
If you don't qualify for a grant, or if you do but the grant money doesn't fully cover your expenses, you can also apply for a loan. Dealers that specialize in wheelchair accessible vans and adaptive driving equipment often have relationships with banks that make loans to people in your situation.
Know What You Need
A wheelchair accessible van should be equipped to meet your loved one's specific needs. Each wheelchair accessible van you look at may be somewhat different, because there are many different ways to adapt a vehicle. It's a good idea to make a list of exactly what your van needs and take it with you when you go looking for vehicles.
Will your loved one be driving the van some or all of the time? In that case, they may need assistive driving devices. Will you need to carry more than one wheelchair? You may need a different securing mechanism than for one that will only be carrying one wheelchair. Is the wheelchair in question especially large or custom-made? That might also require changes in the method of securing the chair. Having a list of what you need will help the dealer help you find the van that suits all of your needs.
Try Before You Buy
Because wheelchair accessible vans are so expensive, you need to know for sure that you have the one that you want before investing in it. The best way to do that is to try it out for a while. Many dealers will allow potential customers to rent a wheelchair accessible van to try it out before buying. Ask the dealer in your area if this is a possibility.
Finding the right wheelchair accessible van can seem daunting, but if you're prepared ahead of time, you can find financial help and be sure that you're getting the van you want with the features you need.Share
14 November 2014
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