Whether you are someone receiving care or a caregiver, our goal is always to help you get the best possible assistance. Here are some important considerations for you who assist people with reduced mobility in and around vehicles.
In case you are looking after a person with reduced mobility, the choice of accessible transportation may depend on many external circumstances. Especially if you are planning to get a wheelchair-accessible vehicle or adapt your vehicle, several factors then need to be considered. An accessible vehicle may be convenient and effective for persons with reduced mobility. However, the available vehicle at best even provides relief to the caregiver's health and needs.
Meeting the transportation needs of everyone involved
When taking care of people with disabilities or seniors, taking care of yourself is just as important. If the care work you do also includes transportation, how and what you drive makes a lot of difference. That is why we have put together a couple of important questions for people who receive and provide care in and around a vehicle.
Have you thought about yourself?
We hope these questions are helpful in addressing your very own requirements and allowing you to take care of yourself as well:
- Is there a need for a transfer of a wheelchair or other mobility device?
- How can the device be stored?
- Will everything and everyone needed fit in this vehicle?
- How do both caregiver and person in need of care get in and out of the vehicle?
- What will caregiving look like in a few years, and will it affect vehicle requirements?
- What vehicle, adaptation, or solution will be most suitable for you in the future?
Caring for someone with reduced mobility can be physically challenging, even for a strong and active caregiver. Heavy lifting has the potential to cause long-term injuries. It surely can feel difficult, to stay healthy for yourself and those you take care of. At the same time, it's important to take care of yourself for the long term. For that reason, comfort and support are necessary aspects when it comes to accessibility and vehicle adaptation.
Most vehicles can easily be fitted with solutions such as hand controls, pedals, and hoists. Swivel seats, wheelchair lifts, and ramps all have different requirements that can make certain vehicles more suitable. For instance, a ramp is going to be easier to install on some types of cars than others. But how can a vehicle be customized to serve the needs of everyone transported, including caregivers?
Safety and health first
Everyone should be able to travel safely in any vehicle, no matter their abilities or needs. That requires products for vehicle adaptation that offer comfort and functionality in automobiles that are generally safe and reliable. These products should be able to guarantee high safety through accredited tests in recognized institutions. Keep in mind that safety, testing, and approval requirements may differ from country to country. Noteworthy European examples are institutions such as RISE (Sweden), TÜV (Germany), Millbrook Proving Ground (UK), and TASS International (the Netherlands).
Certain means of transportation require you to lift the person in need in and out of the vehicle, but that might not be supportable for your own physical needs. Try to find sustainable solutions that ensure comfort over time - and for everybody involved. To help you to find the right car for the modifications you want we have selected a list of 2022’s 5 best cars for people with disabilities.
5 tips for self-caring for you who cares for others
Providing care can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. Whether you are a professional carer or caring for someone you love, remembering your own needs is essential but no easy task. It is thus crucial to develop strategies to keep your physical and mental resources balanced while supporting others. Because when your needs are supported, the person you care for will benefit too. There are many ways you can take care of yourself as a caregiver. You can find many practical tips and guidelines on personal care and mental health from various trusted public institutions, such as the Harvard Medical School, or the British NHS for instance, online.
5 tips to help you to take care of yourself
Amongst the most common recommendations, we put together the following:
- Self-compassion: Be aware of your circumstances and be mindful of your requirements.
- Stay connected: Maintain a connection to your social relations, families, and friends, but also seek support from caregivers' support groups around you if you feel the need to do so.
- Time to sleep and eat: Make sure you prioritize eating right and have good sleeping habits.
- Breathe in and work out: Try relaxation practices and breathing techniques (e.g., yoga, meditation), as well as regular physical activities like sports or workout routines.
- Observe, reflect, and learn: Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness) in your current future and try to learn new skills for the future ahead of you.