NMEDA Provides Tips For Shopping For A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

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May is National Mobility Awareness Month - Go Online to Win A Van

Shopping for a vehicle can be a long hunt, no matter what specifications an individual is looking for. While May is National Mobility Awareness Month with the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) sponsoring the online Local Heroes Contest giving people the opportunity to win a free wheelchair accessible vehicle, it is a good time to consider the mobility solutions now available on the market.

Imagine being a caregiver of someone who uses a wheelchair and shopping for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. There are a lot of variables to consider. Luckily, there are resources like the non-profit member organization NMEDA and Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealers across the United States and Canada that can help. Here are some questions to consider to make the search for a wheelchair accessible vehicle easier.

Where Should The Person Sit?
When driving, make sure the person with the disability is held secure in his or her seating and it is restrained from movement while the vehicle is in motion. The safest place for them to be locked in is the center or the rear of the vehicle. NMEDA QAP dealers will choose the right wheelchair accessible vehicle for the individuals needs factoring in: height, size of wheelchair, medical needs and equipment that needs to accompany him or her —which leads to considering which entry style is right for you.

Side or Rear Entry Vehicle?
Choosing a side or rear entry wheelchair van comes down to the passenger’s equipment and what’s necessary and easiest for transporting. A rear-entry vehicle is ideal if the passenger has limited mobility and uses a ventilator or feeding tube. If they have more flexible mobility, side entry is an option that allows them to maneuver themselves into place. With the rear entry, a caregiver has the option of sitting next to the passenger.

In-Floor or Fold-Out Ramps?
Another option to consider is whether or not to use an in-floor or a fold-out ramp. The decision affects the number of people that can be accommodated. A fold-out ramp allows for a maximum seating of five, while an in-floor ramp provides a maximum seating of six. There’s an advantage for having either option: an in-floor ramp gives passengers clearance to use it in most instances of space, while a fold-out ramp is easier to navigate because of high side rails and can deploy manually if needed. Both are ideal for children and adults with standard to slightly oversized wheelchairs, so they’re fit for a growing child.

NMEDA QAP dealers can make the handicap vehicle selection an easier process and guide individuals to maintaining their accessible vehicle for years to come with their family. To learn more about safe transportation options and mobility solutions for those in wheelchairs, visit http://www.nmeda.com.

About National Mobility Awareness Month: May is National Mobility Awareness Month and is the annual celebration that encourages seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles. Founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) supports the awareness month with the assistance of approximately 600 members including mobility equipment QAP dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists located in the United States and Canada dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities. For updates, please visit MobilityAwarenessMonth.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter (@NMEDAcom) and Pinterest.

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Cheryl Parker
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