Vehicles for the Elderly - Cars Trucks or SUVs?

How can cars or SUVs be adapted so someone doesn’t have to limit their travel due to physical limitations?

Mark in Michigan, 46

There has been a tremendous improvement in this area in the last decade. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans can now be modified before they are purchased or on the aftermarket. No matter what your elder’s handicap may be, vehicles today can be adapted so that even a quadriplegic or paraplegic can operate them.

Each limitation now seems to have its own set of adapted equipment. I’m talking about installing handicapped driving controls, safety travel chairs, and a lazy Susan-type of apparatus so a person can use his or her own body weight to work for them instead of non-functioning body muscle. Ramps can also be installed so it’s easier to get in and out of the vehicle even if someone is confined to a wheelchair. There are also chair lifts available for installation.

Many elderly simply stop driving since it becomes too difficult to operate the vehicle. But as long as your elder has an ability that can be overcome by adapted equipment, consider exploring this option. It can be as simple as adding a larger rear-view mirror so he or she has a wider view of the back. Extra large side mirrors with a fisheye are also available to give your elder a different and better perspective of other traffic. Anything to enhance your elder’s judgment and safety should be considered.

Finally, it’s also crucial that you take various safety precautions when your elder is driving in case of emergency. This includes having safety flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, a small throwaway camera in case of an accident, a pad and pen, and an extra insulated camping blanket. Also be sure your elder has all emergency telephone numbers on one sheet of paper with them at all times, including roadside services.

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