I guess I’m naive. I thought buying a used wheelchair van would solve our transportation problems. No more taxi reservations, waiting for the taxi to arrive, or paying high fares. While these things are true, I have found that trips in our wheelchair van require detailed planning.
We live in Minnesota and the weather can be an issue. The night before a van trip we get the latest weather report, particularly the wind chill. Severe chills in the minus 30 range can freeze the meat. My husband’s medications also give him a cold, another issue to consider. If you have a wheelchair van or are thinking about buying one, these tips can help. Get more here about this article Rolstoeltaxi Bestellen.
- Dress in layers, if necessary. Winter came a month early in Minnesota. Residents complain and pull winter clothes out of closets. My husband wears a sweatshirt that is easy to put on and take off during medical exams. The next layer is a wool sweater. His final layer is a winter coat that weighs about 10 pounds and keeps him warm. To make things easier, he wears it backwards.
- Check the gas. It is possible that he forgot to refuel or is running out of fuel. Personally, I don’t like the fuel gauge being below half. When I go shopping, I stop at the gas station on the way home and fill up the truck. We bought it two weeks ago and the dealer said he had new oil and antifreeze.
- Position the van correctly. Our driveway is sloped and my husband prefers to board the truck where the driveway meets the street. Unfortunately, if I don’t stop properly, the ramp will only open halfway due to the rain gutter. I have to position the van in a way that allows the ramp to clear the ditch, a tip I learned the hard way. You may also have to adapt your approach.
- Check your electronic keys. Our first few trips in the van were uneventful. Not so with current travel. Ramp control electronic key not working. Fortunately, I know where the emergency button is and I can drive the ramp with it. The key may need new batteries or may need to be replaced.
- Allow double the time. Helping a disabled person takes more time. In my husband’s case, the rear wheels of his power wheelchair tend to turn in the wrong direction. Straightening the wheels can take a minute, or five minutes, ten minutes or more. So we start preparing 45 minutes or an hour in advance.
- Be kind to yourself. I hate to admit this, but several tips have tested my patience. When I got ready for the trip, helped my husband load, took him to our destination and brought him home again, I am exhausted. That’s why “Be kind to yourself” is my last piece of advice. I am learning to be more patient with myself and with my husband.
You might want to start with a short trip, like going to the grocery store, and then get more adventurous, going to an art museum, movie, or craft show. Once you get used to it, wheelchair van rides are convenient and fun. The best of all is that you are with the person you love so much.