Buying a Wheelchair Van for a Loved One - A Personal Story - The Mobility Resource

Buying a Wheelchair Van for a Loved One – A Personal Story

January 13, 2021


It’s normal for people to want to act immediately when a loved one has a stroke or suffers a debilitating injury. Unfortunately, making rash emotional decisions on what to do about accessible travel isn’t always the best long-term solution. Only a year ago I was involved with having to make these decisions for my father (now passed). Each situation is very different and requires an informed and knowledgeable decision that accounts for both short and long-term considerations. Talking to a certified mobility consultant and learning as much information as possible is the best advice that I can give. The following is what came about within my own family.

My Father’s Story

My father was 88 years old when he passed in March 2019. He suffered from a variety of different ailments, including congestive heart failure and diabetes. He needed to use a portable oxygen concentrator to breathe without difficulty. In the years leading up to his death, he needed a walker to get around and had bi-weekly visits with a physical therapist. The water gain in his legs and feet from the diabetes eventually led to him needing to use a wheelchair. We were fortunate that his home was built to be accessible and he was able to continue living with my mother up until the last few weeks of his life. My father and mother hadn’t been driving in years and no longer owned a vehicle. My adult siblings and I had many discussions regarding whether or not we should buy a new or used wheelchair van. How else would Mom and Dad, now using a wheelchair, get to where they needed to go? We talked about the cost of purchasing vs. leasing a wheelchair van – and what type of ramp conversions would be best for their needs. Dad was more concerned about Mom and her future welfare. He had always looked out for her and had made many sacrifices in life to make sure she would be cared for – long after his death.

elderly man in a wheelchair

Decision Time

After many different discussions with the entire family and a local mobility consultant, we eventually decided not to purchase a van and opted to rent a wheelchair van whenever it was needed. This was not an easy decision because we all wanted to make the last years of his life as easy and joyful as possible. Unfortunately, once Dad had started a downturn in health, his ailments progressed rapidly.  We were also very fortunate that the assisted living community where his condo was located had a non-emergency medical transportation service for doctor’s appointments and medical procedures. In retrospect, we made the right decision because the wheelchair van would have only been used for a few months before his passing. The money we didn’t spend then is now being used to help care for my mother’s needs – and I know in my heart that Dad wouldn’t want it any other way. That doesn’t mean a personal-use wheelchair van is just what your family needs to provide mom or dad with many years of joy and independence. Everyone’s situation is unique to their family. 

Need Help Deciding Which Wheelchair Van is Best for Your Loved One?

Most of us are caring sons and daughters who only want the best for our loved ones. Making a more informed, smart investment in purchasing a wheelchair van doesn’t mean you love them any less. Circumstances often change when a loved one can no longer walk on their own. The type of vehicle or adaptive equipment, in addition to the need for home modifications, can dramatically change along with those circumstances. Our certified mobility dealers will take the time to learn about your unique situation with a free mobility consultation and needs assessment. We are happy to spend as much time as needed to discuss available wheelchair van models and financing arrangements. Reach out to speak with our mobility experts today!

About the Author

Guy Hanford is a marketing and business development professional with more than a dozen years of experience in the specialty vehicle industry. He is now an independent writer/contributor to The Mobility Resource blog and working for Vesteras LLC, a Cleveland area marketing services agency.

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