Sunday, November 04, 2007

National Family Caregivers Month "Tools of the Trade" - van Pt 11

"Tools of the Trade" / Vehicles Pt. II


Ramp vs Lift


    Lift conversion raises the vehicle roof.

    Ramp conversion lowers the vehicle floor.


Your converted vehicle height can be a significant factor should you intend to keep your van in your household garage or want to be able to use parking garages. Clipping off all those overhead pipes in a parking garage is frowned upon in most municipalities. <grin>


     Lift is a mini elevator.

     Ramp extends outward.


Consider where you will most often be using it. A ramp requires the most adjacent free space to deploy.


Fold-out ramp vs under floor ramp


     An under floor ramp extends from and retracts into the floor of the van. A fold out ramp works much like a bird’s wing unfolding outward and then folding back up into the van.


     Personally I believe that appliances and machinery conspire to randomly disrupt my plans, so I prefer the fold out ramp because it is easiest to manually operate if technology chooses to behave badly.


Who, What & Why?


Will only the caregiver be operating the vehicle? Assisted driving controls represent a significant cost but they may not be needed.


Tie downs options are available ranging from manual for caregiver only to more automated for use by wheelchair occupant.


Seating configuration options can also affect conversion costs.


·     Does the wheelchair need access to the front?  Patti is always unclicking her seat belt. I must keep an eye on her and have her within reach.

·     Will you want to have other passengers? Will they be ‘able bodied’ or could they also be in a wheelchair?


Can other people get in and out of the van? Does the ramp or lift obstruct door access unless deployed? Most new vans have two side doors but older models may only have one. 


Most people will find themselves shopping for something they never imagined needing or even knew existed, a hybrid of motor vehicle and medical equipment. 


Shopping for assistive technology can be overwhelming. Stay focused and enjoy, the end result is empowering for everyone.


Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer


  1. This entry was very helpful, Patrick. Things I hadn't thought about before. bea

  2. love our van with folding ramp!

  3. ((((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOOU))))))))))))Thanks for sharing this.Have a nice day.

  4. I had a lift with a VW van! No, wasn't tie-dyed with huge flowers either! <grin>
    Actually, the controls caught on fire one time. Thank goodness Charlie wasn't in it! Or me either, but was just a pain in the a... butt!

    Great topics!


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