Tag Archives: wheelchair

Should I Get a Used or New Wheelchair Van?

Should I Get a Used or New Wheelchair Van?

Buying a wheelchair van is essential to getting around with mobility limitations. With the right van, any handicap parking area or open pavement is a place you can deploy from. For the adventurous and very busy, you may spend a great deal of time in your van traveling from mission to mission. Your van can become a home base, a road trip vessel, or your personal tour bus to enjoy the city depending on how you configure and use it.

One of the most important choices whether to by a new or used wheelchair van. This choice will guide your further selections. In fact, there are five aspects to this choice. We’ll explore the pros and cons of each one.

New Wheelchair Van

  • The latest guaranteed, warranted, off-the-line van.
  • A new van on a lot manufactured some time in the last three year

Used Wheelchair Van

  • Certified pre-owned, like-new van
  • Pre-modified wheelchair van, used with perks
  • A used van that can be modified

Brand New Van

If budget is no object, you can order the latest model of your favorite type of wheelchair van. You can order it with your favorite trim and features or pick a nice standard model and finish the modifications yourself.

A brand new wheelchair van comes with a lot of pros. The quality and performance is guaranteed, and it likely comes with a very nice warranted for the first few years. The downside is also clear. A brand new wheelchair van will be your most expensive option and has the second-most requirement for personalization to make it right for your lifestyle.

New Wheelchair Van Off the Lot

Your next option is to pick an available wheelchair van off a new vehicle lot. These new vans will have been manufactured sometime in the last 3 years, including the most common models and colors. Off-the-lot vehicles, especially from previous years, are more likely to come at a lower price and cycle through available discounts. If you have your eye on a specific model or color, look around at dealerships in your surrounding area and let them know of your interest. Dealerships eager to sell can sometimes source you what you’re looking for.

New vans off the lot are usually high-quality, guaranteed performance, and come with fair to exceptional warrantees. But they can have small defects (and discounts) due to lot events like bad weather or a year in the sun. These vans are the most likely to need modification (no special trim) but are more reasonably priced than the latest models.

Certified Preowned Wheelchair Van

If you’re buying a used wheelchair van, the best place to start is with certified pre-owned vehicles. These have been checked out by certified mechanics, often repaired and touched-up before they are sold to a new driver. Certified pre-owns tend to have lower mileage than other used vehicles and are guaranteed not to be lemons.

A certified pre-owned van will be like-new with maybe a few fades, scuffs, or missing floormats. The benefit is that the price will be significantly lower, by a few thousand at least, and the quality will be just as good. Most dealerships that sell certified pre-owned also offer good warrantees for the first few years of ownership.

Used & Pre-Modified Wheelchair Van

An interesting and affordable alternative is to buy a used wheelchair van from someone who has already modified it for their optimal use. If your driving or riding styles are similar, you could reap the benefits of a pre-modified wheelchair van. These vans tend to have more miles on them, but they can also be more comfortable, easier to use, and include personal innovations that no new van would have.

There are many used wheelchair vans on the market because needs and lifestyles change and there’s always someone looking to buy. Both the discount and the modifications can be beneficial, but it’s also a personal choice whether you’d rather a new unmodified van instead.

Used Van to Modify

The final option is a used van that might not be ideal, but can be modified. Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or can’t find the right wheelchair van, remember that you don’t have to start with the perfect design. It’s okay to think outside the box when it comes to used wheelchair vans. In fact, if you have a unique idea for your wheelchair van, it’s sometimes easier to start with a cleaner slate, like an empty cargo van with the right kind of doors. If this is your goal, you can save a bundle by broadening your used van search criteria for the best body at the lowest cost.

Learn More About a Used vs New Wheelchair Van

Should you buy a new or used wheelchair van? The answer will come down to your budget, your plans, and the vans available in your area. New and certified preowned vans come with guaranteed performance and warranties. At the same time, used wheelchair vans are easily modifiable and in a more comfortable price range. The choice is yours.

The New Mattel Hot Wheel Is a Wheelchair Model Die-Cast Car

father and son playing with The New Mattel Hot Wheel Is a Wheelchair Model Die-Cast Car

For over 50 years, Mattel’s Hot Wheels die-cast cars have been a smashing success with children of all ages. Many kids grow up to collect classic cars and newer models hitting the marketplace.

Brief Hot Wheel History

The first set of die-cast Hot Wheel cars came out in 1968 in a lineup called “Sweet 16”. The original set included custom designs based on hot rods available in the real world reflecting California’s custom car culture. Some of the beloved automobiles available during initial release were customized versions of the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Volkswagen Beetle.

Mattel’s co-founder, Elliot Handler, envisioned tiny hot rods while playing with his children in 1966. At the time, he realized die-cast cars were lackluster in their performance and not very agile. Indeed, there was a lack of variety of models and variations. After his first prototype rolled off the production line, Handler exclaimed, “Those are some hot wheels!” So the title for the new toys was born and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Wheelie HW Ride-On Chair

Over a half-century after the first Hot Wheel, the creative minds at Mattel dreamt up a new design called the Wheelie Chair. The model resembles the actual wheelchair ridden in real life by Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham. For those unaware, Fotheringham is an extreme wheelchair athlete. The BMX-inspired, skateboard-related stunts are nothing short of spectacular.

It was Aaron who coined the phrase, “It’s a wheelchair, not a prison” and you can check out a video of him performing tricks and taking flight in one of his many online videos. Fotheringham is an inspiration to many people regardless of their abilities and reminds us all to live our best self and not to let obstacles stand in the way of our success.

Miniaturized Riders

A wheelchair needs a rider so Mattel partnered with the Lego brand of building blocks to equip their Wheelie chairs with an operator from their miniature figurine MegaBloks collection. Any of the Lego minifigs will snap into place on the specially designed ride-on chairs as their hands can clip onto the rail that extends from one side, across the rear, and onto the other side as well. The figurines are also able to grasp part of the base that extends past the footrest.

To emulate Aaron’s, the chair is lime green with bright orange wheels. Further, it comes with licensed decor from the daredevil. Fotheringham’s image and signature are on the packaging.

Perfect Pairing

Hot Wheels paired with Aaron Fotheringham and the Danish Lego toymaker makes a fun addition to Mattel’s kid-friendly products. It was the brainchild of Mattel Designer Alvin Chan as part of the 2019 Hot Wheels “C” case assortment. Children of all abilities request this particular addition. Then, purchased by collectors looking to add to their beloved inventory of Hot Wheels.

Learn More About the New Mattel Hot Wheel

When you’re in the market for an actual, full-sized vehicle capable of transporting a wheelchair and its real-life occupant, check out our inventory of handicapped accessible vans. We’ve got hundreds of these specially designed vehicles available.

An Introduction to 5 Sports Organizations for People With Disabilities

Disabled basketball player bouncing the ball for sports

Dribbling a basketball on the court.

A physical disability doesn’t have to keep you out of the game. Indeed, several organizations provide people with disabilities an opportunity to show their abilities through sports.

Disabled Sports USA

This organization helps people with permanent disabilities increase their independence and confidence through adaptive sports. The organization serves youth and adults via its network of 140 chapters spread over 42 states. Disabled Sports USA offers more than 50 sports. Thus, here is a sample of the sports available.

  • Archery
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Power soccer
  • Rock climbing
  • Sailing
  • Scuba
  • Sled hockey
  • Snowboarding
  • Surfing
  • Water skiing
  • Wheelchair basketball

Each year, the organization hosts the Hartford Ski Spectacular, a winter sports festival for people with disabilities. Indeed, the week-long event attracts over 800 participants to Breckenridge, Colorado.

Disabled Sports USA was founded in 1967 to assist veterans wounded in the Vietnam War. Today, the organization’s Warfighter Sports program gives severely wounded warriors opportunities to participate in adaptive sports at no cost to these military veterans.

National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD)

The Colorado-based NSCD was launched nearly 50 years ago to teach skiing to children with amputations. However, in the intervening years, the organization has expanded to serve youth and adults with any disability. Now, NSCD’s programming includes adaptive lessons for airgun training, archery, alpine skiing, snowboarding, ski biking, canoeing, kayaking, cross country skiing, rock climbing, river rafting, snowshoeing, and horseback riding.

In addition, the organization offers a variety of camping experiences. Some camps are designed for a specific population. For example, there’s a weekend camp for women with physical disabilities. Other camps, like the Basketball Clinic, help the participants sharpen a skill.

Although disabled military veterans may participate in any program, NSCD has designed these programs for them.

  • Ski and Snowboard Program for Military Veterans
  • Veterans Camp
  • Family Camp
  • Paralympic Experience
  • Rocky Mountain Adventure

International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS)

The organization bills itself as the “Founder of the Original Paralympic Games”. IWAS provides competitive opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities. Further, this is accomplished through two signature events: IWAS World Games and IWAS Youth World Games.

Both are held every other year. The host country decides which Paralympic sports will be part of the games. Further, host countries may choose from archery, athletics, powerlifting, shooting, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby, table tennis, and volleyball.

IWAS Youth World Games, formerly known as the IWAS World Junior Games, introduce young people to the thrill of international competition. Each competition is divided by age group. The classes are under 23, under 20, and under 17.

IWAS is also the governing body for powerchair hockey and wheelchair fencing.

National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA)

“Roll With Us”. That’s the motto of the NWBA. Further, the invitation is open to anyone with a qualified physical disability. Also, many men, women, and youth have accepted their invitation. The NWBA has a network of over 200 wheelchair basketball teams in 22 conferences.

In the Junior Prep Division, players aged 13 and under can develop their skills by shooting hoops into a basket that 8.5 feet high. However, youth with more advanced skills may play in the Junior 10′ (Varsity) Division. The Adult Divisions are:

  • Division I
  • II
  • III
  • Women’s
  • Intercollegiate Women’s
  • Intercollegiate Men’s

The NWBA hosts an annual national tournament. Indeed, the best teams for each division play for their division’s national title.

American Wheelchair Bowling Association (AWBA)

AWBA hosts 8 to 12 tournaments for wheelchair bowlers each year. In fact, the competitions are held around the country. There’s a national tournament that has a different host city each June. Then, bowlers compete in one of four divisions according to their skill level. Lastly, the divisions range from Novice Division to the elite Scratch Division.

7 Accessible Bathroom Modification Tips

Working together with disability in the bathroom.

The right bathroom design is an essential part of living with a physical disability. This is where your most complex and potentially risky self-care activities take place. The bathroom is where we all want to be the most independent. Of course, most bathrooms are not initially designed for wheelchair safety or access. If you’re looking to make a bathroom more wheelchair accessible, we’ve put together a helpful collection of tips.

Room to Roll

Spacing is incredibly important for an accessible bathroom, especially for wheelchair accessibility. The ADA has some great guidelines for how many inches are needed between bathroom fixtures to allow a wheelchair to get around. Grab your tape measure and find out if your bathroom as-is is big enough for wheelchair accessibility or if there are a few renovations that can make it more accessibly spaced.

In addition, you should also think about picking things up off the floor like hampers and bathmats that might serve as obstructions to wheelchair mobility in the bathroom.

Wheel-Friendly Bathmats

Normal fluffy bathmats are not wheelchair-friendly, as you may have already discovered. That fluff tends to catch on wheels and sometimes stop rolling entirely. Fortunately, there are more rollable alternatives to traditional bathmats. Firm rubber bathmats with holes allow the watershed from a bath or shower to evaporate without a mess while making it easier for a wheelchair to roll across the bathroom.

Lowered Floating Sink

floating sink is a sink that has no cabinet underneath, so it looks like it is ‘floating’ against the wall. Crafted properly, the plumbing is tucked behind the drywall or inside much smaller cabinetry. Indeed, without cabinetry in the way, the sink becomes much more accessible to those in a wheelchair. Floating sinks make it easier for handwashing, tooth brushing, hair styling, and other sink-based activities to be done from a seated position with the knees comfortably under the sink basin.

Grab Bars Around the Toilet

Most wheelchair users can lift themselves between chair and toilet as long as there is sufficient grab-bars to support them. Installing grab bars ad the right height around a toilet can be essential. For toilets that are not in a nook, installing a second bar on the other side can add additional support and ease for the transition from wheelchair to toilet and back again with full independence.

Curbless Shower Stall (or Gated Tub)

It’s well-known that shower stalls are more wheelchair-friendly than tubs, but not all shower stalls are equally accessible. What you need is a curbless shower stall, one without a small ledge between the drain-surface and the floor. This way, a wheelchair can roll directly into the shower without having to be pushed over the lip or threshold.

However, for those who need a bath-tub for physical therapy reasons, some people choose to go with a gated tub instead. The outer wall of a gated tub is a water-tight door that swings open that a physically disabled person can step carefully into the tub without having to climb.

Dual-Mount Handheld Showerhead

An essential piece of wheelchair-accessible bathing is the handheld showerhead. The hook-and-hose design involves a shower head at the end of a flexible hose. Thus, bathers can bring the water down to their level and focus the spray anywhere it is needed. To make the shower versatile and welcoming to all, consider installing two mounts for the showerhead. One in a reachable position for someone in a wheelchair, and one in the usual raised position for someone standing to shower.

Shower Chair or Seat

Not every wheelchair user bathes in a chair. Though they may need to be seated, many leave their wheelchair. For this reason, having a foldable shower chair is a great addition to an accessible bathroom. A foldable shower chair can be tucked into a corner when not in use. Further, it provides a convenient seat for those who cannot comfortably stand through the bathing process. Many luxury-designed showers also include a foldable shower seat, often of bamboo or teak, that folds down from the wall for a relaxing/accessible seated shower.

Conclusion

Building an accessible bathroom can be a complete transformation or just a few small adjustments. For more great insights on how to increase accessibility in your home or facility, contact us today!