Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • Van Products & BraunAbility at Life Rolls On Event at Carolina Beach

    On August 5, 2017, Van Products joined BraunAbility at Carolina Beach for the Life Rolls On - They Will Surf Again event.

    Life Rolls On - They Will Surf Again

    Founded by world champion quadriplegic surfer and motivational speaker, Jesse Billauer, They Will Surf Again is a quality of life program that empowers people living with paralysis to surf and paddle board the waves - in spite of their physical challenges.

    Over the years, this Life Rolls On event has grown. It now boasts ten events coast to coast and attracts people of all abilities from around the world. Participation is FREE and is made possible by the generosity of private donors, fundraising efforts, and sponsors, like BraunAbility.

    “We have a great synergy between Life Rolls On and BraunAbility. Our mission and goal is the same - of getting people out into the world to be able to enjoy their life more," said Billauer.

    BraunAbility MXV Wheelchair SUV

    Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Make a Difference

    Often, able-bodied people don't realize the true value of being able to do things independently - whether it's just getting up to use the bathroom or walking into the kitchen to grab a snack from the fridge. For those who have been directly impacted by mobility challenges and physical limitations, independence matters, and having a wheelchair accessible SUV, like the BraunAbility MXV makes a difference. Billauer explains:

    I never thought that I’d be able to drive a vehicle just myself. I thought I was always going to have to depend on other people. When that’s taken from you - you know - when you’re paralyzed or have a disability, you just can’t imagine just getting that back. It’s a moment that you’ll never ever forget.

    What does freedom of mobility look like to you? To those you love? At Van Products, we take great pride in partnering with BraunAbility to provide our customers with high quality wheelchair-accessible vehicles, mobility products and accessories to help them regain their freedom of mobility. We invite you to stop by our storefront location(s) in Raleigh, NC and Wilmington, NC, or give our mobility specialists a call.

    Visit the Van Products Facebook page to view pictures from the Life Rolls On event. Visit the Van Products website for additional information on wheelchair accessible SUVs, like the BraunAbility MXV!

    BraunAbility and Life Rolls On Partnership

    Check out the following video to learn more about the partnership between BraunAbility and Life Rolls On and how they're partnering to bring hope beyond paralysis to wheelchair users around the world.

    About Life Rolls On

    Founded by world champion quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer, Life Rolls On is dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury.

    Believing that adaptive surfing and skating could inspire infinite possibilities beyond paralysis. Life Rolls On began as a splash into the unknown on September 11, 2001; achieved 501c3 nonprofit status in 2002; and now touches the lives of hundreds of thousands.

    Learn more.

  • Back to School Tips for College Students with Physical Disabilities

    A 2013 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report concluded that 2,563,000 students with disabilities were enrolled in the 2011 to 2012 academic year, accounting for 11.1% of all undergraduates enrolled nationwide.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

    People with a disability are less likely to have completed a bachelor's degree than people with no disability. Among people age 25 and older in 2014, 16.4 percent of people with a disability had completed at least a bachelor’s degree. By comparison, 34.6 percent of people with no disability had completed at least a bachelor’s degree. 

    by-scui3asteveo-flickr-cc

    Tips for College Students with Disabilities

    The following are some helpful tips for college students living with mobility challenges.

    #1 - Plan ahead.

    If you or your child has a physical disability and are enrolled at a college or considering attending a particular college, contact the college’s disability services offices as far in advance as possible so that you can schedule a time to visit the campus.

    Part of your college research should include researching what types of disability services, support groups, clubs and adaptive sports are available to physically disabled students.

    A scheduled visit to the campus can give you a better idea of what to expect - even in so far as how the classrooms are set up to allow those with mobility challenges to easily navigate around.

    #2 - Check out the layout of the campus.

    A college student who uses a wheelchair may find it difficult to navigate a college campus where there are a lot of stairs, narrow passage ways or steep inclines/hills.

    Pay attention to the overall layout outside as well as inside. How old are the buildings? Are there sufficient handicap bathrooms? elevators? emergency exits? What type of parking is available for students, and can it accommodate a wheelchair van or other handicap accessible vehicle?

    #3 - Learn to advocate for yourself.

    The college you select may not be quite as accommodating as your high school was when it comes to those with physical disabilities. Know your rights, and self advocate.

    For instance, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 states that schools that receive federal funding are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities and are required to provide equal academic opportunities and reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities.

    These accommodations can vary from college to college and include:

    • Additional time for tests
    • Disability counselors
    • Handicap-accessible living accommodations
    • Support groups
    • Modified courses
    • Note taking services
    • And more

    Helpful Resources for Students with Disabilities

    The following is a brief list of resources for students with disabilities:

  • Tips for Aging in Place

    The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of Americans ages 65+ will increase to more than 73 million by the year 2030. The number of people ages 85+ will increase to nearly 9 million by the year 2030.

    Among this group of Baby Boomers, aging in place is the most common (and growing) trend.

    In fact, in HomeAdvisor’s “Aging in Place Survey Report,” the survey highlighted projects that are most important to those homeowners as they prepare to age in their homes. The report estimated that more than 70 percent of homeowners who are currently completing a remodeling project are doing so in an effort to make age-related improvements for either themselves or their parents.

    So, what can adults do now as they prepare to age in place? The following are some helpful and simple tips.

    Aging in Place - Tips to Keep You Safe at Home

    Kitchen

    #1 - Consider the location of your kitchen.

    Ideally, kitchens should be on the main level of your home as navigating stairs may be more difficult for someone with mobility issues.

    #2 - Adjust the height of the dishwasher.

    Adjusting the height of your dishwasher can reduce the amount of strain required when loading/unloading dishes.

    #3 - Leave space below your kitchen sink.

    Adjust the height of your kitchen sink, or consider installing a motorized sink that raises or lowers. Also consider leaving space beneath the sink. All of this allows a wheelchair user to better navigate and use the sink independently.

    Bathroom

    #1 - Consider the location of your bathroom.

    When aging in place, it is important to have at least one full bathroom on the main level of your home.

    #2 - Consider space to move.

    When thinking through bathroom design, keep in mind that space will become more important as you age. Consider the use of wheelchairs, walkers or other assistive devices, and plan for walk-in showers and more.

    #3 - Adjust the toilet height.

    One of the easiest and most important things you can do is adjust the height of your toilet. For example, a toilet that is slightly higher may make it easier on a person who is disabled or an elderly person who has had a knee replacement and has difficulty getting up from a seated position.

    Bedroom

    #1 - Consider safety handles.

    When we’re young, we don’t think about getting into and out of bed. However, as we age, this task becomes increasingly difficult and can be dangerous.

    Consider installing safety handles for increased stability.

    #2 - Consider clutter.

    Look around your bedroom as it is now. Are there things on the floor? Additional furniture that you really don’t need? Closets that are overflowing with items?

    Clear the clutter and decrease your chances of accidents or injury from objects.

    Store heavy items on lower shelves or on the floor, donate items that you haven’t used within a year or more. Consider getting rid of furniture to create more space to maneuver around your bedroom safely.

    #3 - Consider the lighting.

    As we age, our eyesight often diminishes. Make it easier to see where you are going by replacing old bulbs and/or swapping out lampshades. Increase your chances for natural lighting by replacing window dressings and keeping blinds open during the day.

    Make use of automatic night lights in the evening to help illuminate your path if you have to get out of bed for any reason.

  • Wilmington Gets Visit from Miss Wheelchair NC

    madeline-delp-bwWhen Madeline Delp was just ten years old, she was in a vehicle that was struck by a truck, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. In spite of this, Madeline never let her disability stop her ability to succeed.

    Now, as Miss Wheelchair NC USA 2017, Madeline recently visited Wilmington, NC to speak at a medical conference.

    Adjusting to a New Reality

    In an interview with NBC affiliate, WECT, Madeline admitted to struggling with her 'new reality' before finally turning a corner during her teenage years. It was then that she decided to use her disability to help others who faced similar situations.

    How can I be that change in the world that I want to see? So I started to get this idea of…how can I change myself and how can I inspire others to do the same?

    Spreading Awareness About Disabilities

    Being wheelchair-bound hasn't slowed Madeline down in the least. Her current pursuits include traveling throughout the country, making public appearances and spreading her idea of “living boundless,” regardless of injury or condition.

    As part of her efforts to raise awareness about disabilities, Madeline is also in the process of filming, Live Boundless, a 24-part video series where Madeline teaches others how to live and thrive with their handicap.

    Madeline will return to Wilmington in next month to begin filming the series.

    [via WECT and UNCA]

  • VP's Seth Frankoff To Play for Chicago Cubs

    We would like to congratulate former Van Products employee, Seth Frankoff, on being called up to play for the Chicago Cubs!

    After playing for West Raleigh, Apex High School, and UNC Wilmington, Seth has finally realized his dream of being a major league pitcher!

    From all of us at Van Products, we'd like to congratulate Seth and wish him the best of luck as in his baseball career.

    Read more about this major announcement here.

    seth-frankoff

     

  • How Fireworks Affect Veterans with PTSD

    For most Americans, Independence Day is a time for celebration, characterized by fireworks, barbecues, music and entertainment. However, for those veterans affected by PTSD, fireworks can trigger a range of negative reactions - some of which may cause physical and/or mental harm.

    By knowing more about how PTSD affects our veterans, we can take steps to be more mindful of how our actions this Independence Day affects them.

    What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?

    Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless.

    Symptoms of PTSD

    According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), PTSD is usually characterized by three main types of symptoms:

    • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares
    • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma
    • Increased difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered

    How You Can Help Veterans Who Have PTSD

    The main treatments for veterans with PTSD include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

    This July 4th, we can do our part to be respectful to veterans who have PTSD with some of the following suggestions.

    #1 - Let veterans know if you’re planning a fireworks display.

    If you have a next-door neighbor who happens to be a veteran, you don’t necessarily have to abandon your plans to celebrate. However, the courteous thing to do is let him/her know ahead of time when you plan to set of fireworks.

    #2 - Be specific and deliberate with your time frame.

    Keep in mind that veterans have fought for our country. Hearing unplanned fireworks can bring back painful memories or trigger a negative reaction from a veteran’s time in combat.

    If you plan to use fireworks, plan to be deliberate about the time frame. Let your fellow veterans know so that it won’t come as a complete surprise.

    Be respectful, and avoid setting off fireworks in the middle of the night or during hours when most people would be sleeping.

    #3 - Spread awareness.

    According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it is estimated that PTSD affects:

    • More than 30 percent of Vietnam veterans
    • As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans
    • More than 10 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan
    • Roughly 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans

    Take the time to talk to the veterans in your community. By keeping open lines of communication, we can gain a better understanding of what our veterans are going through and be more proactive in our approach to celebrating the holidays.

  • 3 Tips for Aging Healthier, Smarter

    When most people think of getting older, they think of brittle bones, broken hips, medications and other health problems. However, this doesn't have to be the case! There are several preventive measures you can take to help you lead a healthier life as you get older.

    3 Tips for Better Mobility and Health While Aging

    #1 - Exercise regularly.

    It's a saying that we've all heard by now, and it's held true for years because it's true!

    As you age, your strength, coordination and balance naturally decreases. Getting regular exercise and incorporating strength training into your exercise routine a few times per week can greatly reduce your chances of losing coordination and fitness as you get older. Thus, regular physical fitness can keep you stronger and healthier well into old age - helping prevent accidents and unnecessary trips to the doctor.

    #2 - Clean up around the house.

    One of the top ways that older adults become injured is due to falls within or around the home. Decrease the clutter, and decrease your chances for a nasty spill.

    Most commonly, objects on the floor cause people to trip and fall. Also consider poor lighting, loose cords, toilet height, shower support bars, outdoor railings, and step height. Look around your home for potential hazards, and safeguard your living space to keep yourself and others safe.

    #3 - Know the effects of prescribed medication.

    As you get older, it may be necessary to take prescribed medication. If you or someone you are a caregiver to takes prescribed medication, know the side effects. For example, some medication may have different effects on men versus women. It may cause drowsiness or lack of coordination.

    Always consult with your health care provider to know what the potential side effects are.


    At Van Products, we offer a wide range of mobility products and accessories to assist those faced with physical challenges. Learn more, and contact Van Products today to speak with one of our mobility specialists!

  • Learning to Deal with a Sudden Disability

    There's a saying that "Life isn't always fair." This especially true for many who are suddenly and unexpectedly faced with a physical disability. The sudden restriction of independence or freedom can lead to anxiety over what the future may look like.

    The following are some steps and coping mechanisms to help you face your physical disability head on.

    3 Tips for Dealing with a Physical Disability

    #1 - Avoid self pity.

    It's often easier to feel bad for yourself or about your situation. Instead of looking at everything that is wrong, try instead to surround yourself with people and activities that have a positive impact in your life. Though it's not always easy, having a positive attitude goes a long way in helping you improve not just your outlook for your overall health.

    #2 - Learn how to react.

    You can't always control what happens to you in your life, but you can most certainly control how you react to it. Learn not only how to react to the things that happen to you and around you - but also learn how to react to other people's reactions to your situation.

    People who have physical disabilities sometimes face pity, animosity from others. Expect different reactions from those around you, and try not to let ignorant people upset you. Instead, practice patience. Remember that how you react to someone or something can drastically change the outcome.

    #3 - Don't be afraid to ask for help.

    Surround yourself with family and friends who are positive and upbeat and who you trust. Consider joining a support group. Identify the things about your situation and about yourself that you have and/or are struggling with, and don't be afraid to ask for the help of family, friends, or members of your support group.


    For more information about mobility products that assist those with physical disabilities, contact Van Products today.

  • 5 Facts About Scleroderma

    June is National Scleroderma Month.

    Also known as systemic sclerosis, the Scleroderma Foundation describes scleroderma as a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as a type of autoimmune rheumatic disease.

    Following are some of the facts about scleroderma.

    5 Facts About Scleroderma

    #1 - Scleroderma is not contagious.

    You cannot “catch” scleroderma. Also, it is not infectious, cancerous, or malignant.

    #2 – Scleroderma symptoms vary.

    Two people who have scleroderma may have two completely different sets of symptoms. The effects of scleroderma vary widely and can range from mild to life threatening.

    #3 – Diagnosing Scleroderma is difficult

    Because its symptoms present similarly to other autoimmune diseases, it is often difficult to properly diagnose scleroderma

    #4 – There is no known cause.

    Currently, the exact cause(s) of scleroderma is largely unknown. However, researchers are hard at work to make a determination.

    #5 – It affects more women than men

    According to the Mayo Clinic, scleroderma women are affected by scleroderma more often than men with diagnoses most commonly occurring between the ages of 30 and 50.

    For additional information about scleroderma, take a look at the following resources.

    References/Resources:

  • 3 Things to Consider When Renting a Wheelchair Van

    Van Products proudly offers a number of different styles, makes, and models of wheelchair vans for rent (or for purchase). If you're considering renting a wheelchair van for the first time, the following are some things you should consider first.

    3 Considerations When Renting a Wheelchair Van

    #1 - The Height of the Wheelchair Van

    When it comes to renting a wheelchair van, height matters. Knowing the wheelchair user’s height/weight as well as knowing the dimensions of the wheelchair (or any other mobility equipment) will help you determine how easily you may be able to enter, exit and/or maneuver within the wheelchair van.

    Knowing the height of the wheelchair van as well as other dimensions of the wheelchair van will also help you figure out whether a particular make/model of wheelchair van is better suited for your specific mobility needs or whether customizations need to be made.

    #2 – Knowing Whether to Rent vs. Buy

    Are you recovering from an injury or illness that has left you temporarily disabled? Do you have a family member coming to visit from out of town who is physically disabled or needs special accommodations for getting around?

    When researching wheelchair van rentals, it is important to be aware of your situation and what your specific needs may be. You may determine that you only need a temporary solution, or you may find out that it makes more sense to purchase a new or used wheelchair van.

    If you’re on the fence about whether to rent versus buy a wheelchair van – or if you’re just not sure , we encourage you to speak with one of our mobility specialists. They’ll walk you through the process of renting a wheelchair van, and they’ll help you determine (based on your situation) whether it makes sense to rent a handicap van.

    #3 – Familiarize Yourself with the Wheelchair Van Rental Agreement

    This includes items such as: wheelchair van rental restrictions, additional fees and tax rates, and other wheelchair van rental rates and terms.

    For instance, many wheelchair van rental agreements have daily, weekly, monthly and special offers. Be aware of any fine print, and make sure you have a list of any questions or concerns you may have – this way you can get them answered before you sign any agreements.

    Also make sure you know a little information about the wheelchair van you plan to rent as well as the company renting it to you.

    Simple questions to keep in mind:

    • What are the wheelchair van rental rates?
    • How many people can the wheelchair van seat?
    • Will the wheelchair van come with a full tank of gas?
    • What special assistance is offered?
    • Is there a delivery/pick-up service? What’s the cost?

    For more information about wheelchair vans for rent, contact Van Products today by calling: 800-209-6133.

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