Informative

Here are some of our most interesting and informative stories related to physical disabilities and mobility issues.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 3 Tips for Buying a Handicap Van

    Buying a handicap van is a lot like buying a car, including the fact that the process can sometimes feel burdensome and stressful.

    The following are some key factors to keep in mind when making your first new or used handicap van purchase.

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    Key Advice for Purchasing a Handicap Van

    #1 – Know who you’re buying the handicap van for.

    What do we mean by this? While all handicap vans are designed to be able to accommodate wheelchair passengers, not all handicap vans are designed to be able to handle a handicap person behind the wheel.

    If you or someone you know is interested in being an adaptive driver inside of a handicap van, then it’s best if you speak with our mobility specialists. They’ll be able to advise you as to the specific makes/models of handicap vans that we have available that accommodate adaptive drivers (and not just passengers).

    #2 – Know what mobility features you need versus want.

    Van Products has the largest inventory of new and used handicap vans in the area. That said, each of our handicap vans can be customized to fit the unique needs of our customers.

    We encourage you to browse our mobility products and think through the kinds of important/mandatory items and features that you’d like to have in your van – from backup cameras to power doors, satellite radio, removable seats, and more.

    #3 – Know your budget.

    It’s important to not get too far ahead of yourself. If you have a budget, stick to it. Need help coming up with a budget? Speak to our mobility specialists. Sometimes, there may be special financing available or other types of less expensive handicap van options available.

    Learn more about the handicap vans we carry, and browse our large inventory of new and used handicap vans, mobility products, and more!

  • Wheelchair Vans & Handicap Accessibility

    Van Products is proud to be a leader in the sale of wheelchair vans in the Southeast. However, our inventory isn't only limited to handicap vans and vehicles. In fact, Van Products offers tons of other options in terms of mobility accessories and products!

    Improving Accessibility for Handicap Persons

    As you may already know, while wheelchair vans certainly help handicap persons get from Point A to Point B in their daily lives, there are other types of mobility products and accessories that really help to improve a person's mobility when they are in their home, at the office, or in the community, in general.

    So, what do these mobility products look like? Before we explore the types of mobility products we offer, consider the reasons why someone may need to take advantage of a mobility product. Commonly, it is the misperception that physical disabilities are those disabilities which are obvious to the naked eye. While this is true, there are those who have physical disabilities or mobility challenges that may not always be as obvious but which they may need a mobility product to help assist them.

    For example, someone who suffers from severe arthritis and cannot turn their neck fully may take advantage of a backup camera. Someone who has joint problems or arthritis in their hands may use hand controls. And someone who has had multiple knee replacements or who has trouble climbing stairs may use a stair lift.

    Besides this, there are some people who may need the use of mobility products or vehicles due to temporary physical disabilities, such as outpatient rehab, recovery from a major surgery, or a broken bone.

    2014 Toyota Sienna XLE

    Converting Your Current Vehicle to be Handicap Accessible

    Do you have a current van or truck that you're thinking of converting to be more handicap accessible? You're not alone. If you need a wheelchair accessible vehicle but already have a van or truck, it is possible to convert your vehicle to become wheelchair accessible. To get started, speak with one of our mobility specialists. They'll be happy to walk you through the conversion process.

    Effective, Custom Mobility Features

    What helps to set Van Products apart from the competition is that our wheelchair vans and vehicles each feature unique and effective non-slip ramps and automatic kneeling systems. We also offer choices between side and rear entry for all of our handicap vehicles - all of this making it easier to enter and exit the vehicle compared with keeping your van/vehicle in its original state.

    Drive in Comfort

    One of the mobility features we are most proud of with our handicap vans is our floor level feature for handicap drivers. Often, wheelchair vans are disproportionate, leaving the driver too low to the ground or the wheelchair passenger in the back seat too high to see out of the front window.

    By leveling out the ground and lifting the front seats, wheelchair passengers can see out of the front window while the driver remains at a comfortable height.

    For more information about converting your current van or truck to be handicap accessible, or if you have additional questions about any of our conversion van features or options, contact one of our mobility specialists today.

  • Making Mobility More Comfortable, Convenient

    Whether you're searching for new or used handicap vans, Van Products is on a mission to make mobility more comfortable, convenient and affordable than ever.

    Shop our huge inventory of new and used wheelchair accessible vans, and discover how easy it is to travel independently throughout your community. Whether your lifestyle simply involves running errands or whether you're adventurous and setting off on week-long trips across the country with family in tow - we guarantee that we have just the right handicap accessible van for you.

    Shop Our Inventory of New & Used Wheelchair Vans

    Each of our wheelchair vans (and vehicles) is designed to increase your comfort and convenience without sacrificing quality. Choose from mobility products and features such as:

    • Side entry
    • Rear entry
    • Fold out ramps
    • Backup cameras
    • Rain sensing wipers
    • Wheelchair Tie Downs
    • And more

    We know it can be stressful to make such a big decision like buying a wheelchair van, so we hope this will help your research. We also encourage you to speak with one of our mobility specialists. Our specialists are experts in handicap vans and can help guide you through the process - whether you're brand new to purchasing a wheelchair van or have done it before.

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    Quality Handicap Vans from Trusted Brands

    At Van Products, we are proud to offer customers quality handicap vans (new & certified used) from trusted brands, like Chrysler, Dodge, Toyota, Honda, and Ford, to name a few.

    We also offer a number of Braunability wheelchair lifts in our vehicles, offer both convenience as well as a smooth, easy-to-use operation.

    We also offer the Ricon wheelchair lift - designed with the driver in mind. The Ricon KlearVue™ wheelchair lift is the only wheelchair lift  of its kind with a unique “fold-in-half” design. When this wheelchair lift is stowed, it provides an unobstructed view for the driver, which reduces and (in most cases) eliminates hazardous blind spots. It also allows a clear view for the passengers, and is virtually unseen from outside.

    Quality Automotive Seating

    Van Products strongly believes in providing the best that there is to offer for wheelchair accessibility, which is why we offer a wide range of automotive seating options.

    Choose from stylish, convenient seating options, each designed with maximum comfort and safety in mind.  Get on the road in no time at all with fully customizable seats that offer:

    Need to see it to believe it? Stop by our storefront location and showroom today for a demonstration, and you will soon see why we are the number one choice for new wheelchair vans and used wheelchair vans in the area. Contact us today to learn more.

  • Make Your Home Wheelchair-Safe

    Before you introduce a wheelchair or other mobility device to your home, it is important to make sure that your home is able to accommodate a wheelchair. Below, we offer some helpful advice.

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    4 Ways to Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

    You don't have to completely renovate your home to make it more wheelchair-friendly. The following are some tips to make your home safer as you prepare to adjust to your new mobility challenges.

    #1 - Rearrange furniture.

    Less clutter is better- especially when it comes to wheelchair safety. Perhaps, this means moving a table from a corner, or removing excessive clutter from a crowded space. You want to give yourself (or the person using a scooter/wheelchair) plenty of room to navigate around corners and within rooms.

    #2 - Take advantage of entry ramps.

    Most homes have a few steps or more leading up to the main entrance. Installing a permanent or temporary wheelchair ramp can give a wheelchair user increased opportunity for independence. Consider the type of physical limitations that the person has and whether or not that person lives in your home or is a regular visitor to your home. Knowing these two factors will help determine whether you install a permanent ramp or a temporary structure as well as where you will install the ramp.

    For instance, installing a ramp on the side of the home may help to keep the ramp out of sight while still giving the wheelchair user full accessibility. If you do install a ramp, be sure to hire a reputable company and only use materials that are warrantied and that follow current safety guidelines.

    #3 - Create smooth transitions between rooms.

    Remove all loose rugs and carpets, and check transitions between rooms for ease of movement and safety. Study the furniture placement, and use a chair to test the width of different pathways in the home.

    #4 - Make your bathroom wheelchair accessible.

    Again, you don't necessarily have to renovate your entire bathroom. Instead, consider the form and function of the bathroom, compared to the mobility of the wheelchair user. Can he/she get out of their wheelchair on their own for short periods, or are they completely dependent on their wheelchair and/or a helper?

    If so, things like a roll-in shower (versus a jacuzzi tub) may be a better option. There are also handicap-accessible, walk-in tubs. If the person is elderly and has mobility issues, you may want to consider the height of the toilet as well as grip bars for the tub/shower so that the person has something to hang on to.

    Finally, you will want to consider the width of the doorway to the bathroom. Can the person wheel his/her wheelchair into the bathroom comfortably?

    Contact Van Products Today

    You don't have to tear your house down to the studs to make it more accommodating for someone who has a physical disability. Rather, by making a few small changes and having the right kinds of mobility accessories, you can create an environment that is both wheelchair friendly and safe.

    For additional information about making your home accessible to wheelchairs, or to ask other questions, contact Van Products today, and speak to one of our mobility specialists. We're here to help!

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