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Finding a good car is difficult enough, with sky-rocketing gas prices, ever increasing gadgets and rising sales costs. For those who use wheelchairs or caregivers who transport loved ones in wheelchairs, the challenge can seem even greater. From expert resources and user reviews, we compiled this list that can kick-start your search for the most comfortable and most user-friendly vehicle.
Before purchasing, here are some things to consider:
- Ease of parking – Consider a ramp extension or space to pull out the wheel chair in addition to finding a vehicle that can comfortably fit into standard parking spaces.
- Space – You want to not only be able to get the passenger and wheelchair into the car, but to also have enough leg room. The height of the doors and storage space should allow for easy transfer of the passenger and wheelchair in and out quickly.
- Utility – Considerations that may be taken for granted are orientation of functions such as the height of the steering wheel and layout of navigation tools which may need to be adjusted in standard vehicles.
1) Honda Element – This car has a seating configuration that is inherently accommodating for those in wheelchairs, and frequently needs little or no modifications for those using wheelchairs. The doors are more than accommodating in size for a wheelchair. It offers options for style, performance, and accommodation of lifestyle. The Element is more affordable than a modified van.
2) Ams Vans Minivan – A minivan is considerably cheaper than an SUV alternative and tends to have lower doors. These cars also tend to have a higher passenger capacity than a standard sedan. The seats fold down so you can move around inside without climbing over seats. On the downside, they tend to not accommodate wider or taller wheelchairs.
3) MV-1 Mobility Car – Due to a green CNG fueling system, this vehicle has better gas mileage than a standard minivan. Parking is easy and it showcases a classy interior and safety features including anti-slip surfaces and electronic stability control. This model however, does not allow occupants to drive independently and driving does take getting used to, particularly when the car is full of passengers.
4) Chevrolet Silverado Truck– Companies such as Mobility SVM (formerly Go Shichi) offer Disability Accessible Trucks that they themselves converted or will convert for you. The model they most frequently work with is the Chevrolet Silverado, though the GMC Sierra 1500 series has also been popular. Trucks are useful for those who continue working, gardening or just need to cart around a lot of equipment. Gas is more expensive for trucks, as of course is parking.
5) Kenguru- More like a wheelchair scooter, the Kenguru is an invention from Norway that is a great alternative to getting around locally and for short trips. It accelerates up to 60 miles per hour and is fairly small to fit almost anywhere. The vehicle allows wheel-chair drivers to roll right in to propel the car straight from their wheelchair. However, there is no storage space or room to transport other riders.
At the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) this week, the Clothbot, a personal modular robot, has been developed with the aspiration to assist in home care. This digital friend can be of valuable use in monitoring health of the elderly or disabled.
Created by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, this tech friend can climb up and down stairs, navigate across rugged surfaces, and follow you around.
Its creators, headed by Yuanyuan Liu, envisioned a robot that can:
- Conduct “body inspection”
- “Act as a movable phone on our shoulder with frees human hands”
- “A tiny pet climbing on human bodies”
While others might find this invasive or perhaps creepy, there is a great potential benefit that can come from an interactive robot like Clothbot:
- A tracking and monitoring device to assist someone who is unable to grip or hold other devices, such as a phone, can be extremely beneficial
- An alarm system that alerts the recipient of the information any potential danger, similar to sensory detectors or alarms
- Increase interaction and activity among idle elders (similar robots have been used as games)
- Companionship – Just recently, Britain’s Royal Academy of Engineering recommended similar autonomous devices such as the Dream Cat Venus to provide companionship to older people.
With the world’s population ageing at a rapid pace, there is a growing need for new ways to provide residential care for older people. IAHSA member Jeffrey Anderzhon, FAIA, has spearheaded the latest edition of Design for Aging, a book that explores successful schemes around the world. Written by an international team of experts in aged care design, the book includes cases from Australia, Denmark, England, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. The authors describe how each scheme has addressed the needs of its residents despite variations in design, geography, cultural factors, medical needs, capital cost, and other factors. Clear, well-documented information for each facility includes:
• Building descriptions and project data, and how the overall design fits within a geographical location
• The type of community, including number of residents, ethnicity, and specific conditions such as dementia
• How to apply universal design principles in different political, social, and regulatory contexts
• How to create a sense of belonging and well-being for residents while building strong connections with the community at large
• What makes a facility able to attract and retain high-quality caregivers
• Environmental sustainability issues, plus indoor and outdoor spaces
Architects and interior designers as well as facility owners and caregivers will find Design for Aging an inspiring and practical guide on how to navigate the many factors involved in creating good designs for aged care environments. Interested in receiving a copy? You can order online.
Photo courtesy of ClatieK
Designers and architects often claim to be age friendly, but how can they be sure that their product really works well for people with mobility limitations? The Third Age Suit is an empathy suit developed to simulate the effects of loss of mobility and declining sensory acuity, which can occur with the ageing process and also with certain clinical conditions. It was designed to help answer the question of how designers, who may be fully fit and active, really know if their designs work in practice for people with some loss of mobility or declining sensory perception.
The suit was developed by Howard Jeffrey Ph.D. for his U.K. based company Mobilistrictor. The Third Age Suit was shared with participants of the 2012 By Design Conference, an annual event that provides design industry professionals the opportunity to access the latest thinking and research in the field of senior living. “This innovative Third Age Suit enables us to truly understand the confines of limited mobility of the clients we serve,” states Tye Campbell, CEO of SFCS. “We are excited to be able to share this ingenious device with our colleagues, customers, the media, and co-workers as they strive to build, design, and care for seniors. Our mantra is always looking forward to ‘what’s next’. We believe this Restrictor Suit will assist us as we continue to progress into more functional designs for seniors”.
A Designer Tries Out Third Age Suit
World Health Day is coming up on 7 April 2012. Aging and health is this year’s special theme, providing an opportunity for organisations and individuals worldwide to showcase solutions to population ageing. As we frequently mention on this blog the world is rapidly ageing, and less developed countries are seeing the fastest change. We are currently experiencing a window of opportunity to establish social and health supports for an ageing population before the strength of such systems will be tested.
2012 marks the 10the anniversary of the adoption of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). The plan is a resource for policy-makers, and suggests ways for governments, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders to re-frame the conversation around ageing.
It’s important to remember that elders possess a world of knowledge and are important contributors to social life and societal stability. Organisations, cities, communities and individuals are invited to celebrate in 2012 the contribution of older women and men on World Health Day through events and other activities. Making cities and communities age-friendly is one of the most effective policy approaches for responding to demographic ageing. Cities and communities wishing to become more age-friendly can take part in the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.
Does your organization plan to put out a call to action in support of World Health Day? The World Health Organization is recommending calls to action be issued around the topics of healthy active lifestyles across the lifespan, the creation of age friendly environments, and creating better understanding of elders needs among health care providers.
Photo courtesy lukaszduleba
The following is a guest post from Jeffrey W. Anderzhon, FAIA, of Crepidoma Consulting. Jeff is a long time IAHSA supporter, as well as a founding member of our International Design for Ageing Symposium & Showcase team.
Almost everyone who stays in tune with the world’s aging population knows that Korea is one of the fastest aging countries. It is also a country that is well aware of the issues that it faces in this regard and is a country searching for solutions.
Traditionally, elderly Korean parents were cared for by their adult children in an extended familial setting. With the country’s generally booming economy, save for the current economic slowdown, families have depended more on two incomes, a population movement toward cities and a desire for independence from traditional responsibilities as individuals move into a ‘global’ culture. Korean society has become hungry for solutions that are culturally appropriate but that also provide contemporary solutions for their increasingly elderly population.
I had the opportunity and pleasure of sharing examples of how the world is addressing care and housing options with the Korean Gerontological Society in Seoul and at the 3rd Annual International Symposium on Aging in Gwanju at the end of November. This was accomplished by sharing the great examples provided to IAHSA through the International Design Symposium first presented in London at the IAHSA conference.
The interest that was shown for how other countries are providing for their elderly was overwhelming. There is significant interest in Korea for providing meaningful environments, with a distinct Korean cultural overlay, for the aging population. This interest is both sincere and introspective with a distinct desire to “do it correctly” by learning from other cultures and from other projects. IAHSA has played an important role to date within this movement and will maintain its connection to the Korean initiatives through Professor Yeunsook Lee, an advisor to IAHSA from Yonsei University in Seoul and a well respected authority in Korea and all of Asia on the elderly.
As residents of the world community we must consider the entire world’s elderly population and how each country succeeds in enhancing their quality of life. Cultural differences may involve differing and unique approaches, but fundamentally care and housing for the elderly in all cultures involves security, human interaction and protection from nature’s harsh elements. Korea is a society that needs to provide for their elderly and a society that is willing and able to look at how other cultures and countries are accomplishing this. As a part of the IAHSA family, I am proud to have contributed in some small way to moving them forward.
IAHSA is building on its successful Design for Ageing Symposia from the past two conferences. We are looking for ways to continue this important conversation virtually. As luck would have it, Norsk Form, an IAHSA business member in Oslo, recently sent me the following information on their design for ageing programme:
Norsk Form is a foundation that works with architecture, design and urban area planning. With the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services, they have established an interdepartmental network including 13 municipalities, that range from small to large in size and are located all over the country. What unites them is a wish to discuss the design of care homes for the elderly of tomorrow.
The network aims to help develop different care service models that can be adapted to local conditions and needs. Its strategy for the development of care homes can be summarised as follows:
- Development of interdepartmental cooperation for planning and integration in the municipal plan
- Cooperation between sectors so that resources are viewed across departments; for the development of shared use, joint localisation and vicinity with public and private enterprises.
- Integration of care homes and nursing homes in regular residential areas with shared functions
- A coherent housing service that addresses the need for different types and degrees of care.
- Design of good aesthetical surroundings, outdoors as well as indoors, that promote social, cultural and physical activities
- Surroundings that permit local inhabitants to take part in various activities; the care centre as a local meeting place
For more information, click here.
If you are interested in learning more about IAHSA’s Design for Ageing programme, please let me know.
IAHSA members provide leading edge care and services and technology plays a vital role in what many members are doing.
This year at AAHSA’s Annual Meeting, participants will be able to see a full scale house with innovative technology. The AAHSA House—a fully functioning 2,600 sq. ft house will boast the best in universal design and cutting-edge technologies in a hands-on, interactive environment; allowing buyers to understand and test out products.
To learn more, click here.
We are proud to announce the return of the International Design for Ageing Symposium & Showcase – a survey and exhibit of the state-of-the-art and trends in senior living from around the world.
The Global Ageing Network is a unique forum for designers and aged care providers worldwide to share innovations in senior living design and programming. IAHSA provides the opportunity for multinational, comparative analysis of trends and developments in design for ageing, including responses to specific historical, cultural, and regulatory contexts, along with senior market preferences ranging from “traditional” residential design to modernism.
Design firms are invited to submit one project each that represents their contribution to the field of senior living through a simple Call for Entries process. Submissions will be analyzed by a multinational, multidisciplinary team, with findings presented at the International Design for Ageing symposium.
Firms submitting projects will have an additional opportunity to display project design boards during the conference at the Design for Ageing Showcase, located in a central area at the conference centre, for the benefit of design firms and attendees alike.
Dates to Remember:
17 February Call for Entries
30 April Call for Entries Submission Deadline
19-22 July IAHSA 8th International Conference in London
Last week I read an article from the Chicago Sun Times about the growing need for creation of accessible housing for the ageing baby boomers in the US – the Post-WW2 generation that will become the largest segment in US history to age at one time.
As they age and begin to hit geriatric roadblocks, some will need special housing.
Making new housing accessible is required by law – making new construction specifically designed to be lived in or visited by people who have trouble with steps or use wheelchairs or walkers.
But the term ‘visitable’ was new to me. And I think a good addition to the vocabulary. It means that the building is inclusive to everyone. It allows a person with a disability to become integrated into a community – to be able to ‘visit’. And these ‘visitable’ homes are designed to allow for greater adaptations as the owners’ needs change.