As a caregiver, your days are pretty busy. And you probably spend a lot of time in the car. Driving to doctor’s appointments, visiting with specialists, testing, and more testing, picking up prescriptions from the pharmacy – it all can be a little overwhelming at times.
Any car will do. But when you’re responsible for someone else’s needs, finding the right car that supports your caregiving efforts will make your job easier. The person you are caring for now may be fairly mobile. What happens as that changes? Will your car function as well in the future as it does right now?
When looking at a car’s features, evaluate it based on two characteristics: access for people and access to your stuff. Both can change significantly over time.
Access For People
Different vehicles provide different accessibility. If you’ve ever climbed into a large pickup, or into the backseat of a two door sports car, you know this to be true. The more control you can give the person you are caring for during this process, the easier your life will be.
Obviously, the large pickup or the small sports car aren’t the best choices. Beyond that, look at minivans, crossover SUVs, and some sedans for easy access.
Minivans are a great choice for all stages of family life. What you loved about them when your kids were small also makes them a good choice for caregiving. Sliding doors make it easy to get in and out. Remote control features make opening and closing doors as easy as touching a button. And because the doors slide into place rather than limit access by opening up, you’ll have more room to maneuver and help as needed.
Crossover SUVs sit lower than truck-based SUVs and provide lots of room in the interior. They offer power tailgates that open and close remotely, which can be an added bonus when your hands are full. Some come with three rows of seating, which means family outings can be a breeze. And because of the large amount of space, you’ll have lots of room for your increasing caregiver needs.
Access For Stuff
Mobility might not be an issue today, but what about in the future? Caring for others often means traveling with lots of stuff.
Remote controlled doors and tailgates let you open and close doors hands-free. Some of the newest crossovers even let you swipe your foot under the back bumper to open the tailgate if your keys are buried in your pocket or bag.
Also, consider how high the cargo load is from the ground. If you’ll have to life equipment off the ground and into the vehicle on a regular basis, how much space is needed? Lifting a wheelchair, for instance, can take a toll on your back.
Because your vehicle may be your home away from home, be sure to consider other features that can add to your experience.
A navigation system can be a big help for visiting new places. It can direct you where to go and even advise you on traffic jams and road construction, relieving a little of the daily stressors that enter your life.
Built-ins make it easy to access phone systems, music systems, even entertainment systems for the kids. This can be especially helpful if you spend a lot of your days on the phone, or toting the kids around between meetings and appointments.
Have something else in mind? Just ask. With automakers focusing more on creating vehicles for an aging population, you might be surprised at what that means for you.