Seniors who have special needs may have difficulty taking public transport and getting to places on their own. This is why investing in mobility equipment for the elderly such as specialized wheelchairs, scooters, and walking devices can reduce the strain on their joints.
However, transporting and storing bulky equipment can be difficult. This makes handicap vans for seniors essential.
To help you purchase the right handicap van for your needs, this guide of the top handicap vans for seniors provides a range of brands and models that are safe, reliable, and easy to use.
One of the most spacious handicap van options on the market today is the Dodge Grand Caravan. Although it comes in several customizable options, the Dodge CompanionVan Handicap Van is a good side-entry van that comes with an automatic remote-powered ramp for ease of use. It seats up to five able-bodied passengers.
Some useful features include the removable front seats, third-row footrest, and moonroof. It is currently one of the most affordable vans on the market, but some customer reviews note that the second-row seats could be more thickly cushioned. The V-6 engine of the 2020 model also uses up quite a lot of gas, but the durable interior is likely to be long-lasting.
The Chrysler Pacifica or Voyager Handicap Van is a sleek and sophisticated choice for seniors looking for a rear-entry handicap van. It has an ultra-tall 56-inch doorway opening for ease of entry along with a lightweight ramp that’s easy to fold out and in. You can customize the seating positions based on your needs.
The patented two-position latch secures the ramp and prevents any accidents from occurring. There are also plenty of useful features included such as Bluetooth streaming and integrated voice control.
Great safety features of the 2021 Chrysler Voyager include rear parking sensors with rear automated emergency braking as well as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
For a premium handicap van that will stand the test of time, the Honda Odyssey has an in-floor ramp with a 1,000-pound capacity that can be stowed carefully when it’s not being used. It comes with cabin and ramp lighting to aid with nighttime navigation and a multi-view rear camera for added safety.
Apart from the base LX model, Honda Odysseys come with an 8-inch touchscreen system that allows seniors to connect via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. This can come in handy for playing music or for navigation on long drives.
In terms of safety, key features include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.
The Toyota Sienna is a classic and well-designed hybrid van. The 2021 model has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for maximum fuel efficiency. All-wheel drive is also available. With a 29.25-inch wide ramp and a tall 56-inch doorway height, the van accommodates most wheelchair users at an optimal angle of 9.5 degrees.
Other notable features include a full-length rotating footrest, LED lighting inside the cabin for greater visibility, and a customized center console with lots of tech features. There is also a 9-inch touchscreen, seven USB ports throughout the van for easy charging, and a wireless smartphone charging station in the XLE plus and Limited edition.
Known as a work-horse van, the GMC Savana is a great model for seniors looking for a stable and durable ride. The standard model comes with six sets of two-position reading lamps, aluminum step plates with no-skid strips in step wells, and a backlit control panel for all interior lighting.
With cloth shades on all the windows and two garment hangers, this van is great to use for travel and longer drives. Some useful upgrades include a power sliding rear sofa and a power sunroof with sunscreen. The passenger van can seat between 12 to 15 people depending on your storage space and specifications.
The Dodge Ram is a compact handicap van for seniors that won’t break the bank. The 2021 model comes with a good range of safety features including forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and automated emergency braking. It comes in several height variations and wheelbases for maximum customization.
A great safety feature to install is the optional 9.2-inch digital rearview mirror because it comes with rear-facing cameras for better visibility. The 3.6-liter V-6 engine provides 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, enabling the van to transport heavy loads if needed.
For a smooth driving experience, the 2021 Ford Transit van comes with several different cabin configurations and up-to-date features, making it a good choice for seniors. It comes with built-in driver-assistance features such as lane-keeping assistance and lane-departure warning, but blind-spot monitoring is an optional feature.
Most notably, reviewers claim that it is relatively quiet at highway speeds, which prevents senior passengers from hearing exterior noise. The interior design of the cabin is well thought out, with a 4-inch display, four-speaker sound system, and Bluetooth compatibility.
Vans in general are expensive to manufacture, so adding the necessary features to make it wheelchair-accessible will inevitably drive up costs. The process of making a wheelchair van includes reinforcing the van’s structure, lowering the floor, and also adding additional features that customers may request for.
Although some wheelchair vans come with trailer towing packages, most do not. If this is something you require, it’s best to check with a mobility consultant or van manufacturer to see what options work best for you.
Wheelchair van owners can deduct some expenses associated with their vehicle’s upkeep as long as the van is being used for medical purposes.
When choosing a wheelchair van, it’s important to first gauge how severe the mobility challenges are for the user and how important practicality and convenience are. Whether you are buying for a current need or just keeping one for present use, it is also important to know what kind of weather your area has.
Receiving help from a certified mobility consultant can be a great way to narrow your options.
Medicare and Medicaid typically do not cover wheelchair vans and the conversions needed to make a wheelchair van.
When choosing a handicap van for seniors, take note of the main dimensions and test the ramp for ease of use and durability. While it might be tempting to choose the most budget-friendly option, it might be better to invest in safety features and durability for more peace of mind down the line.
Read on to learn more about other senior care products for the home at Senior Strong!