If you have a parent, grandparent, or other elderly relative that struggles with mobility then they could benefit from a modified or specialist mobility vehicle. Recipients of some Disability Living Allowance benefits are entitled to use a portion of their benefits to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair – and whether a car is bought through the Motability scheme or independently, it may be possible for you to drive the vehicle in order to assist your relative.
There are a number of different types of mobility vehicle available. Some are modified versions of standard cars, while others have been designed for the specific purpose of being used by those with mobility problems.
Rear access vehicles enable wheelchair users to get in and out of the vehicle without having to try and struggle in and out of their chair. Harnesses are used to secure the chair and passenger, but these vehicles do require that somebody else drives the vehicle.
Some models of mobility vehicle enable wheelchair users to drive, and not just travel as a passenger. For those that are still able to drive, even with some modifications to the vehicle, this can ensure that the driver retains a greater level of independence because they won’t have to rely on having somebody else around to drive them from one location to another.
If you intend to do some of the driving, which may be necessary especially if your relative becomes easily tired or suffers poor mobility after they have been out of the house for a while, then you will need to make sure that you are covered on the insurance. The Motability scheme allows up to three drivers, including the car owner, but the drivers must be named, and must meet certain criteria, including living within a five mile radius. The car must be used by the disabled person, or for the benefit of that person, but that does not mean that they necessarily have to be in the vehicle at all times.
As well as new mobility vehicles, it is also possible to buy second hand. This can save money on the purchase cost, and most cars that are part of the scheme enjoy regular servicing and good care. Leasing is also a popular option, and if your parent’s condition is likely to deteriorate further, then leasing means that you can upgrade to a better equipped model later.
Mobility cars can provide greater freedom and independence to those that rely on wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and other mobility aides.