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Hello -
I am a caregiver of my mom who is 73yrs old. We are currently looking at different ways of transporting her to the doctors such as buying a conversion van. They are kind of expensive but would allow her to still have her freedom which is REALLY important to her. What has worked well for you or maybe not so well with transporting your mom/dad to their appointments. Thank you!

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Heather, You are very right when you say that independence is key to our aging loved ones. I was the driver for my loved ones except when a wheelchair was necessary all of the time. Then I rode with them in a paratransit bus. Expensive but it worked. I hope you hear about some other ideas.
Carol
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The conversion van or wheelchair accessible van is the best answer. My Mom is wheelchair bound and Dad chose to buy a new fancy Buick instead of the van. Now we have to make arrangements for a van everytime she has a doctors appt. and she never leaves the house except for a doctors appt. Very sad way to live. We used to have great holidays all together at my daughters house. Now we have just my parents and my hubby. Our house is too small for the whole family to get together. I used to take Mom shopping on Black Friday. Now she shops from catalogs that come in the mail. I say if you can possible arrange it - go for the van!
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Great transport vans exist in OR, and they cost less than they do in CA.
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My mom had mobility issues after a brain aneurysm and a broken hip. She was not totally wheelchair bound, but she couldn't walk far and didn't walk the last year of her life. I was lucky that she could stand. I had a mini van anyway. Instead of a wheel chair, I got a transport chair.....only 8 lbs and we joked it was the same color as the van......bright RED!! She placed one foot on a step stool and I got my shoulder under her butt and hoisted her into the van. I did have to push her with one hand and pull a shopping cart with the other, but this worked for us for 5 years. She also weighed at the most 130 lbs. Medicare paid for the chair with a doctor's prescription. We were also able to use the transport chair in the house because it is narrower than a wheelchair, but she was not able to propel herself because of all the carpet in the house, so I had to be available to get her to the bathroom or anywhere else she wanted to go in the house. She didn't have the strength to propel herself in a wheelchair either.
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This question strikes home for me. I have always transported my mom in my '97 Honda Accord with her using walkers. Eventually it became a wheelchair to get in and out of buildings, and a walker up and down curbs. Now I'm not sure she can handle the curbs anymore. So we'll probably be using the accessible slope down the street so that I can transport her. But curbs are starting to become a problem, and since I have no money for a better car, I imagine she will be paying for paratransit for herself in the future. Sigh. Not ideal. Especially not in my area where services like that tend to be awful. I would just try to keep it within your frame of control (i.e. get a conversion van) for as long as possible. I know that they sell ramps and such to load wheelchair passengers. The convenience and ease of having your own transport cannot be underestimated!!
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We only use medical transport, now. Our community has a nice driver and nice van and they know what they are doing.

Previous to that, my MILs own, low sitting car, was the best.
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I've used a transport chair for both my mom and dad for 12 years. It's been worth its weight in gold. My mom and dad were able to stand and turn around and sit in the car.

I saw a pretty slick set-up at a concert recently. A guy had a wife in a little jazzy or Hoveround. He had an SUV and a hydraulic lift attached to the back. He put the Hoveround on the lift and it sat behind his SUV. I just Googled "mobility lifts and carriers for vehicles" and you can get power lifts that attach to a regular car for about $500.

As my dad got weaker and weaker, we had to use a medicar or ambulance to get him (in his wheelchair) to the doctor. It was about $100 per visit. And it involved lots of waiting (up to an hour) when he was finished with his appointment. I hated that part.
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the passenger seat in our van has been power refitted to swing out/lower so my love one can get into seat, seat is then power raised and swivel back into van and locked into place. So far this is helping when days are hard for him. Maybe this will work for you. Portday.
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Can't improve on the answers here. For me, it's been easier to use my mother's car than mine, as it's lower to the ground. My own mother is very slight, so it's not a major effort to help her up and down; I find her transport chair more and more essential (when she wants to use it, which is seldom). If your aged parent is somewhat agile a good chair is invaluable; ours folds up and goes in the back.
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We drove our folks in their big old sedan and folded up the wheel chairs in the trunk. Their doc had written script for the wheel chairs, so they were paid for. Didn't cost anything and they got to go where and and when they liked. My dad had been a football lineman in college so we needed to be sure to have a strong person (or two of us girls) to lift him in and out, but my mom was light and not a problem. They enjoyed vacations and road trips this way for a number or years.
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