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They don’t drive, I do. My husband and I are caring for my parents, both are mobility impaired. Mom has a large rolling walker, strong opinions, and anger issues. Dad has Parkinson's, and a really bad back. We are looking for everyday transport, and I would love some input from those who've been through this before. What have you found to be the best vehicle for ease of entry/exit? We've tried out a Honda Odyssey, which as a minivan seems to be quite roomy. Mom does not want to ride around in a minivan. Dad is agreeable to just about anything, as long as Mom likes it. Neither of them drive. Any suggestions? Please?????

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Thank you, Hugemom. They can still get in on their own, but not for much longer, and I've been wondering what to do from here.
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When I asked this question a while ago, someone suggested a Milford Lift. If you YouTube it, the video explains it much better than I could. It is basically a powered sling lift to get s person from their wheelchair into the car and back again. There is no struggling to get in or out of the car and the lift can be installed in any car. The only downside is the cost--about $4,000 new. I haven't explored getting a used one or maybe renting one. Medicare doesn't cover them.
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Thank you, everyone, for the feedback. The rental idea is a good one, to try things out. Maybe if I beg my husband every night at dinner to sell my convertible so I can get a minivan, and he says, "No!" that will do the trick, and she'll start wanting a minivan too. :-)
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I had a minivan for years and that worked pretty well moving daddy about. (Parkinson's--patients become soooo stiff and immobile!)
Then I drove a Ford Explorer and mother was able to get in and out of that as it had plenty of grab bars and such.
I recently downsized to a Toyota Yaris...it's way too low to get mother in, and I cannot hold her weight. So, no more chauffeuring for me! She's unhappy I got a smaller car, but I felt silly driving an 8 passenger car with just me in it.
Mother prefers a sedan type car, with lots of grab things--I frankly don't notice those things in a car--but soon enough I will!
SIL's Honda Pilot is great, but SIL doesn't take care of mother.
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My MIL found our 2008 Subaru Forester much easier to get in and out of than her old 80s sedan.
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LOL freqflyer - I don't know what's funnier, driving a dining room table, or falling into the trunk and being lost for good!!!
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My mother has a Dodge Grand Caravan and finds that much easier than a sedan to get in and out of. There's also space in the back to fold up her wheelchair and bungee it to one of the headrests so it doesn't clunk into the rear window all the time. There was space behind the passenger seat to set her walker in without folding it up. I say "was" because we rarely take her walker further than the driveway these days - she needs the wheelchair.

I think your mother needs to get over herself. Lots of people drive minivans. I drive one, and I'm really cool! In fact I have all the seats stowed and have the back of mine set up as a camper, with a bed, table, shelves, porta-potti, battery-powered TV, the works. The only time I ever slept in it was during the hurricane when we had no power (and no A/C) in the house, but it was great to have! Point is, lots of happening people drive mini-vans, and your mother needs to get over it!
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My mom declared my Honda Fit to be the perfect car for her to get in and out of. There is now also the Honda HRV, built on the same platform.

I echo Windy's sentiment about this not being all about what makes your mom happy. As we age, we need to get more, not less flexible, especially when we are asking others to "do" for us.
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I like GAs suggestion of measuring the height of the door opening. My mother (87) has trouble getting in and out of my chevy equinox. I suspect many other suvs are high like this. She does better with their old chevy cobalt, a very low, small car.

And just my 2 cents but this isn't just about mom, it's about a vehicle that works for you, dad and mom. If the mini van works, so be it. I mean really, you're driving her and all the stuff around. She can take one for the team.
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I'll be interested in suggestions as well. Before any mobility issues occurred, I bought a Ford Focus. It worked well until a portable oxygen concentrator was added, but we coped with that. Add a walker, or rollator, then large oxygen tanks, and the car became a challenge, just as much for me b/c I had to haul all the equipment and manage to squeeze it into the car. Eventually the whole back seat was taken over by equipment.

I'm going to try station wagons; I had one before when we hauled a walker, wheelchair and oxygen tanks and I had no problem.

Another thing I'm considering is not only a low opening level for the station wagon, but a portable ramp. I used to be able to pick up a wheelchair comfortably but not any longer. I still need to figure out a way to get the wheelchair up the ramp though.

Something you can do when you look at vehicles is to measure the height from the pavement to the bottom of the car, and then up to the actual step-in point. Create some kind of arrangement in the house to test both your parents' flexibility in raising their legs to get in. Use something soft like a pillow to represent the car door, so if they can't lift up their legs and bump into the "door", they won't be hurt. This would also eliminate taking them with you as you view cars.

I've seen mobility specific vehicles at Area Agency on Aging Expos, held in fall in our area. It's interesting to see how they're configured, but I suspect the cost is more than I ever made in one year when I was working.
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I read once that mini vans were the new car for the elderly. They are easy to get into and have room for wheelchairs etc. We had a Honda Odyssey and my parents had no problem getting in and out and the sliding doors made it so much easier. Maybe you could convince your mom that they are the "In Thing". I loved my Odyssey and even got a new one after all the kids were gone. It was useful for pets, parents and moving things. You can also google "good cars for seniors" and get other ideas. I just don't have experience with those vehicles.
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You are taking them out daily? Hmmm......I'm not sure that I'd be that brave. With people who have mobility issues, I'd try to limit their exposure to risks.

For doctor appointments I used this almost free service provided by the county. There is a nominal charge and you have to reserve the times, but, they have a lift down that even accommodates a wheelchair. It's quite nice and they allow the caretaker to ride too, for no extra charge. You can arrange to use them daily too.

When I did have to transport my LO before she went to the wheelchair, I found that something too low was a problem. She had spinal fracture and weak legs. Getting down into a low car and then up was nearly impossible. The facility uses a mini van, and that seems to work better, but the problem with that, is that the person who has to get into the back seat, has more difficulty due to the way the seat is set back.  The front passenger seat is easier to maneuver in to, but, not the other seats. 

I like the idea about renting a few to check them out.
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I had similar issues with my own parents. Mom only preferred to ride in their sedan which unfortunately was a real bear for my Dad to get in and out of, it could take him 10 minutes of trying before he could get out, very exhausting for him. Plus trying to get the seat belts buckled, that was an ordeal, as I had to climb into the back to get the belts clicked. I am a senior myself, so it wasn't easy for me.

Yet, my Dad had zero problems with my Jeep SUV, easy to get into, easy to get out. But the climb up was too difficult for my Mom as she got older. Seat belts were easier for me to buckle both of them in.

I never tried a cross-over vehicle, which is a bit higher then a sedan, and a bit lower then a regular SUV. You might want to go to a car rental place and try one out for a few days. I bet this would work great. Plus for grocery shopping, stuff goes into the cargo bay in back, no bending way down to lift up items out of a trunk of a sedan.

Oh how I wished my parents would have bought a vehicle that was more elder friendly. How I hated to drive that vehicle. It was a big old Oldsmobile... I felt like I was steering a dinning room table down the highway. The rear view mirrors were terrible, I couldn't see into them due to location.... car was built was someone over 6 foot tall, not 5 foot tall !! The trunk was so deep I felt like I was going to fall in and never be found. Plus I would get car sick just backing it out of the garage :P

So since you are the driver, it should be up to you what you feel is comfortable not only for your parents but also for yourself :)
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