Following proper safety measures and being equipped to accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers in the senior living industry is a must. However, securing the ideal bus or van is only a starting point. Along with needing specialized vehicles for the job, it’s crucial the drivers and healthcare heroes are informed on the safest ways to board seniors. Here are some best practices for loading and unloading wheelchair passengers for day trips.
1. BE MINDFUL OF THE LIFT WHEN PARKING THE VEHICLE
For the lift to be most effective, the vehicle must be parked on level ground with ample space for the wheelchair passenger to maneuver themselves. As such, each driver needs to know how to position their vehicle to provide optimal safety. This involves being aware of traffic patterns and taking note of how much space it is for the lift to move.
In addition, the driver must inspect the area prior to parking to ensure there is enough space for the lift to be deployed safely. The ground needs to be level, and the driver should check the surrounding area to ensure there won’t be obstacles.
2. GO OVER PRE-BOARDING PROCEDURES
Before a wheelchair passenger can be boarded, it’s also important that the driver performs the proper pre-boarding procedures. This process requires them to ensure the wheelchair itself is in good condition, and that the wheel locks are operational. For the safety of the passenger, if the chair isn’t meeting the standards, the passenger won’t be allowed to board until it’s fixed. In case you’re needing a refresher, check out our YouTube for wheelchair training videos for your drivers!
3. BOARD IN TEAMS OF TWO
To ensure the best loading and unloading experience for the passenger, it’s recommended that this process include two individuals rather than one — the driver and a helper. While the helper guides the passenger onto the lift, the driver is responsible for operating it and ensuring that the individual is properly secured to the vehicle. This is the safest way to help a wheelchair passenger board, as it lessens the risk involved by having two parties watching for dangers.
Additionally, it keeps every person accounted for. In a group traveling experience, it can be difficult to keep track of every attendee. When boarding in teams of two, the group is using the buddy system to make sure their partner gets on the bus.
4. SECURE WHEELCHAIR WITH RESTRAINTS
Once the passenger is positioned inside the vehicle, it is imperative that wheelchair restraints are used according to the manufacturer’s requirements. Securement systems work in two very important ways. The floor anchors will keep the chair stationary and secure, and the lap/shoulder belts that are attached to the interior wall will keep the passenger in the chair. It is like a seat in your car, the seat must be attached to the vehicle at its base, and the passenger belted into place to keep them in place and secure.
At Schetky Bus and Van Sales, we don’t just set out to supply you with buses and vans. Rather, we aim to provide each of our customers with the right vehicles for their needs. From regulation school buses to minivan conversions with wheelchair entry, our stock contains various vehicles for you to choose from. This way, we can best serve you, and you can best serve your passengers.
Mobility for the Elderly
Aging should never slow you down. Rain or shine, there are plenty of activities to keep seniors physically and mentally active. Senior citizen day trips are a great way to break up a routine and participate in fun, fulfilling activities. In fact, they’re proven to increase a person’s overall mood, reduce stress and promote a more positive lifestyle. Schetky has a wide variety of senior living vans that offer comfort, accessibility, and safety. Our vans and buses offer transportation for assisted living to independent living to everything in between!
With the number of vaccinated people increasing every day, socialization and planned future activities can finally go back on the agenda! Even if that means traveling less than 15 minutes from home, a new favorite activity might just be right around the corner. Here’s a list of a few simple ideas to get senior citizens out on the town again!
1. MUSEUMS OR ART GALLERIES
You can’t always predict the weather on the day of a senior outing, but that doesn’t have to stop the group from having an exciting day outside their home. Visiting local museums and art galleries is a great indoor day trip idea. Galleries are a perfect place for those who need to take it easy. Museums and art galleries are very leisurely activities that can accommodate many levels of mobility.
Museums are full of new things to see and learn, making them the prime place to stimulate both the mind and body. A guided tour could also help seniors learn new information about a wide variety of genres. Assuming there’s a possibility of living through some of the histories on display, this is a great chance to get them talking about themselves and their own experiences.
2. THE LOCAL COMMUNITY CENTER
Community centers offer an array of activities, such as art classes, yoga classes and crafting activities. Depending on what your group is interested in, this can be an awesome way to interest seniors in a new hobby. Many community centers also put on regular events, such as art fairs or crafting demos, giving locals the opportunity to socialize with those that share the same interests. For residents of senior living facilities, this is the best time to get to know someone outside of their usual crowd.
Community centers provide a nearby location for senior citizens to gather and engage in various activities or provide a space to host private events. Hosting a book club or enjoying live music in a private space would be beneficial to seniors. Some people may also enjoy participating in community service activities offered through the local community center.
3. RESTAURANT TASTINGS
For your foodie seniors, there’s nothing more fun than sitting down at the best restaurants and getting the opportunity to expand your palate. A tasting is a great way to try out new things and broaden their culinary horizons without overindulging. Additionally, if you do a bit of research beforehand, you might be able to find eateries that provide a senior discount for your group.
Plus, a restaurant with a patio or outdoor seating is the perfect way for senior citizens to get a breath of fresh air while also enjoying a unique culinary experience. Restaurants are a unique, fun way for seniors to experience outings in a group setting. It’s important for senior citizens to participate in social activities to stay in touch with others and create meaningful connections.
4. HOLIDAY EVENTS
Each season, at least one commonly celebrated holiday comes around. From New Year’s to Thanksgiving, you can expect that your city will be hosting plenty of events to bring the community together and celebrate!
During the winter season, holiday lights are the perfect way to get any senior citizen out and about no matter what mobility level they’re at! A leisurely drive through holiday lights is the perfect activity for night owls. Fourth of July is another perfect holiday for a senior day trip. Food, fireworks and fun — what more could you ask for? As long as a lawn chair and a bottle of sunscreen are on the packing list, any group can enjoy this day trip.
At the end of the day, there’s only one absolutely essential part of every senior day trip — other than the seniors themselves! In order to make the most of your day trip and show your seniors a good time during their next outing, it’s important that you have the tools to transport them to your destination safely. Schetky Bus and Van Sales offers quality transport buses for sale that cater to the specific needs of senior passengers. Our inventory includes different vans with wheelchair accessibilities and positions and some electric bus options.
5. NEARBY PARKS OR NATURE PRESERVES
Parks are a wonderful trip option for those who want to get out and enjoy what local nature has to offer. Whether it’s taking a short walk, taking pictures, feeding the birds or — for those who are less mobile — having a picnic, there’s plenty for older individuals to do in these locations. Better yet, if you have a national park within reasonable driving distance, you can have them experience nature in ways they haven’t done before. Getting outdoors and taking in some fresh air and sunshine is very beneficial to overall health, especially for senior citizens. According to Business Insider, spending time outdoors can help improve short-term memory, lower blood pressure and reduce body inflammation. Traveling and being outdoors provide more opportunities to be active and stay moving. This article by Outdoorsy mentions “the most accessible, wheelchair-friendly national parks,” check it out to get some ideas for your next favorite spot to visit.