Category Archives: Helpful Tips

Rehabilitation Specialist

What You Need to Know Before Meeting with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

Many individuals have injuries or medical conditions that can reduce their ability to operate an automobile. Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (DRSs) are trained professionals who specialize in determining alternative driving options for people of all ability levels. A DRS can help a person drive safely and have the freedom to move about in life as they please. 

There are a few things you should know before meeting with a certified driver rehabilitation specialist.

What Does a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist Do?

Driver rehabilitation is a branch of occupational therapy. A certified DRS will typically have a college degree and will always have a document or badge confirming his or her certification. Driver rehabilitation has one fundamental goal: driver independence. A DRS works with clients to determine what adaptations must be made to the vehicle in order to produce the greatest amount of mobility.

Step One: Addressing Individual Needs

Each client presents a unique set of goals, preferences, and abilities. Some people may utilize a DRS if they need special hearing or vision technology. Others may have to become familiar with other types of adaptive equipment. Still others may benefit from general coaching as a result of aging, mental illness, or a brain injury. A driver rehabilitation specialist is thoroughly trained to assist with dozens of conditions and injuries.

What’s Involved in the Driver Rehabilitation Process?

A driver rehabilitation specialist begins with a comprehensive assessment. He or she evaluates necessary skills involving cognitive, visual, and physical aspects. If an individual meets the criteria to move forward, the next step is a driving assessment. The driving experience includes any needed adaptive equipment. For new drivers of an accessible vehicle, a course in driver education is included.

Driving plays a critical role in independence. With the proper guidance, individuals with limited mobility can enjoy the freedom of operating a vehicle. A certified driver rehabilitation specialist can assess and coach individuals in such cases. Consider the above points before meeting a DRS, then schedule an appointment with the Bussani Mobility team to continue on your road to independence.

Family & Friends

5 Ways to Stay Connected to Family & Friends

Note from the editor: Usually we focus on topics related to mobility in our Behind the Wheel blog. But today, we’re touching on something else that has affected us all.

It’s a new year, but not a lot has changed so far. We’re all still dealing with the uncertainty of an ongoing global pandemic with varying degrees of lockdowns and quarantines, as well as political unrest both here in America and across the globe. As a result, many people have found themselves struggling for months on end to stay connected with those they love. 

And yet, we know that social bonds are critical to our happiness and well-being. Our daily interactions with others can improve mental health, boost mood, and elevate our overall quality of life. So as 2021 begins, consider these ways to take small steps to stay connected to family and friends. Some of this might sound obvious, but sometimes we all need a gentle reminder or a reassuring nudge to find our inspiration.

Phone Call

Hearing the voice of a loved one can strengthen or renew a social bond. Text messages pass on information and ideas, but there’s something about a phone call that’s so much more personal, and that amplifies connectedness. Catch up on gossip, hobbies, and future plans. Not only can a phone call strengthen a relationship, but verbalizing your own thoughts and feelings often produces mental and emotional relief and benefits.

Video Call

When time and circumstances allow, a video call can take connectedness one step further than a phone call can. Any number of people can join a video call. Similar to in-person visits, this medium allows loved ones to show nuances and mannerisms that simply cannot be expressed in a text or voice communication. Video calls require a good internet connection and a video service; Zoom is the most preferred choice these days.

Family Web Page

You can build a family web page to keep up-to-date on family events, milestones, and conversations. Or use a social media platform (such as Facebook) to form an exclusive group for your family. Group members can share videos, photos, or type messages to the family. Once a group is created, you can (virtually) invite a tech-savvy member to help manage the page.

Group Text

A simple alternative to a web page, a group text allows for written conversations among participants. If your cellular plan comes with unlimited texts, a group text can be carried with you, even when there’s no internet available. For those who prefer to use the computer (and internet), a group chat can be established on several platforms, including Google and Facebook. Whichever method you choose, a group chat allows for quick messaging to help keep the family connected.

Write a Letter

Although it’s almost extinct in these tech-driven days, a handwritten letter adds a personal touch that technology just cannot replicate. Letters are often prized by recipients, and it’s not uncommon for people to store them away with other treasures. Set aside some time and energy to write a heartfelt letter to somebody who has been on your mind. A kind or motivational note can strengthen almost any bond. In addition, many individuals find the very act of writing to be therapeutic. 

Worldwide, people can counteract isolation and loneliness by staying connected socially. Keeping in touch with family and friends is possible through several media, including those listed above. Choose a method that works for you, and reclaim those social bonds. You’ll be glad you did.

At Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping to improve the quality of your life. Our customers often become our friends and we want to provide information that builds a sense of community where we can improve accessibility for all, together. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, visit our Blog and our Helpful Links pages. 

Also keep in mind that we’re communicating with our customers virtually, as well, when that’s their preference. We’re happy to have a Zoom call with you, and we’ll give you a virtual vehicle tour. Just give us a call whenever you’re ready.

Driving Tips

3 Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Winter is already here in the Northeast. And the cold, wet weather means that drivers should take extra precautions. Here are a few tips for safe winter driving.

1) Get a Tune-up Now

No one wants to have a breakdown on the road in the middle of winter. So take the time now to get a tune-up. You’ll feel better knowing that an expert technician checked all of your vehicle’s vital components. Fluids – including antifreeze, oil, and washer fluid – should be clean and full. A well-functioning heater is a must. Brake pads should have ample thickness. Cold weather can condense the air in your tires (and most blowouts are the result of underinflated tires), so the tire pressure is checked. Tire tread is also important for gaining traction on slick surfaces, and tires must be replaced if the tread is too low. Ramps and doors are also checked to make sure they are operating smoothly.

2) Be Prepared

Take a little time to prepare your vehicle so that you can respond to any unforeseen circumstances (like bad weather or other drivers making poor decisions) with confidence. Keep the gas tank at or above halfway – this eliminates the need for emergency pit stops in unfavorable weather. Ensure the spare tire is usable and properly inflated, and you have all the needed tools to change a tire. Tuck away emergency supplies in an easily accessible area, including a blanket, water, flashlight, gloves, snacks, cash, cellphone charger, and a First-Aid kit.

3) Drive with Extra Caution

Maintenance and preparation are good first steps, and then there’s the need to drive with added caution. Most importantly, we can all use the reminder to accelerate and stop more slowly in the snow and ice. Also leave extra space in inclement weather between your vehicle and others. And if the weather is too bad, just don’t go out until it clears.

It’s worth taking the time to check if your wheelchair accessible vehicle needs any maintenance or repairs before heading out into winter driving conditions. The team of certified technicians at Bussani Mobility is here to help. We want to make sure that you stay safe and secure on the roads in any type of weather.

9 Great Gifts for People with Disabilities

Still have holiday gifts to buy, but you’re just stumped on what to get? Here are some ideas if your loved one has a physical disability.

1) A Good Night’s Sleep

For people who use a wheelchair, their body can get stiff and sore, and sleep issues like insomnia are common. A gift to relax the body or mind can help a person sleep more comfortably. Try a calming candle, white noise machine, or massage wrap.

2) Wheelchair Pouch

This handy contraption attaches to the wheel, arm or back of a wheelchair and provides convenient storage for personal items. Some are black and basic, while others are highly styled with vibrant colors and accessories.

3) Adaptive Clothing
There are many companies – like Target and Tommy Hilfiger – that offer clothing lines specifically designed for people with physical disabilities and seniors. Adaptive clothing often uses velcro and magnets rather than buttons and zippers; pants, dresses and shirts open to the side or the back; and shoes have easy step-in and closures. It makes everyday dressing easier. 

4) Computer Mouse

Make web browsing easier with a modified-use mouse. Varieties include ring (finger-controlled), pedal (foot-controlled), or orally-controlled options.

5) SAD Lamp

Studies show that people with disabilities suffer depression and anxiety at a higher rate than the general population. For loved ones with wintertime blues, a SAD lamp can help elevate mood by radiating the benefits of natural light, allowing recipients to experience “happy rays” even after the sun goes down.

6) Modified Cane

Canes have been used for centuries as walking aids. Modern advances have made canes even more useful. Especially helpful for seniors, retractable canes can expand to serve as a balancing aid when needed. Or, freestanding walking sticks remain upright, preventing users from having to bend excessively.

7) Electrical Adapter

Plugging in electronics can be a challenge for people with limited mobility. In addition to bending and reaching, the person must line up the prongs perfectly, which may prove difficult and frustrating. A magnetic electrical adapter allows devices to be plugged in quickly and easily.

8) Jewelry
Especially if your loved one is female, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful piece of jewelry. Always consider her personal needs and any sensitivities, but what woman wouldn’t adore getting a lovely necklace, bracelet or earrings this holiday season?

9) Personal Passion

One of the most thoughtful gifts you can give is something that relates to your loved one’s personal passion, hobby or fandom. What do they love to do? What are they always watching videos about on YouTube or Facebook? A gift that ties into something they most care about is sure to be appreciated.

We hope that gives you some good ideas. Now get out there (or online) and shop!

Here at Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping you get mobile. Our customers often become our friends, too, and we try to provide information about accessibility that goes beyond their mobility vehicle. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, click here.

Should I Buy a New or Used Wheelchair Van?

bussanimobility-chevy-traverse

When considering an accessible vehicle purchase, first-time buyers and seasoned consumers alike face a crucial question: Should I buy a new vehicle or a used one? Here, we outline some considerations to help you make the best-informed decision when choosing between a new and a used wheelchair van.

Purchase Price

First and foremost, there’s a clear difference in price between new and used wheelchair vans, with new vehicles costing a good deal more. You could save $20,000 or more by opting for a pre-owned or a used van. This alone can be the deciding factor for people with limited budgets. 

Also note that, as with vehicles of all types, the value of a new accessible van depreciates significantly during the first year of ownership. So, selecting a newer-model “slightly used” van provides the buyer with an opportunity to save money while still driving a relatively new vehicle, perhaps only a year or two old. Deeper discounts can also be given based on model year, mileage, and other factors.

On the other hand, if you’re well set financially and can afford a brand new vehicle, you can proudly enjoy that “new car feel” (knowing that you’re the only driver), as well as the ability to customize it exactly as you wish and take advantage of the latest mobility technology.   

Reliability

Many potential buyers aim to balance cost with reliability, and they may view newer vehicles as more reliable than used vans. That sounds reasonable, but a trusted local mobility dealer ensures that every vehicle they sell is safe. Among their offerings are “certified pre-owned” vehicles that have been through rigorous inspection and testing for performance and reliability. 

Mobility van warranties are also an important aspect to consider, and you can find out more about them here. In addition, regular service (every six months is suggested) helps to maintain a well-functioning vehicle (both the van itself and the conversion equipment), whether it’s new or used. 

Repairs & Insurance

There are other factors to mull over when deciding between a new and a used van. For instance, used vehicles have a lower purchase price, but new vehicles tend to have fewer out-of-pocket repair costs. You have to decide for yourself how these elements balance out.

Insurance premiums also increase with the “value” of the van, so you can expect a used van to have less expensive insurance. 

It’s important for used-van buyers to do their due diligence. A local mobility specialist will help you secure the most reliable vehicle and conversion equipment for the best relative price.

New or used? We hope we’ve given you a few things to consider as you make your decision. The Bussani Mobility Team is standing by ready to assist you whenever you need or want help. Contact us or stop by one of our locations today for answers to all of your mobility questions.

Bussani-Mobility-how-to-sanitize-mobility-vehicle

What’s the Best Way to Disinfect My Wheelchair Van?

Bussani-Mobility-how-to-sanitize-mobility-vehicle
Most of us have been breathing a small sigh of relief these last few days, now that New York state is beginning to open up and quarantines from the COVID-19 pandemic are being lifted. As we all start venturing out again, it’s important to keep ourselves and our environments as germ-free as possible. 
Your wheelchair van should be sanitized and disinfected on a regular basis, to help you and anyone you travel with stay safe. Here are some tips on what to do…
1. Keep Disinfectant in Your Vehicle. The experts are saying that the COVID-19 virus on external surfaces can be killed. Common household EPA-registered disinfectants will do the job. It’s recommended that you always keep some spray and wipes in your van, and that you continually wipe down all points of the car where contact is made. 
2. Make Common Touchpoints Your Focus. Prioritize disinfecting the places in your van where people touch the most. In addition to more obvious things, like your keys, steering wheel, and door handles, another important part of your wheelchair van’s interior is the dashboard. It can harbor and spread germs, because air is continuously being sucked over your dashboard and circulated throughout the car. Other spots to clean regularly include ramp and door operating buttons, seat belts, wheelchair straps, remotes, and touchscreens. 
3. Continue to Wash Your Hands Regularly. This may seem like an overly simple task for combating a pathogen, but experts say that it’s one of the most effective tasks you can perform to do your part to help flatten the curve. Washing your hands before eating, using the restroom, providing care to others, and after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose will reduce the number of germs that are brought into your wheelchair van in the first place.
At Bussani Mobility, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our customers. We’re happy to assist in whatever way you need during these trying times. Remember that our auto shops are open for service, and we’ll pick up and deliver your vehicle for free. Just let us know how we can help.
 

Disabled coder working from home

5 Tips for Happily Working from Home During the Pandemic & Beyond

Disabled coder working from home
Although COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions are beginning to be lifted, many businesses throughout the country are still asking their employees to work from home. In fact, the new work-from-home normal may well become the way much business is done as we all move into our new future.
For those who are used to having a lot of social interaction at work, this can be a lonely experience at times. It can also be difficult to stay on task with pets and kids in your workspace. And then there are the household tasks, like laundry and house cleaning, that can contribute to a distracting at-home workspace. But, there are ways around all of it.

Here are five helpful tips for creating a happy and productive at-home work environment, during and beyond the pandemic:

1. Confine your workplace to a specific area of your house. This way, you are not subjecting yourself to the distraction of the activities that typically take place in shared or multiple areas. Instead of attempting to do your work near a television, create a quiet space where it’s easiest to stay on track. If another room is not an option, find an area with little or no foot traffic.

2. Block out the noise. A helpful trick is to use noise-canceling headphones or earbuds. Studies show that peaceful music and nature sounds can activate the calming part of your brain that helps with concentration.

3. Set strict boundaries. Treat your workplace like you would the office and make it well-known to your family or housemates that your workplace is just that, a place to work. Make sure they respect the fact that you have a long list of things you need to do, and you will not be able to accomplish them without peace and quiet.

4. Be prepared. The pandemic impact on the workplace has paved the way to more virtual meetings and communication. Be sure you know how to operate virtual meeting applications ahead of time. Doing so can save you and the company time, not to mention potentially embarrassing moments or delays.

5. Avoid cabin fever. When you’re spending the majority of your time at home, it’s important to take breaks and get outside … whether it be venturing out around the block or participating in an outdoor activity that you enjoy. Once your workday is successfully finished, remove yourself from your workplace and enjoy other parts of your home. Spend time with your loved ones or get busy with that hobby you love to do.

The Bussani Mobility team cares about you, and we’re staying optimistic that we will emerge out of this crisis stronger than ever and with a greater appreciation for the little things we may have sometimes taken for granted. If there’s anything we can do to help you, please call us.

How to Refresh Your Spirit This Spring

Refresh Your Spirit This Spring
Life has been turned upside down for all of us, around the world, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know instinctively that it’s vital during these trying times to stay as healthy as possible physically, but our mental health also needs attention. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay strong mentally, as we all ride this out:
1. Get outside and enjoy nature.
Yes, there are many places that are prohibited right now. But, you can still go out and experience the great outdoors. There is something to be said about the peace that we feel when we take a break from the stress of our daily lives and just breathe in the fresh air. It can improve your mental state if you take the time, each and every day, to experience and appreciate nature, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
 2. Start a daily gratitude practice.
While not always easy, reminding ourselves of the positive aspects of our lives rather than dwelling on the negative can reframe any difficult experience. By appreciating the good things in our new day-to-day, we can create an expanded perspective for ourselves. Some people practice gratitude in individual moments, while others prefer to keep a gratitude journal. Find whichever method works best for you and try to return to it every day.
3. Download a meditation app.
We live in a day and age where there is an app for everything, including meditation. Taking the time to meditate and quiet the mind is time well spent. Meditation can reduce anxiety and stress dramatically, and instantly. It has also been known to boost brainpower, enhance focus, and brighten your disposition.
4. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
Getting enough sleep may be easier to do during these times, when so other activities are on pause. But getting too much sleep can also have negative effects on your mental health. The experts say that it’s best to maintain a sleep schedule of 8-10 hours, and go to bed about the same time, every night for optimal health. 
5. Socialize while social distancing.
Obviously it can be difficult to socialize with friends and family when we can’t even leave our homes. But this pandemic has hit us at a time when it is still possible to communicate through Zoom, Skype, or via a simple phone call. Connecting with those you love can lift your mental well-being and theirs. 
Keeping it simple is often the way to go. If you’re not doing any of these things to maintain a healthy mental outlook, maybe you can try just one of them today. Or maybe they’ll inspire you to come up with a new idea or practice of your own. 
All of us at Bussani Mobility care about you, and we’re staying optimistic that we will emerge out of this crisis stronger than ever and with a greater appreciation for the little things we may have sometimes taken for granted. If there’s anything we can do to help you, please call us.

How Can I Transport My Wheelchair Without a Van?


If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair or scooter, the easiest way to get around is with a wheelchair accessible van. And there are many stylish and functional models on the market today. But if you don’t have your own van, that doesn’t have to hinder your mobility. There are other solutions for transporting your wheelchair or scooter.
The team at Bussani Mobility thrives on helping people find independence through mobility. And we know that sometimes the best answer is to adapt your current vehicle, even if it’s not a van. Here’s what you can do:
1. Wheelchair Trailer
A wheelchair trailer is a possible solution. If you have a power wheelchair, you will have to consider its weight and purchase a trailer that can accommodate it. To avoid any damage to the trailer or wheelchair, you’ll always need to properly tie it down and secure it before transport it. You can either use a portable wheelchair ramp or purchase a trailer with one built in to get the chair in and out. 
2. Hitch Lift
An outside lift will transport any kind of wheelchair or scooter. If you own a small, medium, or large vehicle, you can attach a wheelchair or scooter lift at the rear end of their vehicle. Some hitch lifts can also be installed on vans, trucks, or RVs. 
Depending on your vehicle, you may need to have a hitch attached prior to using this type of lift. When considering a wheelchair or scooter lift, be sure to find one that can manage the weight of your wheelchair or scooter. Heavy-duty lifts have a carrying capacity of up to 400 lbs. But if you don’t have a heavy electric scooter, you may want to consider something more low-profile, like a micro lift. 
3. Chair Topper
The roof chair topper is designed to load, transport, and retrieve foldable wheelchairs. This device transports the wheelchair in a box that sits on your vehicle’s roof to save the space inside the vehicle for passengers. 
The chair topper is simple, convenient, and can be used on almost all car models. It automatically lifts and stores the wheelchair in the unit when you are ready to travel, and unloads it when you’ve reached your destination. Unloading and storing can be done in only 30 seconds. The chair topper box is also weatherproof, protecting your wheelchair from the elements.
Although owning a new wheelchair van is ideal, we understand that it’s not feasible for everyone and every situation. That’s why Bussani Mobility works with top brands to offer a variety of mobility solutions for your car, truck, or van. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Renting a Wheelchair Van

wheelchair van rentals

Accessible vehicles help people living with disabilities navigate their lives with independence.

With the holiday season upon us, many people are making plans to head out to visit with relatives and friends. If the journey takes you to other states, and you don’t have an accessible vehicle of your own, you can rent a van that will easily transport everyone in the family, including those using a wheelchair or scooter.
Bussani Mobility offers wheelchair van rentals from the New York area. You can rent by the day, week, month, long-term, or simply for a weekend getaway or holiday visit. Renting is also an excellent way to test drive a mobility van before you buy to determine which features you prefer. 
Here are the questions asked most often by our customers about renting a wheelchair van. We hope this will answer some of your questions, too.
1) How old do I have to be to rent a van?
You must be at least 25 years old with a valid driver’s license.
2) Do I need my own car insurance?
Yes. You will need to provide proof of insurance that extends to rental vehicles. However, many insurance companies will provide short-term insurance for such occasions. You will also need to sign a rental agreement and pay a deposit.
3) What type of rental vans do you have?
All of our rental minivans are 2017 or newer. They have lowered floors and tie-downs for your wheelchair or scooter. Beyond that, one of our mobility consultants will determine the features that you need, and get you into the right vehicle.
4) Do you offer drop-off and pick-up?
Yes. We offer drop-off and pick-up that starts at $125 each way. We also provide 24-hour emergency service.
5) How many miles can I drive per day?
We include 100 miles per day and charge $.25 per mile after 100 miles. Mileage may vary for rental specials. Be sure to refill the tank to where it was when you picked it up to avoid the $9 per gallon charge to refill.
6) Do you offer any specials?
Yes. Our daily price drops after 7 days. And, if you need a rental for more than 29 days, we offer an additional discount. We also offer a $90 same-day package for 10 a.m. pickup and 3 p.m. drop off; and a $280 weekend special for Friday pick-up after 3 p.m. with drop-off Monday before 10 a.m.
 If you have any questions or concerns about renting a wheelchair van, give us a call or stop by Bussani Mobility on Long Island or in Westchester. We’d be happy to help you to stay mobile, especially during this year’s holiday season. 
To learn more about our accessible vehicle rentals, click here. If you want to get on our rental mailing list, to receive news and updates about our accessible vehicle rentals, click here.