Category Archives: People with disabilities

9 Great Gifts for People with Disabilities

Man gives New Year's gift to woman in wheelchair

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.


Top 5 Wheelchair-Friendly Halloween Costumes

Although the Halloween fun has come and gone, we’re still marveling at some of the costumes that Magic Wheelchair put together for the children.
If you or someone in your family uses a wheelchair, you’re well aware that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the traditional costumes you find at your local retail store. Here are five of the coolest wheelchair-friendly Halloween costumes we’ve seen. You know, it’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s costume!

1. The Flintstones’ Flintmobile
flinton
The Flintmobile, now there’s an icon for you! The best part is that you really don’t need to purchase extensive materials to make it. Thick cardboard, light-colored fabric, colored paint, and twine will do the trick.

2. A Princess Carriage
princess
It is every little girl’s dream to become a princess one day, and Halloween offers the perfect opportunity to turn that wish into a reality. Magic Wheelchair fashioned this little girl’s wheelchair into a princess carriage and sent her off to the Halloween Ball in style.

3. Moana’s Ship
moana
Since her very first appearance on the big screen, Moana captured the hearts of many young girls and boys alike. And who says there can’t be a Maui steering the ship? Moana has to get some sleep too, right? We have seen Moana costumes since the movie’s release, so why not turn your child’s wheelchair into a ship for Halloween? Complete the look with Moana or Maui’s two best friends on deck, Heihei and Pua.

4. The Batmobile
batmobile
You can transform your teen’s wheelchair into the most advanced automobile in all of Gotham City with a fabulous batmobile costume…complete with a steering wheel and wing-shaped tailfins. Finish off the look with a Batman shirt or hoodie.

5. Star Wars Spaceship
starwars
The whole family can be battle-ready with this elaborate and beautiful Star Wars Spaceship wheelchair costume. Some cardboard, glue, tape, paint, and scissors are all you need to create this realistic shuttle to slip over the wheelchair. Add Star Wars gear and you’ll be the coolest family from space.
Keep in mind for next year that finding a wheelchair friendly costume doesn’t have to be a struggle. It just takes a little extra creativity. For more ideas or to receive a FREE wheelchair costume designed by the makers at Magic Wheelchair, start your application here.

At Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping you get mobile — and that goes for the entire family. Our customers often become our friends and we want to provide information that builds a sense of community and creates a tribe where we can improve accessibility for all, together. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, visit our blog. And if you’re thinking about buying a wheelchair accessible van to improve your mobility, stop by and talk to one of our mobility specialists.


5 Great Gadgets for People Who Use Wheelchairs

wheelchair accessible vehicle

There’s so much amazing technology available today to help us in our daily lives. Sometimes it feels like the futuristic lifestyle of the Jetsons is already here. We came across these five great gadgets that were specifically designed for people who use wheelchairs.

Tecla for Smart Devices

Tecla-e is an assistive device that gives people with mobility impairments the ability to use smart devices and other types of technology, including Apple, Android, and Windows products. Users can do anything from browsing the web to reading books to adjusting the thermostat. If you can’t easily utilize a tablet, smartphone, or other technologies and tasks independently that require additional upper-body mobility, this gadget is for you.

Power Chair Headlights

You have headlights on your mobility van. But did you know that you can put them on your power chair, too? So, you can stay safe by having the ability to see and be seen at times and places with low visibility. Most headlights come with a remote for ease-of-use and customization.

Personalized Wheelchair Hubcaps/Spoke Guards

While maybe not exactly a “gadget,” this wheelchair accessory is a fun way to personalize your wheelchair. With everything from astronauts to lions to geometric designs, you’re sure to find hubcaps that fit your personal style.

Fleximug for Easy Drinking

The Fleximug helps people with disabilities that affect the upper body to drink independently. The mug is leak-proof, easy to use, and has good lip control and suction. It was created with the purpose of improving the lives of people with spinal injuries, multiple sclerosis and other such disabilities.

JACO Robotic Arm

Okay, so this gadget is likely outside the price range for most of us, but it’s inspiring and it is definitely worth mentioning. JACO is a three-fingered robotic arm that helps people with limited upper-body mobility accomplish routine tasks. From eating a meal to opening doors to picking up objects, JACO is truly impressive. The robotic arm allows for 16 movements in total, to mimic the versatility and smooth transition of a human arm. It can be mounted on a wheelchair and is powered by its own battery.

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. And if you’re thinking about buying a wheelchair van to improve your mobility, come and talk to one of our mobility specialists. You can even rent one of our vans to try-before-you-buy.


3 Helpful Tips for First-Time Drivers with Disabilities

handicap vans NY
Whether you’re sixteen and just got your driver’s license, or you’re more mature and are just getting back behind the wheel after an injury or illness, driving can be an exciting – and sometimes a little scary – experience. For those who are living with a physical disability, here are a few considerations to help you stay safe out on the roads.

  1. Know What You Can Do

When shopping for handicap vans NY, it is important to understand what you can do to drive safely, and find the right vehicle that will support you. There are many equipment options available, including ramps, wheelchair lifts, transfer seats, and specialized driving tools. A certified driver rehabilitation specialist will be able to help train you to drive with the mobility equipment that is customized to meet your needs.

      2. Use the Right Equipment
When selecting mobility equipment, quality is the top priority. Cutting corners on modification materials, craftsmanship or design could end up costing you big in the long run. Contacting your local mobility expert, such as Bussani Mobility, will ensure that you get the highest quality parts and modifications.

      3. Keep up on Regular Maintenance
Over time, due to normal wear and tear, modifications to your vehicle will require maintenance. Your converted vehicle should be serviced about every six months. Always take it to a certified Quality Assurance Program (QAP) technician to have it serviced properly by a mobility expert.
To find the right mobility vehicle for your needs, or to have your vehicle professionally serviced, visit Bussani Mobility today.
 


Bussani Mobility’s Next Generation Management Team

L to R Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephn Wilmer, John Bussani

Left to right: Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephen Wilmer, and           John Bussani


With the recent retirement of founder John Bussani, the 42-year old Bussani Mobility Team has undergone a restructure and installation of a three-man executive team. According to the company’s new Chief Executive Officer Dan Bussani who formerly served as vice president under his father’s leadership, the company was purchased by himself and two partners who have been long-time employees.

Bussani teamed up with Gen. Mgr. Dan Walsh and Accountant Stephen Wilmer to make the purchase. When a larger company made an offer to John Bussani to buy his business, the three came together. According to John Bussani the employees’ offer was accepted in order to keep the “personal customer experience.”

Small Business Feel
“We want to keep the small business feel,” said Dan Bussani. “I think people like to do business with small companies. We don’t want the customer to become just a number. None of us want to get so big that it gets to that point.”

Newly named Chief Operating Officer Dan Walsh sees focus as the key. “Each one of us knows the other person’s goals,” he said. “Our roles are clearly defined now and it helps us to work together efficiently and it also helps the customer.”

“My dad never thought his business would grow to what it is today,” said the younger Bussani. The company now has three locations – two on Long Island and one in Westchester. “We want the business to grow in the area. We know of a couple of locations where we feel we’ll be doing a good job for our community,” he continued.

Expanding
“We want to keep the personal touch,” said the new Chief Financial Officer Stephen Wilmer. “Although we want to expand, we don’t want it to get so big that we lose the individualized service that was always part of the company.”

Part of their expansion includes adding an enhanced service department. “I noticed clients would buy their vehicles from us and were going to dealerships and automotive facilities for service,” said Walsh. “They were either getting taken advantage of or refused. I started bringing in local repair shops. We would do mobility work and they would do automotive. After a while we started doing full service in house for customers who choose to have their work done in one place.”

Dan Bussani, 41, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Seaford grew up in the company. Although he had other jobs while in school, he has been a part of the Bussani team all his life and has worked hand-in-hand with this father as the roles gradually reversed and he took over much of the day-to-day operation as John Bussani neared retirement.

Forty-eight-year-old Dan Walsh has been on the team for 13 years. He lives in Seaford with his wife and two daughters. After learning about business by working in the restaurant and plumbing businesses and his family’s auto body company Walsh learned from Dan Bussani about the plan to expand the service department in the Bethpage location. “At the time they were only working on converting vehicles,” said Walsh. “I came in to take a look and I fell in love with it — the people, the atmosphere and the customers.”
“Accountability is the word we’re using continuously,” said Dan Bussani. “We’re accountable to each other and especially to the customer.”

Stephen Wilmer, 37, has been with the Bussani team for nine years. A month after graduating from college he filled a need. The company had just lost its bookkeeper and the Bussanis realizing their need was for more than a bookkeeper offered Wilmer the position. He handles the financial needs of the company as well as working with the regulatory aspects of the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of taxation. “You have to do everything right,” he said. Wilmer lives in Lindenhurst with his wife and his two daughters.

“I am confident that the new leadership will continue to service the disabled community with the same care and compassion that has been the hallmark of the Bussani ‘family’, “ said John Bussani.
This article appeared in Able News – Volume 26 – Number 7 – January 2017


John Bussani Retires From Mobility Business

John BussaniOne of the local pioneers of the mobility industry, John Bussani, has passed the torch to the next generation. John, who founded Bussani Mobility 42 years ago, recently announced his retirement.

Bussani remembers riding on a train in the dark with the sounds of war blaring all around, as his mother held him below the window to protect him. At five years of age, he and his mother were fleeing Yugoslavia to join his father who had defected to Italy to make a better life for them.
He had his first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, at age 11, from the ship that brought his family to America. They settled in Hoboken, N.J. and then moved to Freeport, N.Y.

Bussani served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. While hospitalized with a broken arm in Germany, he watched as disabled soldiers returned from the war, and he wondered how he could help.

After the war, he worked as a draftsman and then started repairing automobile transmissions. While having dinner with friends one night, he was introduced to a polio survivor. They discussed what types of vehicle modifications would be needed for people with disabilities. He learned about a man in New Jersey who was installing hand controls in cars. He met with Alan Ruprecht of Drive Master, who showed him how to do the installations — and that was the beginning of a journey that spanned over four decades and touched thousands of people.

Bussani traveled around Long Island working out of the trunk of his car to give independence to people who were unable to use their feet and legs to drive. The word spread and people started asking Bussani for help with their vehicles. Eventually, he bought a building in Baldwin, N.Y., where he did modifications, then moved the growing business to Freeport and later Bethpage, which is now the headquarters for Bussani Mobility. The company continued to grow and now has locations in Smithtown in Suffolk County and in Mamaroneck in Westchester County.

Over the years, Bussani became well known in his field. He lectured at occupational therapy classes at SUNY Farmingdale, Touro College, and Stony Brook University. He opened his facility to students on a regular basis and actively participated in NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association), the Adaptive Driving Alliance and other leading industry organizations. In particular, he became an advocate of higher safety standards in vehicle modifications.

The mobility industry continued to develop as manufacturers like BraunAbility began mass-producing wheelchair accessible vehicles and advanced technologies became available. Bussani Mobility expanded accordingly, keeping quality workmanship and integrity in the forefront of daily operations.

One thing tL to R Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani, Stephn Wilmer, John Bussanihat has not changed at Bussani Mobility according to Bussani which is his original vision — to help people living with physical disabilities get mobile and to enjoy full and complete lives.
John’s son Dan has been involved in the business his entire life. “I even remember driving my toy car around the parking lot as a child while Dad was changing peoples’ lives for the good,” said Dan Bussani. Dan has now taken over the business as Co-Owner and CEO. Long-time employee Dan Walsh is also a Co-Owner and COO. Stephen Wilmer completes the team as the third Co-Owner and CFO.

John Bussani was an only child. He was married to Barbara for nearly 40 years when she passed 10 years ago. He has two sons – Daniel and John Christopher (J.C.) who is an engineer. John is spending time enjoying his grandchildren.

Photo Left to Right: Dan Walsh, Dan Bussani,
Stephen Wilmer, and John Bussani

The Industry Says…

John is a true pioneer in the mobility industry. Those of us with mobility needs have had our lives transformed by his vision, determination and creativity. He has given me, and many others, a means to regain lost independence and lifechanging freedom. Thank you for everything John…enjoy your retirement.
-Tony Amorello, customer & friend

John’s development of his business and his hand in the nurturing of the vehicle modification industry, setting the standards to what it has become nationally, has advanced the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout our country making people mobile and, most importantly, independent. Where would we be without John’s vision and hard work? Thank you John Bussani.
-Robert Pipia, Nassau County district court Judge customer & friend

John and the Drive-Master family go back at least 48 years when my dad Alan Ruprecht and John met. John started buying his hand controls. We have had a wonderful friendship since then, and will continue. To fish and call the nurse for libations. Congratulations on your retirement, you have certainly built a lasting legacy. Lv Ya man, Peter.”
-Peter Ruprecht president, Drive-Master Co., Inc.

When I was a green horn in the industry 14 years ago, I tucked myself under John’s wing and said ‘teach me.’ He was so willing to help, a great mentor, and we’ve been friends ever since.
-Greg Kiser, vice president of consumer sales, BraunAbility

John Bussani represents the very best in the accessiblemobility industry from his warm and welcoming personality to the products and services he delivers to his customers. It has been an honor for me to do business with JB.
-Brendan Healy, Eastern Regional sales manager, Q’Straint

This article appeared in Able Newspaper – Volume 26 – Number 5 – November 2016


WWII Vet Receives Accessible Van on 92nd Birthday


Yesterday, State Farm sponsored the donation of a wheelchair accessible van to WWII Veteran Sidney Germanski. We were so happy to be able to host the ceremony at the Bussani Mobility Team’s Mamaroneck, NY location, and provide the mobility conversion.

WATCH FIOS1 NEWS COVERAGE OF THE CEREMONY.

After learning of a local Mamaroneck Veteran’s struggle with daily transportation, State Farm coordinated with Bussani Mobility Team to secure a van and worked with Star Body Collision to have it equipped to meet his needs. The 2007 Dodge Caravan is a wheelchair conversion with fold-out ramp and wheelchair tie-downs.

92-year old Sidney Germanski is legally blind, paralyzed and uses a wheelchair. He depends on his wife and the local Veteran’s Affairs office for his daily transportation needs. “It has been a daily struggle and hardship to get me where I need to be,” commented Mr. Germanski. “This new van will change my and my wife’s life significantly, and we are so grateful.”

Monday’s vehicle donation ceremony happened to be Mr. Germanski’s birthday. “I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present,” he said.  Mr. Germanski plans to use the new vehicle to travel to the White House where he will be presented with a Medal of Honor for his military service. “One of the most important days of my life,” he said.
Photos courtesy of Risa Hoag.


Three Wheelchair Vans Up for Grabs – NMEDA Contest Starts Today

The fifth annual National Mobility Awareness Month contest kicks off today — and three wheelchair accessible vans are up for grabs!


NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month LogoStarted by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), the awareness movement and its online contest are designed to educate seniors, veterans, caregivers and people with disabilities about wheelchair accessible vehicles and adaptive mobility equipment options that enable them to live an active and mobile life. And it’s working. In the last four years, the online Local Heroes Contest has touched the lives of more than 10 million people across the U.S. and Canada.

Bussani Mobility Team is proud to join NMEDA in this year’s contest, which starts today! Those eligible to win the wheelchair accessible vehicles are encouraged to submit either written or videotaped stories of how they are triumphing over their mobility issues through their academic and career ambitions, as well as their family and local community contributions. Caregivers, friends and family members are also welcome to submit entries.

Stories will be accepted at MobilityAwarenessMonth.com from April 12-May 31, 2016. Voting takes place May 3-31. This year’s winners will be announced in mid June.

Sponsors Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Valley Honda Dealers, BraunAbility, VMI, and ElDorado Mobility have rallied together to provide the vehicles and conversions, which will later be customized to the winners by local mobility dealers like Bussani Mobility. National Mobility Awareness Month is also supported by prominent spokespersons and advocates for those with disabilities, Mike Savicki and Chad Blake.

In 2015, 914 entries received more than 1.3 million votes from across the country that resulted in four deserving Local Heroes in Oakley (California), Holland (Michigan), Derry (Pennsylvania) and Emeryville (California) being awarded fully customized wheelchair accessible vehicles; and an additional two dozen Local Heroes contestants whose communities came together to provide them with vehicles when they learned they had not been a contest winner through NMEDA.

“It is rewarding to work on such an important project each year that literally changes the lives of people with inspirational life stories. It is their contributions and triumphs we recognize and celebrate through the Local Heroes contest,” said Dave Hubbard, Executive Director and CEO of NMEDA. “We encourage caregivers, friends and family members to submit written or video stories of how they are triumphing over their mobility challenges and positively impacting the lives of the people around them.”

Go to  MobilityAwarenessMonth.com to learn more and submit stories. Tell how you are a Local Hero who triumphs over the daily obstacles of living with mobility challenges. Then get all of your friends and family to vote for you. Plus we can help you get over 1,000 bonus points — just ask anyone on Bussani Mobility’s staff and we’ll show you how. One of those three wheelchair accessible vans could be yours!
 


US Veteran Honored with 2016 Toyota RAV4 at NY Auto Show

Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show

Photos by Michael Lampert- Mobility Specialist Serving New York City for Bussani Mobility


Congrats to US Army Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Hackett of Oswego, NY, on being presented with his new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid equipped with special steering controls and pedals that can all be used with his left foot. Governor Cuomo awarded him the vehicle at the NY International Auto Show.


Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show
Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show
Here’s the story that ran in The Bronx Chronicle on March 27…

Governor Cuomo Opens New York International Auto Show

Ten-day event expected to generate $300 million in economic activity across New York

Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo kicked off the official opening of the 116th Annual New York International Automobile Show at the Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side. The Governor drove a Silver Camaro ZL1 Convertible in a brief parade to kick-off the opening ceremony. More than one million visitors are expected to attend the ten-day event, the largest show of its kind in the country. The show features nearly one thousand of the world’s latest automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and concept cars at the convention center and is expected to generate more than $300 million in economic activity for the Empire State.

“The New York Auto Show is a time-honored tradition that continues to serve as an important economic generator for the Empire State,” Governor Cuomo said. “By showcasing the industry’s best manufacturers and state-of-the-art designs all under one roof, this event keeps visitors and car enthusiasts like myself coming back year after year.”

The opening ceremony included celebrity appearances, musical performances, and was highlighted by the donation of a brand new SUV to an Afghanistan War hero who was injured in combat.

Toyota and the New York International Auto Show joined forces to celebrate and honor US Army Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Hackett of Oswego County, New York. Toyota is donating a 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to. Hackett lost his right leg and suffered serious injuries all over his body due to an IED explosion that happened when he and his fellow soldiers were clearing a house in Afghanistan in 2011.

Governor Cuomo awarded SFC Hackett with an honorary license plate for his new RAV4. To assist Hackett, the Bussani Mobility Team of Bethpage, N.Y., equipped the RAV 4 with special steering controls and pedals that all can be used with a left foot. During his 19 years of military service, Hackett earned more than a dozen awards, including the Bronx Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Purple Heart.


First-Ever Wheelchair Accessible SUV

Have you heard that the first wheelchair accessible SUV is coming soon!?!
Wheelchair Accessible SUV
Built on the 2015 Ford Explorer chassis, the BraunAbility MXV™ wheelchair accessible SUV personifies action and independence while allowing for easy access and safe driving by people who use wheelchairs.   A prototype of the vehicle will be on display at the Special Needs Expo Long Island this Sunday courtesy of local mobility dealer Bussani Mobility Team and manufacturer BraunAbility.  The expo brings the special needs community together for a fun-filled and informative day. Admission is free. It’s taking place 11am-4pm at the Long Island Hilton (598 Broad Hollow Rd, Melville, NY).

“The MXV represents a new era in mobility,” said Daniel Bussani, Vice President at Bussani Mobility Team. “This is nothing short of a breakthrough in mobility transportation options for people living with physical disabilities. It offers great new options for people to express their personality and live an active lifestyle.”

The BraunAbility MXV™ holds four patent-pending features, including a glide-out door operation and a space-saving sliding shifter. BraunAbility’s dependable in-floor technology maximizes interior space and removable driver and passenger seating offers flexibility for power and manual wheelchairs. And this mobility vehicle is equipped with a tow package.
It will be available for purchase later this year through local mobility dealers including Bussani Mobility Team.


Watch this video
to learn more.