How Can I Maintain My Wheelchair Van At Home

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Even during these chaotic times, maintaining your wheelchair vehicle is essential to keeping it running smoothly. There are simple steps that you can take at home to help extend the life of your vehicle and keep you safe on the road:

1) Check the door track and ramp.
First, examine the door track and remove any debris. Also, check the hinges of your ramp to make sure that all of the bolts are tight and secure. A dry lube can be applied at the hinges to maintain the highest level of mobility. 

2) Check the battery.
Be sure the battery is cleaned off and there aren’t any bubbles of acid on the surface. If you find bubbles, use a scrub brush to clear them. Make sure the battery cables are tight and secure. Turn on the van and listen to the sound of the vehicle. If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, such as stutters, it may be time for a new battery. 

3) Maintain the right tire pressure.
Inside the driver’s side door, there’s a sticker that tells you approximately what your tire pressure should be. Check the pressure of each individual tire with a tire gauge. Accurate tire pressure is important to maintain safety and a smooth ride. 

4) Inspect the tie-down tracks.
If moving the tie-down tracks proves to be difficult, there is a high chance that there is debris preventing ease of movement. Vacuum up the debris or use a simple brush.

Even if you take these actions to maintain your wheelchair van at home, it’s still very important to schedule regular maintenance checks with the expert technicians at our Bussani Mobility auto shops. Our Service Department is open for business by appointment, and we’re offering free pick-up and delivery during the pandemic. This is a perfect time to get your vehicle serviced, so it’s ready to go when the quarantines are lifted.

We’re happy to assist our customers in whatever way you need during these trying times. Just let us know how we can help.


How to Refresh Your Spirit This Spring

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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?

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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. 


Veteran Christopher Levy Wins a New Jeep

Veteran Christopher Levy Wins a New Jeep

Congrats to the recipient of the 4th Annual Great American Jeep Giveaway at Westbury Jeep! Christopher Levy, U.S. Army, who served 8 years including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, was honored earlier this year. Bussani Mobility worked with Westbury Jeep to install hand controls that operate the gas and the brake – and to give an American hero a chance to get back on the road. We salute our heroes.


Best Wheelchair Accessible Vans for 2020

For someone living with a physical disability, a wheelchair accessible van can get you well on your way to mobility and independence. But there are many factors to consider when shopping for a wheelchair van, such as features, pricing, driving aids, maintenance, and warranties that can make the process seem overwhelming, especially for a first-time buyer. 
So, let us help. We’ve been doing this for over 40 years, and we know a good accessible vehicle when we see one. The following are the three best wheelchair vans currently on the market. 

Toyota

  1. Toyota Sienna Side-Entry with Fold-Out & In-Floor Ramp

This is a top-of-the-line wheelchair accessible minivan. It is reliable and versatile with a ramp style to accommodate all preferences. Spacious and sporty, it offers plenty of flexibility and ease of use. With the option of a power fold-out or in-floor ramp, users get less dirt and debris in the interior, and both have optimal maneuverability for larger power chairs. For those who prefer a rear ramp entry, Toyota offers a manual version.

Toyota is a recognized brand in the industry because of the quality vans they produce, and the Toyota Sienna is a great personal transportation solution for many people who use wheelchairs.

Honda

  1. Honda Odyssey Side-Entry with In-Floor Ramp

The Honda Odyssey is an accessible vehicle that’s stylish and sporty. Honda is a global brand that appeals to its loyal customers, and the Honda Odyssey is the total package with style, space, and function. This van is a favorite because of its performance and clean lines. The all new in-floor ramp system is neat, clean, and out of sight when not in use.  

  1. Chrysler Pacifica Side-Entry with Fold-Out & In-Floor Ramp

This wheelchair van offers a best-in-class, extra-wide doorway and ramp, paired with exceptional interior space to accommodate people who use wheelchairs that need extra space or who have larger families. It has superior technological advancements, and its ramp options allow users to access every inch of space. Not only does the Chrysler Pacifica offer two side-entry ramp options, but it also offers two floor height options to accommodate the proper door clearance and line of sight for the wheelchair occupant. In addition, for those who prefer a rear ramp entry, Chrysler offers a manual version.

Chrysler

A reliable wheelchair accessible vehicle can make it easier for anyone using a wheelchair (and their families or caretakers) to stay mobile, and have a greater sense of freedom and well-being. Always consult a mobility expert, and test drive or rent the van you’re considering, to see if it’s right for you before making a purchase. Contact Bussani Mobility or stop in at any of our three New York locations to discuss your driving needs, and we’ll help you find the vehicle that’s just right for you.


Understanding Hand Controls

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Vehicle hand controls give people living with physical disabilities the ability to drive and operate a motor vehicle. Hand controls allow for the driver to manage both the brake and gas pedals using levers that are generally mounted below the steering wheel and attach to the pedals. 

There are many different types of hand controls available, which is why it is important to speak to a mobility expert, often working hand-in-hand with a driver rehabilitation specialist, to find which ones will best suit your needs. Here is an introduction to help you get started in understanding hand control options. 

Push/Rock Style
When the driver pushes the handle forward, the brakes are applied. When the lever is rocked back, the vehicle accelerates. This model is ideal for individuals who have no finger dexterity as they operate the controls. 

Push/Right Angle Style
Individuals who have limited finger dexterity can benefit from these types of hand controls. When the driver pushes the handle upward towards the instrument panel, the brakes are applied. When the control is pushed downwards at a right angle, the vehicle accelerates. 

Push/Pull Style 
In this type of hand control, when the lever is pushed forward, the brakes engage. When the lever is pulled backwards, the vehicle accelerates. If needed, a three-post hand interface can be installed, providing the driver with the ability to maintain contact with the handle, ultimately providing greater control. Push/pull style hand controls are ideal for individuals with limited finger dexterity.

Electronically Assisted Hand Controls
With electronically assisted hand controls, the driver typically uses Joysticks and touchscreens to operate the vehicle. A primary set of controls manages the gas, brakes, and steering. A secondary set of driving controls operates other vehicle functions. This option is good for those who must use only one hand for driving, and who have limited strength and range of motion in both upper and lower extremities. 

There’s much more to know, and this is just a beginning description of what to expect with the various types of hand controls. The individual’s needs and abilities will help to determine what style of hand controls will work best for them to safely operate the vehicle. Experienced mobility experts are standing by at Bussani Mobility to help drivers of all ability levels. 


How to Save on a New Accessible Van in 2020


Have you or your loved one been wishing you had your own accessible van? Is more mobility and independence one of your resolutions for 2020, but you aren’t sure how you’ll be able to fund a mobility van? Here are a few tips on how to save on a new wheelchair van in NY.

Apply for Funding
If you are a veteran with a physical disability, you may be eligible for veteran’s assistance to convert your current vehicle into an accessible vehicle or to purchase a new accessible van. You may also be eligible if you are a veteran whose disability was not caused while serving, but you are still in need of a mobility vehicle. 

If you are not a veteran, check with your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program to see if you are eligible for vehicle benefits. 

Finally, see if you qualify for any mobility grants. In New York state, there are several non-profits that aid residents in getting the appropriate mobility equipment for their needs. You may want to check with organizations such as: ADAPT Community Network, Skip of NY, Access VR, OMWDD, or The Weber Foundation of Helping Hands, Inc.

Save on Extras and Essentials
If your heart is set on a brand new vehicle, but the price is beyond your reach, skip some of those luxury extras, as they can really add up. Maybe indulge in a few extras, but avoid the temptation to take every upgrade. You could get the cool navigation system but no leather seats, or the navigation but no alarm system. 

Also, know your options when looking for financing and insurance. The mobility specialists at Bussani Mobility understand all the ins-and-outs, and can guide you through the process and provide resources for better understanding the best options for your situation.

Consider New to You
There are some excellent used vans to choose from, so don’t just browse brand new options. Buying a pre-owned, certified vehicle can save you significantly on your purchase price without sacrificing quality. Just be sure to work with a reputable mobility dealer that understands how to get you into the right car for your needs, and to avoid paying a high price for a vehicle that could have problems if it is not thoroughly checked out by a trained mobility technician. 

Bussani Mobility is here to help you determine what you need, and ease the process of purchasing your new van. That kind of personal attention can be especially helpful if it’s your first time buying a wheelchair van in New York. For over 40 years, we’ve been selling, servicing, and renting mobility vehicles with a variety of features and conversions to help our customers get or stay mobile. Reach out to us today to learn more.


9 Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Loved One Living with a Physical Disability

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If you haven’t yet started to create your gift list, it’s time to get to it. Here are a few ideas of what to consider for family members or friends living with a physical disability.

1) The Able Label Adaptive Clothing line uses discrete fasteners and high-quality fabrics. For the women in your life, there’s a cable knit poncho or quilted velcro gilet. For the men, how about a non-iron velcro dress shirt? Ships worldwide from the UK. Free returns available for your peace of mind.

2) The Uccello Kettle makes it safer and easier for someone with limited hand mobility to independently pour boiling hot water. The design is sleek, modern, and looks great on the countertop. Available at $79.95 on Amazon and shipping is free. 

3) Anyone who uses a wheelchair can express their personal style with the Izzy Wheels’ wheelchair wheel covers, all designed by world-famous artists and fashion designers. (139 euros, about $155 US).

4) This compact, powerful 3D rotating massage pillow from Viktor Jurgen gives deep-kneading shiatsu massage to relax overused and tight muscles. Fits perfectly behind neck, shoulder, lower and upper back, abdomen, calf, and thigh areas. Gentle heating function soothes aching muscles and can be turned on and off with ease ($39.95 on Amazon).

5) Anyone who has an iPod, iPhone, or Apple Watch can control the physical aspects of their environment easily with the Apple HomeKit using touchscreen or voice commands, such as The Philips Hue White Starter Kit and the iDevices Thermostat (both $99).

6) This super big, weighted pen is great for those with tremors, Parkinsons, or similar challenges. Helps to control involuntary motion so the user can write smoothly and clearly (just $14.97 on Amazon). 

 7) For book lovers, you can’t go wrong with the Kindle Oasis. It’s waterproof. And has Audible, so they can listen to a huge library of audiobooks, anywhere ($199.99 on Amazon).

 8) Send your loved one on any of these Adaptive Adventures of a lifetime: alpine skiing, snowboarding, cycling, kayaking, water-skiing, whitewater rafting. For children, adults and veterans with physical disabilities and their families. Prices vary. 877-679-2770.

9) One last idea: Forget all about your family member or friend’s physical disabilities, and give them something that relates to one of their hobbies or something they just love to do.

At Bussani Mobility, we like to be a go-to resource for our customers and friends for all things related to their mobility, not just their wheelchair accessible van. One way we do that is by providing Helpful Links on our website to other companies and resources that can help out with the challenges of daily life.

Good luck with your gift-giving this year!


Frequently Asked Questions About Renting a Wheelchair Van

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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.


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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.