How to get an elderly person into a car

Our golden years come with a couple of upsides.

For example, thanks to the copious amounts of time in the hands of an elderly person, he/she can catch up with the hobby activities that had been thrown under the carpet in their hyper-busy working years.

Now, it’s no secret that a good chunk of seniors love traveling.

Indeed, travel keeps elders moving and more active, often creating more opportunities to see new places and to reconnect with long-lost family or friends.

It’s also a great way of breaking the monotony of staying at home, bored. 

Yet, it’s more difficult to accomplish simple things such as getting into the car because of mobility problems that crop up with aging.

Thankfully, with your help and that of a couple of aids, your elderly mom or dad can easily and safely get into the car and travel with you to their desired locations,  even if they face serious mobility issues.

Read on for the scoop about making car travel safe and comfortable for the elderly person you’re caring for.

How to get an elderly person into a car – useful car aids and other ideas

First off are the assistive devices you can add to the car to make him/her more independent and safe when entering and leaving vehicles.

#1- Use an automotive grab bar to help him/her get in and out of car

This tool is perfect for elderly people, those recovering, or anyone else needing assistance when getting in or up out of the car.

How does it work?

The grab bar (some manufacturers market them as car canes) simply gives an elderly person something solid to grab onto when entering or exiting a car or truck.

These tools are, for the most part, universal (work on countless cars/trucks) and you fit it without any modifications on either the driver or passenger side of your car.

They’re extremely sturdy and don’t take up much space in the vehicle.

If you’d like to try one, take a look at the Standers Handybar– it’s durable, fits easily on any door latch, and supports as much as 350 lbs.

#2- Use a rotating Disc to transfer him/her to the car more easily

The transfer disc can also make a huge difference when shifting an elderly person into a car (and vice versa).

In fact, this is invaluable for wheelchair-bound seniors and any older adults with serious mobility limitations, often brought about by underlying chronic diseases. 

How does it work?

The tool is designed to provide a safe platform where he/she can stand on and rotate from a normal chair to a toilet, wheelchair to car, etc.

So an elder spins around more securely with the help of this device.

Our favorite is the SafetySure Pivot Disc because it comes with a handle to help you pick it up or put it down.

Tip: Transfer Boards such as the sturdy DMI Transfer Board also help move elders from a wheelchair to other sitting medium (cars, chairs, beds) and can be a good alternative to transfer discs.

#3- Use a car caddie (or automotive standing aid) to help the elderly person get into any car

Consider ordering the “car caddie” if your aged parent is having difficulties getting in and out of vehicles.

Like the rest, it’s not a complicated device but it makes the whole car climbing experience less daunting and very safe.

How does it work?

This simply attaches to outside of the roof rack or even inside the vehicle (on the doorframe) from the window to provide secure support to hold onto when getting in/out of cars.

The caddie is portable and made flexible meaning the caregiver can adjust it to practically any car, truck, or van.

The best part?

It’s super strong and folds/wraps nicely into the palm of his/her hand!

We recommend the Stander CarCaddie if you’d prefer this kind of tool.

#4- Provide a Vehicle Mobility Step Stool to help him/her climb higher vehicles

A step stool can also be a fantastic option if you want to give your aged grandparent more freedom and security when it comes to climbing vehicles that stand higher off the ground such as Jeeps.

How does it work?

You probably guessed it right: This provides an extra step that he needs to access higher standing cars more easily.

That makes it a great accessory even for disabled seniors, those with back trouble, and more.

Keep in mind that step stools have different heights and it’s important to choose one with the exact height he/she needs.

It’s also important to select one with non-skid feet such as the Bluestone Mobility Step.

#5- Use a seat swivel to help the senior ‘swivel’ into the car

A padded swivel seat cushion such as this allows the individual to sit on it (its placed on the seat first) from outside the vehicle (with the feet out).

He/she then ‘swivels’ into the seat, while lifting their feet.

It’s a much easier way to get into the car for anyone with movement troubles.

How to get an elderly person into a car without aids

If your elderly mommy/daddy retains fair balance, you can try to assist them get into the car without the above aids.

Here is how to get an elderly person into a car (step by step):

  1. Prepare the seat- remove any hindrances, books, etc.
  2. Hold his/her hand –if necessary- and bring him to stand close to the door.
  3. Let him/her hold onto the handle – inside of the vehicle- with one hand, while still standing.
  4. Next, he/her grips onto another safe part of the car (such as the roof) with the free hand and brings in the first leg as far as he/she can into the car whilst getting seated- Be sure to check that they bend over to get the head into the car safely here.
  5. Once seated securely (help him/her to sit in the middle, if necessary), ask them to lift the remaining leg into the car (offer support, if needed.

This procedure works for some seniors.

Wrapping It Up

Well, that is how to get an elderly person into a car and give them a ride to the church, clinic, grandchild’s home, etc.

Remember that it’s all about helping maintain him/her independence and dignity when getting into a car so be patient and allow them to express themselves as you try out your chosen method.

We also can’t emphasize this enough: To avoid problems down the road, please consult his/her physician and/or healthcare pro before ordering any of the above tools.

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