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The Best Cars for Caregivers

This is a guest blog post from Jamie Page Deaton, the Managing Editor of the U.S. News Best Cars rankings. Having owned everything from mid-eighties Volvo station wagons to BMWs, pickup trucks, and classic Corvettes, Jamie is passionate about the cars and technology that move us.

AARP estimates that in 2007, over 34 million family caregivers provided care at any given point in time, and about 52 million provided care at some time during the year. That’s a lot of Americans in caregiving roles.

Caring for someone else can mean a lot of stress, and it also can mean a lot of time in the car: driving to doctor’s appointments, tests, the pharmacy, and even just trips around town can take on another level of complexity when you’re responsible for someone else’s needs. But if you have a car that supports your caregiving efforts, life will be that much easier.

Here’s what caregivers should keep in mind when shopping for a car.

Access for All

If you or someone you’re caring for has limited mobility, ease of entry and exit is a big deal in a car.

Access for Stuff

Caring for someone else often means carrying a lot of stuff. Make things easy on yourself by getting a car that can not only handle extra cargo, but makes loading and unloading easy.

Features

One way a car can make caregiving easier is by having the right interior technology. Depending on your needs, gadgets can be as basic as a radio for soothing someone who’s agitated or an automated emergency response service that can connect you to help.

Fuel Economy

Taking care of someone else can take a healthy chunk out of your budget. Make sure your car’s appetite for fuel doesn’t do the same thing. Crossovers are not only easy to get in and out of, but they also tend to have better fuel economy than SUVs.

Customization

Car makers are making more products that make sense for an aging population, but in some cases, the car you buy off the lot won’t be able to handle everything you need it to. If that’s the case, you’ll need to consider how the car can be customized to your needs.

Things like a ramp are going to be easier to install on some types of cars than others. Resources like the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association can help you not only find the right car for the modifications you want, but also find a reputable dealer to install the features that fit your needs.

What have you found to be the biggest “car” challenge to face when caregiving? What cars (or car features) do you think make caregiving easier? 

Photo thanks to Imagine24.

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