Bruno- AC Residential VPLs Converting to DC Motor

New Wheelchair Lift Motor used in VPL from Bruno!

All low-rise Bruno residential VPL (VPL-3153 and VPL-3175) units shipping on September 1 and after will feature a new 90v DC motor, replacing the current 120v AC motor. The system will still run on AC power and will not function during a power outage but will carry these distinct advantages over the current unit:

• Quicker speed

• Quiet operation

• Smoother start/stop

• Half the AC current draw – making it less expensive to operate

• Higher reliability with additional protective features

• Instantaneous start-up, no delay when you push the rocker switch.

• Internal braking, no need for an independent brake.

• Extensive diagnostic controller LED’s for easier troubleshooting

• More cold-climate friendly

• The new 90v DC motor is only for the low-rise residential VPL-3153 and VPL-3175  (no          change to commercial units or DC residential units)

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Veterans RebateAs the premier manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans, VMI has helped thousands of veterans achieve independence and mobility. We are committed to helping our veterans get the most from their VA mobility benefits. From now until 12/31, a $1000.00 rebate will be available to any disabled veteran for the first time purchase of a VMI van with a new conversion. Come let us say thanks and enjoy the freedom that YOU deserve!

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Introducing the 2017 VMI Honda Pilot – Wheelchair Accessible SUV

Honda Pilot- VMI Wheelchair SUVFinally, an SUV with enough room for a wheelchair user and a family!Get ready for a whole new mobility vehicle in demand!

Here are just a few benefits only available on a VMI Honda Pilot:
  1. Unobstructed Maneuverability with Access 360™ Interior Space
  2. Easy-to-use, Wide 32″ Northstar™ E Manual in-floor ramp
  3. Large Opening Door Width (34″) & Door Height (56″)
VMI is the only conversion manufacturer approved by Honda to modify the Honda Pilot, and we’re preparing to deliver an exceptional SUV that’s already built quite a reputation in all the right places.  
  • US News Best Car for Families
  • Kelley Blue Book’s Best Value SUV
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick
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Check out VMI’s Trade-in Trade-up $1,500 Rebate offer for customers who upgrade to a VMI minivan equipped with a Northstar™ power in-floor ramp.

Trade-in Trade-up Header Image_2

Check out VMI’s Trade-in Trade-up $1,500 Rebate offer for customers who upgrade to a VMI minivan equipped with a Northstar™ power in-floor ramp.

Rebate is available for consumer purchases made June 13 through October 16, 2017. Customers will receive a $1,500 rebate when they trade in vehicles equipped with any fold-out ramp, including a VMI Summit, or any competitor’s converted vehicle.

The Trade-in Trade-up Rebate can be used on the purchase of a new/new or used/new VMI WAV, equipped with a Northstar power in-floor ramp. And, the rebate can be used in conjunction with other VMI rebates and discount offers. Please note, purchases of vehicles equipped with a manual in-floor ramp system are not eligible for this rebate offer.

See Terms & Conditions on the rebate form for complete details.
Click here to download the rebate form and start sharing the savings with your customers today!

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Terminology-Terms used in the mobility industry. (From NMEDA)



Changed or modified to suit a new or different purpose. If a vehicle is adapted for wheelchair use, the floor may be raised, a lift or ramp installed or perhaps doors are widened.


The action of what is done to a van or other vehicle to make it accessible and driveable for those with disabilities. Most vehicles roll off the assembly line at a manufacturing plant as a passenger van without ramps, lifts or other wheelchair or accessible equipment. The vehicle is then modified by a separate company or NMEDA manufacturer that installs accessible and adaptive devices. It is then called a conversion van ready for use by someone with disabilities.

Full-size Vans

Recommended for larger families with multiple members in a wheelchair or for an individual using a large wheelchair that would not traditionally fit in a minivan.

Hand Controls

For seniors and those with progressive muscle weakness, hand controls can compensate for decreasing strength and range of motion in the driver’s hands and legs. Occupational therapists often recommend such devices:

  • Push/pull controls require the most arm strength. The control must be pushed to brake; pulled and held to accelerate.
  • Push/right angle controls are the most popular because it’s less fatiguing than push/pull. The user must push the control forward to brake and down toward the thigh with a slight pull to the torso for acceleration.
  • Push/twist controls are used very similar to a motorcycle. The vehicle will accelerate with a twist of the handle and will brake with a push of the hand control lever.
  • Push/rock controls are used similar to slot machines. The driver must rock his or her hand on the top of the handle – rocking back to accelerate and forward to apply the brakes.


The van actually “kneels” by lowering itself closer to the ground for easy loading and unloading. (Air suspension puts the magic in kneeling). It makes it easier to get a wheelchair into and out of the vehicle.


Wheelchair lifts for an accessible vehicle are available to raise the individual up to the vehicle. They offer a variety of features such as whisper-quiet operation and remote controls, depending on what is needed and what can be afforded. Although their automation makes them more convenient than ramps, they are more expensive. Other features include:

  • Automatic or electric roll stops assure the wheelchair stays in place during operation.
  • Threshold sensor mats are installed inside the van to warn users against exiting if the lift is not level with the floor of the van.
  • Integrated manual backup systems provide a manual backup pump within the driver’s reach and allow the platform to be raised and lowered manually in case of power failure.
  • Bridging mechanisms allow users to safely board the lift from sidewalks or inclines.
  • Standard hand-held control, on-lift controls and remote controls assist with lift operations.


They offer economical gas mileage, are easy to park and permit quick transfers in and out of the driver seat. There are a variety of minivan manufacturers and models to choose from.

  • Side entry minivans are typically for people in wheelchairs who intend on being the primary driver.
  • Rear entry vehicles are more commonly used for caregivers of a person with disability. The caregiver serves as the primary driver.


An incline connecting the ground to the van, which allows entry into the vehicle from the wheelchair. They are versatile and can be purchased at a lower cost than lifts, which makes them a popular item among wheelchair users. Portable ramps can be mounted on most vehicles without having to alter the structure of the vehicle and are easy to transfer and store. Since they are not necessarily permanently attached to the vehicle, they can also be used on vehicles, trailers, steps and porches. Some styles of ramps include:

  • Basic ramps are lightweight enough to be used with little exertion by a caregiver or attendant. They are not mechanical, so they do not break down easily and rarely need expensive repairs. They take up a minimum of space when folded.
  • Platform access ramps are heavier than the basic ramp. They carry heavy loads and passengers with disabilities. They also fold for storage and can be easily carried.
  • Roll-up ramps allow you to easily roll up the ramp, put it in a bag and store it in the back of a van, trunk of a car or under a seat.
  • Channel or track wheelchair ramps – Two thin ramps provide channel for each side of the wheelchair. Bumpers on each one prevent the wheelchair from falling off. These ramps can hold up to 600 pounds or more depending on the brand.

Steering Aids

Require the drivers to use minimal effort for steering or are designed specifically for quadriplegics:

  • Steering column extensions bring the steering wheel two-six inches closer to the wheelchair driver. It provides extra legroom and compensates for reduced range of movement.
  • Deep-dish steering wheels bring the steering wheel rim approximately four inches closer to the wheelchair driver and is normally used with a low-effort steering system. Lessens the range of steering motion.
  • Foot steering controls transfer hand control to foot operation. Auxiliary and secondary vehicle controls are also adapted to foot operation.
  • Horizontal steering columns are motorized, telescoping steering columns customized for those who experience limited arm strength and range of motion, and those who cannot use a conventional steering wheel.
  • Low effort steering reduces the strength needed to steer by approximately 40 percent.
  • Zero effort steering reduces the strength needed to steer by about 70 percent.
  • One-hand drive control systems are designed for people with limited or no use of lower extremities but have good strength in one arm and hand. Its main component is a knob through which the steering, brake and throttle are activated.
  • Steering spinners are designed for drivers who must steer with one hand. They are available in a variety of configurations including an amputee ring, knob, “quad-steering cuff,” palm grip, tri-pin and v-grip.
  • Steering forks support people with reduced grip function. The hand stays safely in place with support of the back of the hand and enables secure control of the vehicle.

Trucks and specialty vehicles

Available for those with disabilities who would prefer a more unique mode of transportation. Typically, power lifts will hoist and store wheelchairs in the bed of the truck from either the side door or tailgate. Specialty vehicles such as motorcycles and outdoor equipment are also available for modification.

Reprinted from



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Portable Ramps are easy and simple to install


Portable ramps are easy and simple to install.

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Financing… Funding Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle can be expensive. Finding funding for these purchases can be a challenge, if you don’t know where to look. Fortunately, NMEDA dealers are specially trained to guide you to programs that may apply to you. Below are a few general options to research.

State Agencies

Every state has a Vocational Rehabilitation Program. These are state funded programs that assist disabled individuals to get back into or remain in the workplace. In some cases, they provide funding for vehicle modifications. Check with your mobility equipment dealer to help find local programs and third party funders.

US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The VA funds mobility equipment for qualifying veterans. For additional information on available benefits, read more on their official site.

Charitable Organizations / Churches

Local organizations might be able to provide financial assistance to help you purchase a new or used wheelchair accessible vehicle, or at least help organize fundraising efforts. Explore your community for local options.

Mobility Rebate Programs

Many vehicle manufacturers (Ford, GM, Toyota, etc.) provide rebates to purchasers of new vehicles that require modifications for disabilities. Before making your purchase inquire with a NMEDA dealer about applicable rebates.

Special Finance Programs

A wide variety of programs are available for financing mobility vehicles including loans with extended terms, leasing packages and more. Please ask your NMEDA dealer for more information about the special programs they offer.


Contact all the people in your life and turn your need for a mobility solution into an outlet for socializing and creativity that can bring your whole community together. Get local news agencies involved by explaining what you’re trying to do and ask if they’d be interested in covering your story. Consider trying an online fundraising site like Help Hope Live or Go Fund Me.

Public Assistance

Depending on your disability and if you have a Social Security coming in, you may be eligible for the PASS program. If you need an accessible vehicle to go to school or your job, they may be able to help you.


There are several different organizations for each disabling ailment that provide information, support and resources to help assist those with specific conditions. For example, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society might help if you have MS or United Cerebral Palsy may be able to help if you have CP. You can also go through organizations like the Jaycees that don’t cover one particular disability but can help you apply for a grant to assist with your mobility needs.

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Senior Living Options

Nearly 44 Million Americans provide unpaid care to an elderly loved one. This puts stress on the sandwich generation, which are those that have elderly parents and children. They are supporting both of these groups emotionally and financially. It is a difficult conversation to have with one’s parents, but it is extremely important that your family has a plan. Many people have other types of plans in place, such as a financial advisor, but not having a plan about mom/dad’s future living arrangements can have a lasting effect on their children’s financial and emotional wellbeing.

The most important first step has nothing to do with moving, but making sure that all of the following documents are in place. Most people will say that I have a will so that I’m covered, but a will is once the person has passed away. I’m more concerned about when you are living. The medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and living will and very important documents that allows the person designated on your behalf to adhere to the way you would like a situation to be handled as well as being able to have easier access to financial resources in order to pay for your care. Unfortunately, only 1 out of 3 who are chronically ill have these documents.

80% of Americans say that they want to stay in their home forever, but that may not be possible due to physical and/or cognitive changes. It is important to have a plan in place, so that if the time comes where one has to move then they know what they are going to do. Too many times mom/dad has an event that makes them not able to live alone at home and the family is stressed out because they do not have a plan. The first time mom/dad goes to the hospital due to a fall then that family should start investigating senior living options so that they are prepared. That doesn’t mean that mom/dad has to move due to that occurrence, but at least they have a plan if it happens again.

Senior Living Options:

In-home care– This option does not require mom/dad to move. A caregiver would come to the home to provide medical as well as non-medical care. This may be a good option if mom/dad only needs a 4-6 hours of care a day as it could get expensive. Also, a good option if mom/dad is still getting together with their friends in social settings.

Independent Living- This option does require mom/dad to move. If mom/dad is active and does not require any assistance then this might be a good option. Independent living communities do not provide any type of medical or non-medical care. These communities provide daily social activities such as arts and crafts, bingo, trivia games etc. Physical activities as well are incorporated into the activities calendar. Some independent communities provide meals as well, but it is not a requirement. They may provide up to 3 meals a day.

Assisted Living- This option does require mom/dad to move as well. The reasons to move to an assisted living community is for 24/7 care as well as socialization. If mom/dad requires more than 6-8 hours of care per day then it may be better financially to move. If mom/dad is not socializing with their friends anymore due to isolation or because that many on their friends have passed away then it may be time to make a move.

Socialization can play a large role on keeping mom/dad’s social skills intact, which may improve their cognitive functioning. Assisted living communities provide 24/7 non-medical care, 3 meals per day, snacks, hydration stations, and housekeeping. Care includes assistance with showering, transferring, eating, incontinence, dressing, and medication management. Many assisted living communities have a beauty parlor on site. Activities may include card games, bingo, puzzles, trivia, arts & crafts, music, movies, and exercise.  Many assisted living communities will incorporate the resident’s preferences in their activity schedule. Going to restaurants and shops are on the agenda as well.

Memory Care- 5.4 Million Americans are currently affected by some form of dementia. Memory Care is part of an assisted living community, but in a safe and secure environment. The memory care environment at an assisted living community may play an important role in slowing down the progression of dementia as they implement social and physical activities.

Nursing Care- This option requires mom/dad to move to the facility. This facility handles residents with chronic health issues that require intensive medical care 24/7. Nursing care resident’s usually come from a hospital setting first and then are transferred to the facility for continuation of care.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – This option requires mom/dad to move to the community. The option calls for the most advanced planning and financial commitment. If choosing this option, many couples choose this option early so that they can receive the largest benefit. A CCRC is an independent, assisted living, and nursing community all under the same umbrella located in one location. Clients most likely will need to pay upfront starting at approximately $300,000 for a life care contract. This will enable the community to care for the individual as they progress through the aging process from independent living to nursing care. They will still need to pay a monthly fee as well. Benefit of a CCRC (if one can afford the upfront cost) is that your care is paid for until you pass away. One of the downsides is that the contract is only good at that community. So if your children suddenly move to another state and you would like to be near them then you will void the CCRC agreement.

As you can see, there are many options and every situation is different. One option might be good for you, but a different option might be better for another family member, neighbor, or friend.  More specifically an assisted living community might be a good fit for you, but another community might be a better fit for someone else.

It is important to be proactive when thinking about senior living options. As a certified senior advisor in RVA, I provide a FREE service for families looking for an assisted living community as well as being a resource for all senior living options.

It is always better to be over prepared then not prepared at all!

Marc Friedlander CSA MBA

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A New Innovative Vehicle for your Wheelchair!

Get Out and Ride

Experience the Ultimate Freedom in Moblity while driving the most Innovative vehicle available today. Introducing the LifeTrike!

“LifeTrike strikes the right balance between comfort and safety to provide riders a thrilling and enjoyable experience. Extend the cabability and range of your power chair or wheelchair to enhance your lifestyle by choosing when and where you’ll travel. The LifeTrike offers an increased level of personal freedom, and is the only affordable, limited mobility preduct on the market today. ”

On Display at our Richmond Store Only


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5 things you never knew about Veterans Day

5 things you never knew about Veterans Day

By Congressman Randy Forbes

November 7, 2014

Daily, we are surrounded by heroes. There are men and women in our neighborhoods, sitting next to us in our churches, coaching our children’s soccer teams, and standing next to us at the gas station, who have made selfless commitments, faced harrowing situations, and borne the weariness of battle. On Veterans Day, we are once again reminded of the ways in which our freedoms and liberties have been preserved by the dedicated service of the men and women in our Armed Forces.

How much do you know about the history and vision behind Veterans Day? Here are five things you may not have known about this federal holiday.

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and its always on November 11th. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, fighting between the Allied nations and Germany ceased with an armistice. Armistice Day, established in 1919, was set aside to honor veterans of World War I. Decades later, Veterans Service Organizations pushed for Congress to replace Armistice with the word Veterans. It wasn’t until 1954 that Veterans Day became a day to honor all Veterans.

When President Woodrow Wilson issued the declaration for the observance, he said the day should “be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”


Veterans Day and Memorial Day are similar, but serve different purposes. Memorial Day honors those individuals in our U.S. Armed Forces who died while serving our nation. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served in our Armed Forces honorably during war or peace, either living or deceased.

The first unknown soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921. Arlington National Cemetery now holds a Veterans Day National Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier each year on Veterans Day. It begins precisely at 11 a.m. Engraved on the tomb are the words, “Here rests in honored glory an American Soldier Known but to God.”

Americans often wear poppies on Veterans Day. This vibrant red flower is known for thriving on disturbed soil and symbolically represents those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Although poppies are traditionally associated with Memorial Day, many individuals choose to wear poppies on Veterans Day, too, in honor of those who lost their lives in service.

There are over 89,000 veterans living in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional district and nearly 800,000 veterans living in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our congressional district has one of the highest veterans’ populations in the nation. That’s 89,981  unique reasons we, as citizens of the Fourth District, have to observe Veterans Day.

As you go about your day this Veterans Day, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our service members have made for our nation. Fly an American flag. Shake hands with veterans to say thank you. Participate in local parades to honor the living.  Wear poppies to remember the fallen. Talk to your children about how we’re free because of the brave.  Read more about the history of Veterans Day on the Department of Veterans Affairs website. Show our veterans that we are grateful to be surrounded by men and women of such courage.

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