Handicap Motorhome

If you have physical limitations, consider the possibilities a handicap motorhome brings to the world of RV'ing. A completely new way of life opens through installing wheelchair lifts, widening doorways and aisles and customizing your vehicle to meet all your needs of life on the road.


Handicap RV Lift

A variety of modifications exist to transform a motorhome into a vehicle suitable for someone with physical challenges such as:

  • Hand Controls - a hand-controlled apparatus that assumes the functions of standard foot-operated gas and brake pedals; enables paraplegics, little people and individuals with muscle, nerve damage and other difficulties of the lower extremity to operate a vehicle.

  • Remote Controls - easy control over temperature, radio and other devices otherwise unreachable.

  • Accessible Bathrooms - roomier bathrooms with seated bathtubs, handheld shower heads and safety bars; these and other modifications are designed for ease as well as safety.

Where to Find Motorhomes for the Disabled

A physically challenged person can opt to rent an RV or choose to purchase:

  • A used handicap motorhome, modified by the former owner.

  • A new motorhome that requires alterations to fit his or her specific needs.

  • A new motorhome already outfitted with accessories and accommodations.

The two most popular companies that specialize in handicap RV's are Play-Mor Trailers, Inc. in Westphalia and Missouri Airstream, Inc. in Jackson Center, Ohio.

In addition to the standard amenities, motorhomes are constructed to meet the varying needs of disabled individuals. Accessibility is made possible with items such as:

  • Kitchen cabinets/counters which are lower to the floor.

  • Showers allowing roll-in access.

  • Extra-Wide Entrances

  • Faucet handles which are longer than normal and easily gripped.

  • Brighter illumination to help prevent accidents.

  • Wheel-Chair Ramps/RV Chair Lift

  • Power-Sliding Doors

Not exclusively beneficial to the physically disabled, a handicap motorhome may expand travel opportunities for elderly individuals who struggle with obstacles related to mobility.


Items to Consider When Purchasing a Modified Motorhome

Ensure you have adequate space before buying or renting an RV - wheelchairs need to easily clear the aisle, enabling free movement from the front to the back of the vehicle, doorways need to be wide enough to accommodate the width of the wheelchair and, those who use an ambulatory aid such as a walker, need to be able to walk straight and have room to turn around.

Handicap RV Bathroom

All the comforts of home that make RV travel attractive need to be accessible. Remote controls are useful for temperature control, televisions and radios; however, you may also need height and/or width adjustments to shelves, drawers, light switches and cooking appliances as well as toilets, beds and chairs.

Also check the weight limit on the stair lift - simple modifications can prevent injuries associated with motor overload or platform breaks.

In addition, keep in mind existing modifications on a pre-owned handicap motorhome were tailored for another person and might not meet your specific needs. The cost of parts and labor as well as the time required for additional alterations vary based on the type and age of vehicle and the modification required.

The most important consideration is whether the vehicle is safe, given your physical limitations.

Where to Go in a Handicap RV

Most RV campgrounds in the United States currently offer accessible options for physically disabled individuals - a situation much improved compared to twenty years ago. Founded in 1967, the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH) continues to advocate for the mechanisms that allow handicapped people to enjoy safe travel.

SATH provides a comprehensive list of locations that offer disability accommodations as well as places to access assistance from travel agents and tour representatives. In addition, the agency also provides information regarding the handicap policies of airlines.

Florida offers many wheel-chair friendly tourist sites, theme parks, campgrounds and beaches. The Bluewater Key Campground is one of the largest RV sites in Key West; visitors can rent tiki huts and participate in activities such as golf, tennis, spa, fishing and swimming -- all areas fully accessible to those with physical challenges.

RV Possibilities

Dreams of full or part time RV'ing are achievable, regardless of your physical limitations. Look to rent or purchase a handicap motorhome or modify a new or used RV. Modifications such as chair lifts, wider aisles, safety bars in bathrooms, reachable cabinets, remote controlled devices, hand controls and many other possibilities exist to transform an ordinary motorhome into a safe, accessible traveling home.