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Tips For Helping Elderly Getting In and Out of a Car

Mobility challenges can affect many older people which can cause difficulties when getting around, especially in and out of a car.  

Discover practical tips for assisting the elderly getting in and out of cars with ease and learn helpful techniques to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience.  


Firstly, it’s hugely important to communicate clearly with the elderly person to ensure they understand the process of getting seated. Ask them how you are able to assist and encourage them to go at their own pace. 

Proper vehicle setup

Another tip to successfully help the elderly getting in and out of the car is to ensure the vehicle’s set up supports an easy entry and exit. This includes parking on a level surface and the seats adjusted further back to allow for more space within the aperture panel and foot well to reduce the amount of manoeuvrability required. 

Using mobility adaptations

Car accessibility aids can be fitted to your vehicle if you struggle to get seated into a standard car seat. They can benefit varying levels of mobility, from a wheelchair user with complex physical disabilities or a lower limb amputee, to someone who is slightly unsteady on their feet. 

Make use of mobility adaptations such as grab handles, transfer plates, swivel seats and person hoists to aid standing and seated transfers in and out of the car. 

Supportive footwear

An overlooked consideration to help with a safe transfer in and out of a vehicle is supportive footwear. Firstly, check that the shoes are fitted correctly and securely so they don’t become undone or slip off. We also recommend wearing shoes with good grip to reduce the risk of slipping and falling whilst getting in and out of the car.

Safe techniques

Most people enter their vehicle by standing on one leg and stepping sideways whilst ducking into the seat, requiring balance and flexibility. For those with reduced mobility this can be quite difficult and above all, unsafe. 

A recommended technique which is far safer is the ‘sit first, legs second’ approach. This involves backing up to the vehicle seat and perching down onto it, facing outwards. The caregiver can hold the car door at a closer angle so the senior can grip onto the handle for increased stability. Then, when ready, they can swivel their bottom and legs in towards the dashboard. 

Be mindful of physical limitations

Everybody has their own capabilities and physical limitations, so it’s important to have an understanding of theirs so you know how you can best assist. 

 For example, with the ‘sit first, legs second’ technique, additional assistance such as lifting their legs behind the knee may be required. For others, you may need to hold onto their hands for extra balance. 

It’s also hugely important that as the caregiver, you are also mindful of your own physical capability and to reduce the risk of injury to yourself by assisting ergonomically.  

Consideration for the vehicle

Not only is it important to ensure your vehicle is set up properly, choosing the right vehicle can significantly ease the process of assisting the elderly in and out of the car. 

If you are in the process of choosing a new vehicle, then there are several features to look for and consider to ensure it meets your accessibility requirements. Check out our guide for the top tips to help you find the best cars suitable for disabled passenger access. 

Patience and empathy

Seniors may require extra time to maintain their balance so it’s imperative that you allow additional time on your journeys and remain patient and calm throughout the process. Approaching the situation with empathy will provide peace of mind and reassurance for your loved one/patient. 

With the right care and steps, assisting the elderly getting in and out of cars can be a smooth process. If you’d like to know more about our range of vehicle accessibility aids and how they can help you, contact our team of friendly mobility experts online or call us on 0800 288 4422.