Transportation Resources Keeping Non-Driving Seniors on the Road
The freedom to get behind the wheel and travel in our vehicles is a luxury we sometimes take for granted. That is until the aging process takes its toll and forces senior drivers to give up their car keys and rely on other resources to help them get from place to place.
While they often decide to stop driving because of declining visual, physical, and cognitive conditions, seniors can feel a loss of control over their lives. They view their vehicles as a lifeline – a necessary link – to the outside world. The decision can also affect family members who struggle to provide rides for their senior loved ones to grocery stores, a friend’s house and essential doctor appointments.
While taking away a senior’s car keys can be a huge dilemma, it doesn’t mean your loved one has to be confined at home or give up the trips they love and need.
Take Away Their Car, Not Their Freedom
Getting out of the house regularly is important for senior health. While many want to age in place in the comfort of their home, seniors who are homebound can become depressed and experience feelings of social isolation. Senior transportation services can help your aging parents visit friends, attend church or just go shopping.
In addition to supporting an active social life, transportation ensures seniors get to medical appointments. The American Hospital Association reports that transportation is the third-most common barrier to accessing health services for older adults.
Getting the Right Ride for Seniors
Whether your aging parent refuses to stop driving or you have to consider “taking the keys away from dad,” the need for alternative transportation is important. The National Caregivers Library reports that 8.4 million seniors in the United States depend on other people for transportation.
Seniors who can’t rely on spouses or significant others to drive them can put a burden on family members with tight schedules and work and family commitments. Finding alternate transportation services can help seniors get around town without putting the sole responsibility on the family.
Here are some options for consideration:
- Public Transportation
Metropolitan areas typically have a strong system of buses and trains with set schedules and destinations. Most offer discounts and even free fares for seniors. Older adults in rural locations, unfortunately, may not have easy access to these services. Depending on mobility, the elderly may have difficulty getting to a nearby stop by themselves. Take a test run with public transportation to decide if it is a viable option for your senior, even if it is just for emergencies.
For those with mobility problems, paratransit services provide home pickup and transport in minibuses or small vans that accommodate wheelchairs. Seniors or their caregivers must schedule services in advance and verify the service area. You can register for Paratransit services online.
- On-Demand Ridesharing Services
Uber and Lyft are popular ridesharing services that enable seniors to schedule a ride by using a phone application. Fees are based on trip time and destination. Family members or professional in-home caregivers can schedule rides for seniors unfamiliar with the apps. They can also request rides through GoGoGrandparent, a service that connects seniors to on-demand transportation companies while notifying family caregivers.
Uber Assist offers special needs accommodations for seniors with folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters. Uber Health is a service that addresses transportation barriers to medical appointments by enabling healthcare professionals to arrange and pay for non-emergency medical rides for patients. Lyft Concierge helps healthcare and other organizations to provide patients with curb-to-curb service.
- Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
Medicaid offers a benefit for seniors to provide transportation to and from medical appointments for enrollees who have no other means of transportation. Non-emergency medical transportation recipients must qualify for eligibility. Some states provide coverage for additional transportation needs.
- Volunteer Organizations and Community Resources
Local churches, community centers, and nonprofits often operate free volunteer driving programs. To find resources in your area, start with ElderCare that lists resources based on your specified location.
In-Home Caregivers Offer Reliable Transportation Sources for Seniors
In-home caregivers can help seniors get around town without the worries of weather, schedules, or designated drop off/pick up locations. These senior care professionals also eliminate the hassles of family members arranging transportation and worrying about an elderly loved one getting around on their own.
More than a transportation source, in-home caregivers provide joyful companionship, staying with your aging parent at the doctor’s office to ensure they arrive and get home safely. Trained to work with seniors, they can step in for you to assist with errands and grocery shopping. Home caregivers also will remind seniors of important appointments and help them get there on time.
Visiting Angels provides the flexibility to contract temporary or long-term in-home care assistance for a few hours in the morning, mid-day, or evening on designated days of the week. When driving is no longer an option for your senior, our trained in-home caregivers can serve as their valet and more.