Does your aging loved one have a hard time getting around? Are they unable to drive? There are many available solutions to keep them mobile and give them the freedom to get around. To help you navigate your options, here are the five most common transportation available and how to research them for yourself.
Where to Start
To start, think about where your loved one needs to get to and how often. They may need to get around to/from:
- Doctor check-ups
- Therapy sessions
- Hospital (or other outpatient) visits
- Prescription pick-ups
- The grocery store or other general errand locations
- Social activities with friends
- Religious events
The Five Most Common Transportation Options Available
Once you’ve figured out your needs, consider each of these options:
- Volunteer Driver Programs: These programs are usually faith-based or nonprofits with a network of volunteers who offer transportation for shopping, recreation, doctor’s appointments, and other needs. The service is often free or at a nominal cost.
- Public Transit: If your loved one’s health permits, and you have public transit options in your area, then taking the bus, subway, or train may be an option to keep in mind.
- Paratransit: Certain local private agencies offer transportation options for the elderly and disabled with the use of vans or minibuses.
- Door-through-door (escort) service: Local private companies or agencies can provide door-to-door assistance which is very helpful for those in wheelchairs or those who need help carrying groceries or other heavy items.
- Taxi services (or other paid services like Uber or Lyft): Depending on the urgency of the transportation need, a taxi (or other paid service) may be perfect. Be mindful of the cost of the service and do you research first. You can check taxi estimates by using the Taxi Fare Finder website available here. Uber and Lyft in particular both have unique programs in place to help those in need.
How to Search for Services in Your Community
It’s important to keep in mind that each county and/or city may offer different services so a good starting point is to contact your local department of transportation for specific options in your area. There are also some search engines you can use to figure out what is available near you:
- AAA – a free search engine to find local alternative transportation options in your area. To visit, click here.
- Gericare Finder: Provides information on car services across the nation. To visit, click here.
- Care Pathways: Searches for transportation providers in various regions of the country. To visit, click here.
- Eldercare Locator: Searches for transportation providers in various regions of the country. To visit, click here.
It may take some time to find the best option for your aging loved one but if you follow the steps above you are well on your way! By finding alternative transportation options you can give back a sense of freedom and self-reliance and decrease your own stress.