Depending on where you live, finding affordable senior transportation options can be challenging.
Different states, counties and cities offer different levels of senior transport and you may find it easy to get a ride to the senior center, but struggle to get to the grocery store. On the other hand, there may be transportation readily available to concerts, but getting to the gym could seem impossible.
In this article, we will discuss the top 7 affordable senior transportation options.
Access To Daily Needs With Ride Services
If your loved one can no longer drive, there are a variety of options to get to and from activities such as a trip to the grocery store. Rideshare apps are always an option, but require a smartphone and app knowledge to set up. Not all seniors are able to use a smartphone.
Senior citizens can often find easy access to discounted ride services such as Rideshares focused on seniors, which turn on demand personal transportation services such as Lyft into senior transport. It should be noted that these options are best for seniors who can get easily in and out of cars on their own.
This program is especially senior-friendly in multiple ways. It maintains your address and tracks your current location so it can pick you up from where it left you. In addition, instead of an app, you need only call a phone number and press a series of buttons to direct a car to your pickup location. The cost for this program is by the mile.
Public Transport When You Need Special Help
If you or your loved one require special assistance or a service animal, it’s important to note that, per the ADA, public transit systems must allow spaces and support for aides such as wheelchairs. Where public transportation is available, para-transit services must also be made available.
Unfortunately, these rides are not as spontaneous as a simple hop on the bus. These rides often need to be scheduled in advance and your loved one may need help in understanding the logistics of access to this specialized transportation. However, once a routine is established, many elderly and persons with disabilities find these services invaluable.
Hire A Caregiver To Get Out Of The House
There are many residential caregiving agencies that can help you with transportation assistance. As an in-home caregiver can be hired to help with light housework and cooking to make it possible to age in place, these aides may also provide transport for outings.
If you’re working with an in-home caregiver, make sure to give them some advance notice that an outing is in the senior’s plans. Whenever possible, schedule this on a weekly basis. Check with the caregiving agency to see what cost you need to cover, such as gas money.
Check Out Community Transportation
Large community events such as concerts or some theatrical groups may offer transportation subscriptions, though your loved one may need to get to a gathering spot to take a community bus or van. In addition, some volunteer agencies (or groups affiliated with churches) may offer free transport to some events.
Depending on the event, public transportation service may be discounted at this time. If your loved one was accustomed to doing their own driving, a fun event could be a great time to get out and try the local bus service.
Flexible Fleet Rides
If your loved one is in need of non-emergency medical transportation assistance, there are companies companies with a great option. Not only do these drivers offer wheelchair transport, but this may be covered by insurance programs.
At this time, flexible fleet drivers may not be available in your area. However, this is an ever-changing industry and new driver locations are being added continuously. Such a driver may turn an onerous task into a simple phone call.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Support
In addition to the physical challenges of getting older, illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease can make simple errands a dangerous proposition. Caregiver volunteer programs such as ITN America monitor the transport of older Americans, especially those in rural areas, and make it easier to get to appointments and simple errands safely.
Depending on the current condition of your loved one, even non-emergency medical transport can be stressful. You will likely need to have someone familiar accompany them on these trips.
Start Your Search At The Local Level
There are few national transport services with low cost options specifically geared to seniors. However, by reviewing ElderCare Locator, you can study the services available for affordable senior transportation options. Remember, legislation supporting the dignity of persons with disabilities give you and your loved ones protection. You may need to do some searching to access these programs.
In addition to reviewing the local public transportation service and studying the required specialized transportation that must accompany every public transit service, review volunteer organizations.
This is where local churches can help. For example, many churches offer foster grandparent programs. This is a great chance for older adults to get out and spend time with pre-school aged children. For senior citizens who can no longer drive, a ride app may be needed, or a church volunteer can provide basic community transportation.
Additionally, some churches offer a senior day program. These organizations may include outings, volunteer opportunities, or simply a fun day to get out of the house and socialize. If you find a church with a great program, ask about volunteer drivers. There may be connections to be made near the home of your loved one.
When Driving Becomes Too Much
Older adults may find it easier to sign up for deliveries of ordinary needs, such as groceries or medications. However, this may lead to a sense of social isolation. If you or your loved one enjoyed these simple errands, it’s important to maintain these habits for as long as possible.
Losing the ability to drive safely is a challenging and difficult event for many seniors. When this decision is finally made, finding easy and comfortable transport quickly is crucial for the mental and emotional well-being of your loved one. As possible, they should be included in the transportation choices.