The elderly and their caregivers often feel stuck because senior transportation options are limited. With poor vision, diminished reflexes, medications, and health issues that cause immobility, some seniors can no longer drive. It is easy to feel helpless when you cannot find a ride to attend an appointment, whether it is a medical check-up or a date with your old friends.
After all, seniors have a life to lead with places to go, things to do, and people to see. Thankfully, various organizations are setting up new initiatives to make it easier for seniors and their companions to go out. Keep on reading to find out more about this issue and what options you have for yourself as a senior or for your senior loved one.
The Senior Predicament When It Comes to Transportation
When you look around you, you will notice that many elderly Americans must depend on other people for their transport needs, especially at night when visual clarity is compromised. With the senior population steadily climbing, the number of people who need help will also increase. What will happen to all the baby boomers who can no longer drive due to health issues?
Imagine, losing your license to drive is a major setback as it impedes your movement. For those who want to continue living an active and independent life, that is impossible to do if you cannot drive.
Besides, you cannot always depend on other people even if they are willing. Apart from not wanting to abuse their kindness, depending on them puts you at the mercy of their schedules.
Sadly, poor public transportation in some cities may make the problem worse. Even those cities that provide trolleys, buses, or trains offer limited schedules. Hence, it may not work with your schedule, wasting time or making things complicated and inconvenient.
Remember, not being able to drive can affect mental health. Seniors who do not feel free to move around when they want to can feel depressed. At the same time, it can affect their self-esteem and confidence levels when they cannot meet their peers or do what they like.
On top of that, the inability to drive also adversely impacts physical health. Feelings of incapacity and helplessness can lead to the following physical ailments:
- Unexplained aches
- Aggravated body pains
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Less energy and motivation
- Issue with sleep
Fortunately, municipalities, special services, non-profit groups, and technology via ride-sharing apps fill this huge gap. For those of you who are mobility-impaired, you will find comfort in these senior transport options. Let’s discuss them further below.
Learn About Mobility Management Services
Maybe it is your first-time hearing about this kind of services. They are generally provided to seniors by non-profit organizations. These groups support you by:
- Educating the public about senior transport options
- Establishing a critical partnership with different transport services
- Promoting easy, efficient, and seamless access to elderly transportation options
As you can see, these services are to help communities by offering options to get your loved one around town. They do not merely provide one type of transportation. Instead, mobility management services go above and beyond by compiling a broad range of transport services to make life easy for seniors and their families.
This is critical because it gives seniors the power to make decisions about how they move around. Most seniors and their families do not know about this. With access to this service, seniors no longer need to feel helpless and isolated because of their situation.
Keep in mind, even if you offer to drive your senior around town, you will not always be available. In case your loved one has a spontaneous plan or an urgent need to mobilize, you may not always be around to help. With this option, you can also feel at ease because you know your senior family member will always have help even if you are not there.
A List of Affordable Senior Transport Options
With limited pension and no active income from work, seniors do not have a lot of money to spend on transportation. You will find several options for transport that mobility management services recommend for seniors. Here are the most well-known services offered today:
Give Private Riding Services a Try
Private driving service like Care.Com offers an affordable individualized experience for people who need assistance, especially seniors. This means your beloved elderly can go back to doing errands based on their schedule instead of suffering unforgiving public transport timetables. Furthermore, this private service works best for people with special needs that a public bus or train cannot accommodate.
Checking the official company website will show a list of fully vetted private drivers in your area, including:
- Name of drive
- Client reviews
Do take the time to read the reviews to find the best person to take care of your beloved senior. This is a great option if you are not around to take your elderly loved one from the nursing home, to the doctor. These personalized services are comfortable, but most of all, they are also cost-efficient for occasional trips. However, for regular activities that your senior attends, you may find other cheaper, more suitable options.
Book Senior Transport with Ride-Sharing Apps
Thanks to technology, you can grab your smartphone and book a ride for your senior anytime. Download a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft to get started. This option requires you to be tech-savvy, so seniors who have a hard time with smartphones or tablets may need assistance.
Technology should not deter any senior from leveraging the popular apps. Go ahead and ask your techie kids or grandchildren to download, install, and set up the app details. Once the app is up and running, it is easy to understand and use. You only need to provide a payment method via credit card or PayPal, your home address, and the address destination.
The app automatically calculates the rate of the service upon booking. There are no hidden fees or charges. Even the driver’s name, description, and car model will be stated, along with the estimated pick-up time.
- Enjoy More Cost Savings
To enjoy more cost savings, try Lyft Line or UberPool, which allows carpooling. This means you split the tab with fellow riders going on a similar route. This option is more pocket-friendly, which is a good option for seniors on a budget.
Take note; the transaction is all done online, so there is no exchange of cash. However, you can give a tip if you feel like the service is exemplary. To go home, do the same in reverse order, and make your home address the destination and your current location the pick-up point.
- Try Lyft With GrandPad
In 2017, Lyft partnered with GrandPad. This means the owner of a senior-friendly tablet can easily book rides. Their companions can also order the rides for them. It is easy since the GrandPad is pre-installed with locations that the senior frequently travels to.
This convenient option minimizes confusion. It even assures that caregivers will not make any mistakes should they book on behalf of the senior. This provides a seamless booking and riding experience for those in the twilight of their years.
- Consider Uber Assist
Those seniors who need extra help must try UberASSIST. This assures a trained driver will come to help. They can do the following:
- Help should the senior need help getting in and out of the vehicle.
- They can also accommodate walkers, scooters, and wheelchairs.
- The specialty UberWAV also provides wheelchair-accessible vehicles, though availability is highly limited depending on the area.
- Ridesharing with a Heart
Because seniors have limited transport options and income, these apps have been working with partners to offer discounted rides with the city and non-profit support. For example, Uber has developed partnerships with senior groups, senior advocate organizations, non-profits, and municipalities to assure affordability.
Similarly, Lyft has partnered with senior housing communities. They offer their services even if the seniors do not have their own smart device or credit card. Residents can conveniently book appointments to various destinations. The charges are billed to their monthly fees instead.
Apart from Uber and Lyft, some companies are emerging to serve older people. For example, Silver Ride in San Francisco is an app that supports the elderly by providing comfy, clean vehicles with trained drivers who can help. The vehicles can accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices. The company hopes to expand to nearby cities and all over the country soon.
Take the Bus and Paratransit Services
In bustling cities, you will find public transport. For instance, San Diego offers buses, rails, and shuttles. However, this service is only suitable for your older adult who can still mentally and physically remember a complex transport system, including routes, times, and fees.
Those who need more specialize help can try the American with Disabilities Act or ADA paratransit services. This is an affordable alternative that offers curb-to-curb pickup. It means your senior can conveniently travel to the same areas that other public vehicles go to.
Noteworthy, to avail of this ADA paratransit service, you need to apply the senior first to the registry. After certification, that’s the only time seniors or caregivers booking on their behalf can enjoy the service.
Enjoy Contracted Transport
Usually, seniors who are part of senior groups or assisted living communities may enjoy services offered by the group. This is a worthy option as the rates are often lower than the private transport option. With this, you will have a longer list of options to address your seniors’ transportation needs.
For best results, ask your organization ahead of time. This way, you can book an affordable ride for yourself or your senior loved one. Having the chance to freely move around will certainly improve their disposition, alleviating their sadness and stress.
Work with RideFACT
If you and your senior loved one reside in the San Diego County area, you are in luck. FACT (Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation), a comprehensive organization for seniors and caregivers, created RideFACT. Since FACT is committed to giving safe, timely, and efficient transport, they came up with this solution.
You can count on RideFACT as it was curated specifically for individuals who cannot enjoy the senior transport services listed above. When it is not possible for any senior to access another mobility option, FACT will offer their own service, the RideFACT.
It is an affordable curb-to-curb transport service that covers all counties in San Diego. This convenient option is available on weekdays from 7 am to 8 pm. The best part, the cost of the fare starts at only $2.50 for short rides, with the caregiver or senior companion riding free of charge.
For additional information, FACT is a non-profit organization headquartered in Oceanside. They were assigned by the SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) to act as the CTSA (Consolidated Transportation Service Agency) for all the counties in San Diego. They strive hard to offer reliable transport services to resident, so entrusting them with your beloved senior should not be a problem. You can find out more information about this group here.
The Final Wrap Up
Remember that aging is an inevitable part of life, so you must treat your senior relative with compassion. If you do not want your elderly loved ones to suffer depression, you cannot keep them isolated at home. Though they may have lost their ability to drive, it does not mean they have to stay grounded.
With various senior transport options, your senior and the assigned caregiver can readily go around town with ease. Seniors with mobility issues or those suffering from dementia need special care. If you need help, get in touch with our team at the Lakeside Manor. We offer a clean facility and loving community where your elderly loved one will feel right at home. Give us a call if you have questions or schedule a free facility tour to see how everyone in our community spends their day.