If your loved one can no longer drive, feelings of isolation and loss of independence are common. There are many public and private transportation options that your elderly or disabled loved one can take advantage of to maintain their independence.
Family and Friends
The first option is for your loved one to ask family members or friends in the area to transport them when necessary. However, this can often be difficult to arrange for busy family members.
It can be helpful to enlist several family members and friends who can take turns and provide transportation within their schedules. However, with these individuals leading their own lives, it can still be difficult for your loved one to get to all necessary appointments and engagements.
If your loved one’s family members and friends cannot provide transportation, you can hire a caregiver to transport your loved one to necessary appointments, errands, and social activities.
The caregiver will likely provide transportation in their personal vehicle for a fee. Depending on the services of the caregiver and the circumstances of the situation, they may stay with your loved one to assist them throughout the event.
Many public transportation services offer discounted prices to those who are elderly or disabled, and most are wheelchair friendly. Public transportation options generally offer passes which can be used for those who use the services often.
These passes can come at an even greater discount and provide your loved one with transportation for extended periods of time. Public transit can be a great option if your loved one lives on a route where they can gain access easily.
The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees, for many seniors, a basic level of transportation service. If a city or town provides a public transportation service to the community, it must also provide a complementary or paratransit service for disabled and elderly individuals.
This service is generally provided by a fleet of mini-buses and vans which provide curb-to-curb transportation to those who are unable to use other forms of public transportation.
A number of nonprofits across the nation provide volunteer driver programs with a network of volunteers who offer transportation in their personal vehicles. These volunteers generally provide transportation door-to-door and can pick your loved one up at their own home. Some programs require advanced registration and request for a ride at least 24-hours in advance.
Door-through-door transportation programs are offered in some areas, in which the driver or an escort will help your loved one throughout the transportation process. Many of these programs provide several levels of support depending on the needs of the individual, while others offer only one level of support.
The levels of support range from simply opening doors and giving verbal direction to assistance with preparation tasks, such as putting on shoes and locking doors, and return tasks, such as taking shoes off and unpacking groceries.
How to Find Services
All services listed above may not be available in your area. To discover and learn more about the elderly and disabled transportation options near you, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.
These agencies often arrange, monitor, and support programs that provide transportation to the elderly. If your local Area Agency on Aging is not a provider of transportation, they should be able to give assistance finding transportation service resources.