The Search for Alternative Transportation for the Elderly
Recently, I have become concerned with my parents and their impending inability to drive. I fear this day will come soon. When it does, they will not want to depend on family and friends for transportation; they want to go out at their leisure and relying on loved ones will only cause more emotional stress. Unfortunately, public transportation isn’t readily available in their area, taxi service is limited and too far away, and Uber isn’t an option. It’s a challenge to find some type of transportation service or provider to pick them up for appointments, weekly shopping, Friday hair appointment, for church on Sunday, Bible study, and an occasional dinner without adding a third wheel.
With that in mind, I know my parents need as much independence as possible. Losing the privilege to drive will be difficult and life-changing, so having a plan in place will help ease the transition. Keeping their feelings in mind and knowing what they need is driving my need to find them the right answers.
Finding reliable, dependable, and accountable options that provide door-to-door service, assistance with walking, and help managing medical equipment has quickly become my priority. Surprisingly, the answers weren’t too far away. After speaking with friends, family, Medicaid, medical professionals, and my personal doctor, and consulting social media, I was able to find all the answers. Better yet, I learned about door-to-door transportation and paratransit, which are more suitable for their needs.
Though I visited multiple websites for assistance, there were a few that seemed to offer the most assistance. The Eldercare Locator is a service of the federal Administration on Aging, and their site explains different forms of transportation, which makes it easier to choose which is best suited for your needs. Eldercare’s transportation website lists information, answers, and a checklist to help guide the transition to giving up your car keys. Put in your zip code at the top of the page to see a list of resources in your area. If you are more comfortable speaking to someone, you can call the toll-free number, 800-677-1116.
This list from the Health in Aging Foundation also aids in preparation during the transition to being a “non-driver,” which can be associated with negative health effects. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to help older people maintain independence and a high quality of life after giving up the car keys.
AAA is another well-known resource. Their website provides answers, assistance in finding local transportation providers, and the definitions of various transportation terms and concepts.