As people get older, one of the first things they often begin to lose is their mobility. It may start slowly at first, with reaction times decreasing in almost unnoticed intervals until a loved one has been in a car crash that might otherwise have been avoided. Senior transportation programs are an invaluable part of getting older, and they offer more benefits than just getting someone from point A to point B.
Here are some of the many reasons why senior transportation programs can improve an elder’s life quality and why you should help your loved one figure out how to use these services for their own well-being.
What Transportation Contributes
Senior transportation comes in a variety of forms. There are some taxi services that provide wheelchair accommodation, for example, while many cities also provide public transit that can be scheduled ahead of time for the elderly. No matter which form your loved one finds most accessible, maintaining active transportation outside of the home offers a number of benefits.
Greater Healthcare Access
Perhaps the most common out-of-home need that seniors face is regular doctor’s appointments and checkups. Older individuals who do not have access to senior transportation options may miss critical appointments that are part of a well-kept healthcare plan.
If your loved one misses their doctor’s appointments, they might encounter difficulty refilling important prescriptions or catching early signs of serious illnesses. All of these can threaten the well-being of an elder, making regular transportation critical.
Improved Social Opportunities
People do not suddenly lose their need for community when they become older. Elders who are unable to leave the house often feel isolated, and they may not be able to engage in activities that were once important to them. Being able to meet with others to enjoy hobbies keeps their social calendar full and also encourages better health overall.
For example, something as simple as a bingo night with friends keeps the brain alert and active in a way that staying at home in front of the television does not. Senior transportation can make sure your loved one gets to their social events and back again safely and on time.
Increased Mental Wellness
Getting out of the home is a vital part of mental stimulation that keeps the brain healthy and energized. Seniors who stay at home without outside transportation are much more prone to depression and anxiety, and their cognitive abilities tend to decline at a faster rate than those who regularly engage with the outdoors.
Senior transportation keeps elders active and able to visit new places and improve their quality of life. Additionally, maintaining this sense of independence equips older individuals with self-sufficiency and hope, which have been linked to better health outcomes. Studies indicate that the mere presence of hope reduces mortality by all causes.
Even if elders are still able to navigate on their own, many families are rightfully worried that they may get lost along the way, get on the wrong bus or encounter other issues. Many senior transportation programs offer certain types of services that will wait for your loved one, such as while they are attending a doctor’s appointment.
Then, they will make sure your family member gets back into the vehicle and arrives safely back at home. For families who still need to work and care for children, leaving this responsibility in the hands of capable professionals is extremely helpful and reassuring.
Additionally, senior transportation programs keep individuals off of roads who should not be driving on their own. Elders are more likely to willingly give up their car keys if they have other alternatives for getting around.
Higher Financial Freedom
How well an older person’s finances fare in their later years has more to do with transportation than you may think. If someone does not have access to a robust transportation system, they may not be able to reach stores where products are affordable.
This could lead to more money spent for fewer products or even some important items being overlooked entirely. When a person has free reign to choose where they shop, they can make the right financial decisions for the long term. Transportation programs put these decisions in the hands of older folks.
Learn About Senior Transportation Programs in Your Community
Senior transportation programs can make a substantial difference in the health, well-being and safety of your loved one’s life. At Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia, we help our community’s families understand the many senior transportation options at their disposal. Contact us to learn more about which transportation choices are available to your elderly family member and how you can get in touch with us to learn how they work.