There comes a time when your older loved one can no longer drive, for the safety of themselves and others. According to a 2018 survey, car accidents were the second greatest cause of mortality among people aged 65 to 84.
Even though an elderly relative or friend enjoys driving and relishes independence, locating alternative senior transportation options is a smart idea to ensure that your friend or loved one remains independent and safe.
Why Do Seniors Need Alternative Modes Of Transportation?
Even in their twilight years, most seniors still feel young. When the time comes, they may find it difficult to surrender their independence and movement. It’s understandable that they might delay or resist drastic changes. Of course, the most prevalent reason for seniors needing transportation is that they can no longer drive safely. But when this is the case it is very individual. Your grandmother may be healthy, happy, and continue driving safely at the age of 80, whereas your grandfather may be unsafe to drive at 70.
Indications That A Senior Should No Longer Drive
There are a number of physical reasons why an elderly adult may no longer be able to drive:
- Their eyesight is deteriorating.
- Their judgment isn’t as good as it formerly was.
- Their reflexes aren’t as quick as they used to be.
- They are not as adaptable.
- Their Medications are impairing their abilities.
- They become tired more rapidly.
- The mental abilities have declined – indications may be routinely losing things around the house, getting easily confused about routine matters, or driving unsafely.
Finding enjoyable and convenient alternative transportation options for a senior can help them make the transition away from driving themselves. It can also help should the senior be unable to drive even temporarily, for example as a result of injury or post-operative recovery.
What Are The Best Alternatives For Non-Driving Seniors To Get Around?
If a member of your family or a friend no longer has a car, they can choose from a number of options:
Family Or Friends
This can be a fantastic choice if a family member is available and willing. Knowing that the non-driver is in secure, capable hands is reassuring for all.
However, it is not always possible for members of the family to be available all the time. Most people work 9 to 5, have children or other responsibilities, or are unable to spare a few hours to assist an older relative with shopping or errands.
If your elderly adult has a professional caregiver, he/she may be able to drive them around as necessary. However, you should address this with the caregiver before hiring them, as there are special insurance regulations that must be met.
For older adults, most communities provide free or discounted public transportation. If your older loved one is able to take a taxicab or bus, and if they reside somewhere that it is safe to do so, a little instruction on being extra cautious in public would be beneficial.
Calling your local Area Agency on Aging will provide you with information and resources to assist your loved one in finding excellent public transportation choices. To be considered, one may need to apply and may be required to have an in-person interview.
There are numerous private transportation firms available to drive your senior loved ones anywhere they need to go.
Ride services are becoming more popular as seniors learn how simple and convenient they are to utilize. Your Area Agency on Aging can help you locate local services. Some charge a fee, others are without charge for non-driving seniors. An example is the non-profit Shepherd’s Centers of America (visit shepherdcenters.org). You can check them out for services in your area.
Transportation Types For Seniors
Your older loved one might choose from a variety of transportation options depending on their needs and the operational services in your area.
This is exactly what it sounds like – transportation for elders from one location to another. Door-to-door transportation usually necessitates some form of advance arrangement, so it’s ideal for scheduled trips or appointments.
Based on the services you use, fees can vary substantially. Non-profit organizations can be free-of-charge. Many door-to-door services are pretty versatile and offer a reasonable level of comfort, which older adults appreciate.
Fixed-route services function similarly to bus stops. They travel from one location to the next, picking up and dropping off the clientele. Their timetables are often consistent most of the time. At any time, your loved one can walk up to the pick-up point and a vehicle should arrive on schedule.
Ridesharing programs are designed for groups of seniors who are traveling to the same location. Ridesharing is commonly used for the following purposes:
- Shopping malls
- Senior Centers for the elderly
- Medical clinics
- Social events
Rideshares are frequently booked in advance to guarantee that each passenger has a reseat in the car.
Choosing The Right Senior Transportation Services
If you’re seeking a dependable, safe, and well-known mode of senior transportation, there are good options to consider. Research senior transportation options online in your area. Your local Agency on Aging is also a good resource to find options.
Consider the following factors while making your selection:
- For what reason does the senior need transportation?
- What mode of transportation would be most suitable?
- Are there any prerequisites for joining?
- What are the costs involved?
- What time do they operate?
- Are there any organized rides?
- Will your senior need assistance of any sort, or simply a ride?
If you have any questions or concerns regarding choosing the right senior transportation services for your elderly loved one, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly and helpful staff at the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia today for more details and information to assist you in making the right decision.