Senior Driving Top Tips: Transportation Options for Someone Who Can’t Drive

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The AgingCare.com forum is filled with people coming together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled experienced caregivers’ best suggestions for transportation alternatives for seniors who can no longer drive.

Transportation Alternatives for Seniors Who Can’t Drive

“Taking away the keys is a big loss of independence and a hint that it is all downhill from there. It is very difficult psychologically to handle, but you are not to blame. You knew it was time. There is nothing that can replace the loss of freedom they feel. The only thing to do is arrange alternative transportation so the loss is not so great. A good thing about assisted/independent living is that transportation services are available. Some of the residents may still be able to drive safely and provide rides to places like church or out to eat (if they are friends).” –JessieBelle

“We found a lady who would drive my mother around for $10 an hour plus gas. Some coordination was necessary, but it was doable once we found a reliable person. She was really a companion as well as a driver. (And my mother’s hairdresser of many years, actually.)” –realtime

“Medicaid will provide transportation to medical appointments if your loved one is eligible for the program. Some senior centers provide ‘field trips’ to stores, movies, pharmacies, etc. on a regular basis for their members. Uber, the city bus, and a reliable neighbor who is a good driver are also options. It is very difficult in some small towns and rural areas to find alternative transportation, and the situation of isolated seniors who have no such alternatives is getting more and more common.” –Caregiverto89

“When you take away the ability to drive, you have to be ready with an alternative. The alternative is usually the family providing transportation to stores, doctor’s appointments and social outings. It’d be advisable for you and your siblings to start discussing among yourselves just how you can handle this. It takes compromise from both parties. The parents have to compromise on changes in the way they have always done things (shop at one store instead of four, work with your schedule when making appointments, etc.) and the children have to integrate the additional commitments into their lives. You may be able to reduce the drama if you can present your loved ones with a plan to help alleviate their concerns about what happens after driving ends.” –Linda22

“Your loved one may be so used to driving that they have never considered alternatives. You can offer concrete help, such as researching transportation options or offering rides when possible. If your family member is reluctant to ask for help, it can lead to isolation and depression.” –ptg123

“Check with a local senior center or Area Agency on Aging for resources in your area. Recently when my husband was off work for a while, he answered an ad on Craigslist to drive a man to surgery, stay during the procedure and then drive him back home. You can also hire someone through a home care agency to help with transportation and supervision. If your loved one is age 60 or over, contact the local RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program). They can take people free of charge to medical appointments, but passengers have to be able to ambulate to the car and get in and out on their own.” –ladylee1115

“Our city offers free transportation for people with disabilities and the elderly. It is called paratransit. Some places may charge a minimal fee. They will come to the person’s home (by appointment), wheel the person to the van, help them onto the van, and, once they reach their destination, help them off the van and into the facility. It is also free for a caregiver to accompany the person.” –Kittysharone

“Call your Area Agency on Aging. Ours supplies transportation for a small fee. Does your loved one’s area have a bus service? If you can prove a disability, you could get a big discount. The Red Cross can sometimes supply rides. If you belong to a church, there may be volunteers there that can help.” –JoAnn29

“Make sure to take your loved one’s expectations into account as well as the costs for a transportation service. What we ran into with mom is that she wanted an ‘on-call’ chauffeur. What the chauffeur offered was a regular day and time for trips at $25 per hour. Other trips with a week’s notice were OK if they fit his availability. Mom also thought she was not going to have to pay the hourly rate for him to wait for her while she was at the grocery store, but she was wrong.” –Pamstegma

“Try a ride-share service such as Uber or Lyft. The drivers undergo a background check. There is no need to schedule them ahead of time or guess when you need them to return to pick you up. The app is very easy to download on a smart phone and use. The cost is less than a cab. It provides the ability to go where you want when you want without needing a vehicle. All payments are electronic, so there is no need to carry cash. They accommodate service animals as well. I am seeing an increasing number of older adults using these services. Often a child or grandchild helps them put the app on their phone and maybe shows them how to use it. After that the person uses it whenever they need it! It helps to restore their independence and can lessen the load on family and friends.” –dcoach

“Where I live in Florida, van services are provided by the county for people who do not have their own transportation and are physically handicapped. Check with your loved one’s county. Although I am not physically handicapped, I meet my county’s eligibility guidelines because I am over 80 years old. Appointments are needed. If the passenger wants to travel with a companion, a doctor must certify that one is needed.” –Arianne777

“Many home care companies will drive elders to appointments, the grocery store etc. I’ve got one set up for my folks and its costs $18 to $25 per hour, depending on the trip. Their services range from simple welfare checks to full in-home nursing care.” –Windyridge

“Another thing to consider when arranging transport services is the mental status of the client. A person with dementia may not be able to plan ahead and arrange a ride or even be ready at the right time. If dementia impacts the senior’s ability to keep track of the day and/or time, arranging for a ride will not work. Consider how the company does pick-ups as well. Do they knock at the door or just wait at the curb? Do they help carry bags or purchases inside? Will they help with any mobility equipment (e.g. walker or wheelchair)? A home care aide is a good choice for transportation for people who need assistance with planning, being ready and mobility assistance.” –LaurenBond

“Another question to ask anyone you hire for this service: What is your insurance coverage?” –GrandmaLynne5

“My mom had home caregivers stop in every day and they took her to doctor’s appointments and offered to take her to the dollar store or grocery store if she wanted. I read that someone sold his mother’s car after she stopped driving and used that money to arrange transportation as needed with a local taxi company. His mother could call, get the same driver(s) and not even need to pay, since an account had been set up.” –Lassie

“When I went in for day surgery and didn’t need someone to stay with me, I asked a neighbor and she gladly drove me. Another neighbor picked me up. These are people who have often said, ‘If there is anything I can do, just ask.’ Well, I asked! When I had cataract surgery, the clinic sent a van for me. Be sure to ask your loved one’s clinic and insurance company if such services are available.” –jeannegibbs

“The VA does offer transportation services to and from VA appointments in some locations if the patient cannot walk a certain distance. I looked into it for my father and you pretty much have to be wheelchair bound in order to qualify. A local VA social worker might have suggestions for you if your loved one is a vet. However, if they are not receiving care through the VA medical system, then the VA wouldn’t be involved in helping arrange transportation to other medical appointments.” –AliBoBali

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