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Ideas to Consider for Finding Senior Ride Services
Perhaps you and the one you care for have decided that driving is unsafe. This is often a difficult decision and is made more difficult by the need for senior ride services and transportation alternatives in many areas.
On the other hand, consider the perspective of the senior who does not drive.
If your loved one stopped driving, how can they get around to go shopping and doctor’s appointments and social engagements?
Are there any senior ride services available?
Who can help?
Caregivers should consider alternative ride services for seniors.
Explore these ideas:
- Family members are nearby and willing to give the senior a ride regularly.
- Ask friends who are competent drivers if they are willing to give the senior a ride.
- Look for community institutions that offer rides, like senior citizens’ centers, that provide weekly transportation to grocery stores, department stores, etc.
- Inquire at the senior’s church or temple for a van or carpooling program for non-drivers on the Sabbath.
- Find a taxi service or ride-share service that may have available and affordable senior ride services in their area.
- Locate the closest bus stop and bus routes that could be useful to the senior.
- Free transportation services are available to Medicaid recipients to help them attend medical appointments. How do you access that transportation service?
- What can the senior afford to pay for a ride? What does it cost?
Once you find some senior ride services or other alternatives, ask yourself, is the senior willing to use them?
It might help if you arrange to accompany them on a trip using one or more of these services. This way, you can evaluate the service and the senior’s ability to access and use the service.
It is also important to consider the price and any limitations of the service, such as distance or frequency. Does this service cater to seniors, and do they accommodate disabled seniors?
For example, a public bus paratransit service is available for wheelchair users in a nearby town. The paratransit service picks up and lets off wheelchair users at a bus station/park-and-ride facility.
Unfortunately, this leaves wheelchair users to find transportation to and from the bus station.
I have been alarmed to see people in wheelchairs “driving” down a two-lane road with no sidewalks or shoulders, followed by a line of traffic to get to that bus station.
So, if the wheelchair- user can make it to the paratransit bus in one piece without being hit by a car, he has a ride to his destination. Apparently, there’s been no consideration of how safe the wheelchair user is out on a road battling traffic to get to that bus.
This is not a service that is safely serving disabled persons. It would be much better to pick up and deliver the wheelchair user to his home rather than a bus station.
Can the seniors plan their weekly trips ahead of time and make reservations for the ride service? Some seniors can predict their needs and schedule and act independently to arrange for help.
Others might need help from you to make a schedule and make calls for service. Family members and friends can get really annoyed at the senior who calls and demands a trip to the store every day or calls at the last minute about keeping an appointment.
And, according to what I have heard from ride-dependent seniors, family and friends stop answering the phone when they have been annoyed for a while. Sad, but true.
Before making a decision that the senior should not drive anymore, take some time to investigate and discuss realistic, affordable alternatives for him.
Everybody needs to get out of the house and be as independent in the community as possible. Finding transportation alternatives takes work in many localities. It’s worth your time to investigate all the possibilities for a senior who does not drive.
“Traffic Safety Facts,” May 2012, revised May 2014. National Highway Traffic Safety Ad