The Future of Transportation for Older Adults
As our aging loved ones come to an age where they are no longer capable of safely driving, they turn to other modes of transportation. This can often be a very difficult time as they make this transition. They can begin to feel isolated as they are losing their independence. Thankfully there are new and innovative ideas in the works that just might be an answer to this problem. Here is a look at where we are and where we are going with transportation for our aging loved ones.
The choices for transportation vary by area. Do you live in a rural community, suburb, or a metropolitan area? How much money are you willing to pay for comfort, flexibility and quality of service? Have you looked for benefits and discounts through your insurance?
Below are current options for transportation of aging loved ones:
- Door-to-door escort service: Arrangements are scheduled beforehand to take an aging loved one to a specific destination. More comfort and flexibility is offered with this option.
- Volunteer Driver Program: Usually offered by a church or non-profit, the option for door-to-door service varies.
- Paratransit service: Service usually offered through aging organizations or private agencies that provides transportation by mini buses or van. Also provides door-to-door or curb-to-curb service.
- Public transit/fixed route service: A public service that takes rider on a scheduled route.
- Taxi service: No advanced arrangement required, payment varies, vehicles may or may not be wheelchair accessible.
- Ridesharing: Usually arranged through apps like Lyft, Bubbl and Uber. Offer drivers that drive you in their care for a fee; door-to-door service varies.
With the creation of new and innovative apps such as Lyft, Uber and Bubbl, we have seen a rise in the use of ridesharing. Ridesharing for seniors has the potential to help them keep their independence without driving. Lyft and Uber have both paired up with non-emergency medical transportation companies to help seniors and those with disabilities get to the doctor. Alternatively, sometimes apps are not always easy for seniors to use. Some programs and apps cater to millennials and their ability to use this new technology, but this ability varies among seniors. As more seniors take advantage of this technology, the possibility for improvement is strong.
IBM is looking to make transportation easy by creating an accessible autonomous vehicle. This vehicle would be self-driving and unique to each person’s ability. This could be advantageous if there was a vehicle that was specifically made to meet the needs of seniors.
GoGo Grandparent is a phone service where seniors can call in and select from many options for their destination or need. They can request a ride, order a meal, get their groceries delivered and many other options. An update is sent to their family members as the senior makes selections, arrives, and leaves their destination.
Lift Hero and Silver Ride are companies based in California that have a more hands-on approach than other ridesharing companies. Both companies give the option of calling and booking transportation over the phone. They have employees that use their own vehicles to drive seniors where they need to go. Their employees are specially trained to provide service to seniors. They both provide door-to-door and curb-to-curb service. Silver Ride offers monthly group excursions to different events in your area.
Many are seeing the need for programs and companies that cater to seniors and their ability to safely use transportation. Hopefully this need will be met with more new and innovative options.
According to Get a Ride Guide, here are some options that are best when planning your transportation:
- Stay flexible on trip times when possible.
- Give as much notice as possible to reserve a trip at the time you need.
- Before hanging up, confirm trip date and time.
- Mixing modes might help, i.e., take the bus to the grocery store and a taxi home.
- If you are trying a new service for the first time, consider asking someone you know to ride with you.
- Ask questions and ask for help when you need it.
By Amy Johnson