3 Transportation Resources You Didn’t Know Existed
Most people have similar goals in life as they age. One of the most common of these goals is to maintain independence for as long as possible. What gives you a feeling of independence better than being able to get where you want to go, when you want to go there? As we age, the task of driving often becomes more difficult for any number of reasons. If you find that you are no longer able to drive yourself, what transportation options do you have to get to the doctor or run errands besides asking your family or friends for a ride?
Some people may feel like they are placing a burden on their loved ones by asking for transportation–even if their loved ones offer and are willing to assist. They may also feel like they are giving up by acknowledging that they need more help. Are there any other alternatives other than an expensive taxi or rideshare like Uber or Lyft? There are actually more options for transportation than you might think. In this blog, we will discuss three transportation resources that you probably didn’t know existed.
Volunteers from Religious Organizations
Some religious organizations in your area may be available to drive seniors to appointments, take them shopping or transport them to various events. Organizations like Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services are among a few that offer various transportation resources to seniors. Some individual congregations have vans to bring members who don’t drive to worship services from their homes or even from certain nursing homes. Contact your local churches, synagogues and organizations to find out what services they offer.
Public Transit – Paratransit Services
Most cities have their own public transit, which typically includes bus routes and rail systems. Although the buses and trains may work well for some, it is not always easy to use these systems for the elderly or disabled. What you may not know is that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public transit authorities who operate fixed route bus systems to provide comparable paratransit service to individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route service. Paratransit services provide door-to-door service for people who call to reserve a ride and usually are wheelchair accessible vans. Check with your local public transit authority to find out eligibility requirements and application process.
Caregiver companies, or in-home care companies, typically provide non-medical in-home care for seniors. Their services often include light housekeeping, medication reminders, help with getting the client bathed, dressed, etc. One of the other services you may not know that they provide is transportation. Most of these companies can have a caregiver accompany you or they can drive you where you would like to go. They can take you grocery shopping, pick up prescriptions, take you to the doctor, beauty salon, barber shop, religious services, or anything else that you may need or want to do. These companies are usually paid for privately on an hourly basis.
To explore more transportation options specifically in your area contact your local Area Agency on Aging or call 2-1- 1.
By Chrissy Schuster, LMSW, CCM