How to Help Your Loved One Get Around: Transportation Options for Seniors
According to AARP, around 600,000 older adults stop driving every year. These seniors need other transportation options to remain independent and enjoy a high-quality of life. As a caregiver, what can you do to make sure your aging loved one always has a way to get around?
Assess Your Loved One’s Needs
Evaluate how much help is required to get your aging loved one into a vehicle. Make sure anyone who will be assisting with transportation understands your loved one’s needs and is able to safely offer an appropriate level of assistance.
If your loved one has mobility issues that require a wheelchair, ensure anyone who assists with transportation has room for a wheelchair, and the proper auto lift if necessary.
Consider Hiring a Professional Caregiver
Forty percent of caregivers spend five or more hours a week driving their loved ones around. If you’re juggling your own career and family life, it can be difficult to allocate this time to transport your aging loved one as much as you want to be the person there for him or her at all times.
Hiring a professional caregiver who has been trained to help transport aging adults can be the perfect option for helping your loved one run basic errands like trips to the grocery store or pharmacy. He or she will come to your loved one’s home, and help with round-trip transportation, and can even assist with unpacking bags and cooking meals once back home.
While hiring a caregiver is convenient, it’s important to try and make room in your schedule to be there for your loved one’s most important outings, such as a visit to his or her healthcare providers. If that’s not possible, the professional caregivers from Caring Home Care are trained to take diligent notes and can ask questions on your behalf if a list is provided.
Use Non-Emergency Medical Transit
Non-emergency medical transit, also called NEMT, is available for low-income seniors on Medicaid. Check the requirements in your area to find out if your loved one can take advantage of this free option for getting to and from the doctor.
Only some modes of transportation may be covered. In emergency situations, Medicare should cover all costs associated with ambulance services.
Look into Paratransit
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled seniors and those with mobility problems should be able to access paratransit services. Paratransit is for individuals who are unable to use normal public transit due to a lack of accommodations.
These transportation services offer wheelchair- and handicap-accessible vehicles, but because the service is curbside and not door to door, your loved one must be able to get himself or herself out of the house and to the vehicle. If this is not a possibility, hiring a professional caregiver to assist with mobility and transportation may be the safest option for your loved one.
If paratransit sounds like a good fit, check your local options for fare information and service schedules.
Alternative transportation services allow your loved one to stay mobile and active even if he or she can no longer drive. When you’re unable to offer a ride, you can still be sure your aging relative will be taken care of with one of the above options.
As part of Caring Home Care’s caregiving services, we offer transportation assistance. Our professional caregivers can ensure that your loved one arrives at his or her destination safely and in a timely manner. The caregiver will also accompany your loved one inside the store or to a doctor’s appointment to give you peace of mind. Learn more about our caregiving services!