Having access to transportation is critical to staying connected to family and friends and to pursuing day-to-day activities, both those that are essential and those that enhance one’s quality of life. That is why it is so important to find the right solution to solving transportation challenges before they arise.
If you or your loved one comes to the decision that it’s time to stop driving, keep in mind the end of driving doesn’t mean the end of mobility independence. Many resources and affordable transportation options are available so older adults can age in place while maintaining independence, health, and connection to the community.
When you begin your search for options, consider eligibility, accessibility, reliability, and affordability to make a confident decision about which options are best for you and your loved one.
Transportation options for seniors
There are a number of choices for mobility independence. This list from AARP can help you find the right transportation option for you or your loved one. Also, depending on physical capabilities, budget constraints, and geographical location, here are some additional options:
- Use a ride sharing service. Uber and Lyft now have services for older adults, including those without smartphones. Uber offers UberAssist vehicles that can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers and collapsible scooters. Additionally, Lyft is working on its outreach for older adults and access for people with disabilities. If you don’t have a smartphone, a traditional taxi service is a good option, or try GoGoGrandparent, https://gogograndparent.com/ a service that connects older adults to ride sharing services.
- Take public transportation. With more than 170 bus routes, 12 rail lines, and many specialty services, Colorado’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) services make it easy to get around town. Learn how to ride by visiting rtd-denver.com.
- Find a roommate with a car who won’t mind driving you around. There are home-sharing websites and nonprofits that will help you search for and vet a possible roommate.
- Area Agency on Aging can connect you to other transportation resources, including agencies that operate wheelchair accessible vans for seniors with limited mobility.
- Via is a social enterprise and serves the metro region by providing transportation programs including the HOP, Access-a-Ride, and FlexRide under contract to local municipalities and the RTD.
Lastly, as you explore different mobility scenarios, keep the following in mind:
- Service Area
- Cost & Payment
- Driver credentials
Does Medicare cover medical transportation? What about Medicaid?
Transportation to doctor appointments is not typically covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Though some Medicare Advantage plans may cover transportation to doctor appointments.
You may also be able to get non-Medicare transportation to doctor appointments through various organizations, such as your local Area Agency on Aging.
Also, if you are eligible for Medicaid or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, these organizations may also provide transportation for routine medical care.
Figuring out Transportation Logistics for Seniors Can be Challenging for Caregivers
Caregivers often bear the responsibility of keeping older adults mobile and driving them to doctor’s appointments, social engagements, the grocery store, or other locations outside the home. However, transportation logistics can be taxing and time-consuming to caregivers who often rely on trial and error to solve transportation challenges.
Scheduling can also be a challenge as caregivers may work full time and don’t have the ability to drive their loved ones around during the day. There are also difficulties with handling a wheelchair or other assistive device as well as their loved one potentially displaying agitation and distracting behaviors. These issues may cause some family caregivers to limit where they will transport their loved one, or ultimately stop transporting their loved one altogether. Over time, this can lead to frustration and eventually isolation for both family caregivers and their loved ones.
Creating a solid plan for loss of mobility can ease the burden on caregivers and help older adults keep appointments and stay socially connected. There are a variety of options available that can lessen the burden on caregivers. This resource from the Easter Seals provides safe and creative solutions designed to ease transportation challenges.