Driving is an essential part of most people’s day-to-day lives. From accessing essential services to grocery shopping or visiting family and friends, driving can provide a fast and convenient way to get around. However, this transportation option may not always be available for everyone. According to recent research, over 600,000 Americans stop driving each year due to the natural effects of aging, such as visual impairments, cognitive decline and mobility issues. If you or a loved one is beginning to find driving burdensome or even unsafe, there are a variety of senior transportation options to help you remain mobile.
The Importance Of Senior Transportation Services
If you or a loved one can no longer drive safely, transportation services can provide great options to help you get around. Let’s look at the importance of these services for non-driving seniors:
- Dependable transportation: Senior transportation can be a reliable way to get around for those who are unable to drive.
- Safety: If you or a loved one can no longer drive, transportation services can help you move around safely.
- Independence: Even when family members are willing to assist, it can be refreshing to be able to move around independently.
- Peace of mind: As a caregiver, you can rest easy knowing your loved one is able to get around safely.
- Better quality of life: Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or visiting a friend, transportation services for seniors can allow you to plan rides at your convenience.
Types Of Senior Transportation Services
Transportation services can be a lifesaver for older adults who are no longer able to get behind the wheel safely. These services are designed to help them maintain their independence and access essential services, such as medical appointments, grocery shopping and social activities. Here are some key common types of senior transportation services:
Depending on where you live, public transportation like buses and trains can be an affordable way to get around. Most of these services are wheelchair-accessible, and some even offer reduced fares and discounts to seniors.
However, most public transportation services usually follow fixed schedules and routes, so they may not be ideal for seniors who cannot walk to and from the bus or train stations.
This option is designed to provide transportation services for seniors and people who are disabled. Vehicles offering paratransit services typically have modifications, such as ramps and grab handles, to better suit seniors and people using wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility aids.
It’s important to note that because of their relatively smaller scale, paratransit services may be more costly compared to public transport. Some paratransit services may have eligibility requirements, so be sure to check with your local service.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
Through Medicaid, NEMT services offer free transportation for seniors who need to make medical trips that are less urgent, such as going to the dentist or drug store. The availability and eligibility requirements of NEMT services may vary across states, so it’s important to check with your local Medicaid office.
Assisted Living Or Senior Living Community Shuttles
Some senior living communities offer transportation services for their residents, helping them access various services and activities within the community and often beyond. While most communities typically offer free transportation for their residents, some may provide it at an additional cost.
Private Transportation Companies
Some private companies, like SilverRide, iTNAmerica and GoGoGrandparent specialize in providing transportation services exclusively for seniors, including door-to-door service, scheduled trips and assistance with boarding and disembarking. However, these services may be more costly and may not be available nationwide.
Taxis And Rideshare Services
Traditional taxi services can offer flexible and convenient transportation for seniors. However, this option can be costly compared to ride-hailing services. Similar to taxis, ride sharing services, like Lyft and Uber allow you to commute on your own schedule at a more affordable price. Most only require you to have an app on your smart phone to set up your first ride.
Some communities have volunteer-based programs where locals volunteer their time and vehicles to help provide free or affordable door-to-door transportation for seniors and people with limited mobility. Usually, these programs are coordinated through senior centers, nonprofits or faith-based organizations. You can use this search tool to locate volunteer ride services in your area.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Service Provider
When looking for a service provider, it’s important to find one that suits you or your loved one’s needs and budget. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a service provider:
- Safety: Your loved one’s safety and wellness is top priority. When looking for a transportation service, you can check their safety records, the condition of their vehicles and the qualifications of their drivers. You can also check customer ratings or community feedback to help you gather more information.
- Reliability: You want a transport service that shows up on time. Consider reading reviews and asking for recommendations from friends or family to gauge a company’s reliability.
- Availability: Some transportation services for seniors may have limited availability, while others may offer 24/7 service. It’s important to choose one that aligns with you or your loved one’s schedule and needs. If it’ll be used by a senior family member, it’s essential to consider how easy it is to book a ride.
- Cost: When looking for transportation services for a senior, be sure to choose one that fits you or your family member’s needs and budget. Some services have upfront pricing, while others use meters or charge by the mile. Be sure to check for any hidden fees.
- Flexibility: While most transportation services for seniors allow seniors to book rides at their convenience, some services may require them to book in advance. It’s also generally advisable to read and understand a service’s cancellation policy, including any fees for last-minute changes or cancellations.
- Accessibility: If you or a loved one has mobility issues, consider checking if the service is wheelchair-accessible and offers assistance with boarding and disembarking.
- Customer service: When it comes to transportation services for you or a loved one, friendly and helpful customer service can make a world of difference. It can be reassuring to know you can reach out and get assistance if needed.
How To Pay For Transportation Services
Transportation can be an essential part of our day-to-day lives, which can make the costs add up. Here are some key ways you can pay for transportation services:
- Private pay: Depending on your available financial resources, you can pay for senior transportation services directly from your savings. Some services offer flexible payment plans, so it’s worth discussing your budget with the transportation provider.
- Family assistance: Senior transportation can be costly, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from loved ones. Family members can pool together and share the costs of transportation services. This can be a practical solution to lighten the financial burden.
- Medicaid: Medicaid may cover some non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) for eligible seniors. Medicaid’s coverage and eligibility requirements may vary from state to state, so it’s important to check the specific coverage in your area and for your loved one’s situation.
- Private insurance: Some private health insurance plans may include transportation benefits, especially for medical appointments. However, coverage may vary among providers, so be sure to review the details of your insurance policy.
- Grants and assistance programs: If you or a loved one need financial assistance, consider checking if there are any grants or local assistance programs in your area.
Veteran benefits: If your senior loved one is a veteran, they might be eligible for senior transportation benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
How Senior Living Communities Can Support Seniors Travel Needs
From doctor’s appointments to grocery shopping and fun community excursions, reliable transportation can help senior community residents make the most of their lives. Most senior living communities do provide transport for their residents — typically through on-site services or concierge services. While some communities offer free transportation, others may charge extra for the services. Here are some key ways in which senior living communities can support seniors’ travel needs:
- Well-equipped vehicles: Communities may need to use specially equipped vehicles, with accessibility features like wheelchair ramps or lifts, to accommodate the needs of residents with mobility challenges.
- Trained drivers: Having well-trained drivers who understand the unique needs of seniors can help ensure that residents get the best possible service. Drivers typically also offer assistance with boarding and disembarking to ensure residents’ safety.
- Door-to-door service: Some residents may find it challenging to walk to a centralized pick-up point, so communities ensure they can request transportation right from their doorstep — making it as convenient as possible.
- Scheduled transportation: To help make it easier for residents to plan their outings, senior living communities can provide a set schedule for trips to places like grocery stores, medical appointments and community outings.
Senior Living At StoryPoint Group
At StoryPoint Group communities, we understand that every individual’s journey through their golden years is unique, and that’s why we take pride in meeting them right where they are — tailoring our care and support to their specific needs. Our vibrant communities are designed to foster growth, laughter and cherished moments. We also provide comprehensive transportation services to help ensure that no resident misses a doctor’s appointment or the joy of an exciting excursion.
If you think you or a loved one could benefit from a senior living community, we’re here to help. Give us a call today at 1-844-403-6569 or schedule a tour of your nearest community to learn what it’s like.