AARP Expert Amy GoyerAARP Expert Amy GoyerHere are some tips if you are looking for transportation for an older adult or someone with disabilities:

 

  • Start by contacting the Eldercare Locator to get contact information for your local area agency on aging. You can also call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. Ask the area agency on aging about the availability of transportation services available in your area. The area agency on aging contracts with local organizations to provide transportation services. They may include home health agencies that provide personal care as well as transportation, organizations that offer a variety of services for older adults or those with disabilities or they may be organizations that only provide transportation.

 

  • You can also search in the online Community Resource Finder. Click on "Care at Home" and then "Transportation" and enter your zip code. You'll then get a list of organizations that provide transportation services (some may be home health agencies that also provide transportation).

 

  • You can also use rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, and in some areas, they partner with organizations to provide special services for seniors. But if you do that be sure they are following safety protocols for COVID-19. If you want to go that route, you might try using a service like GoGo Grandparent - a service in which you can call to get a rideshare instead of using a smartphone. They also offer communication with caregivers. 

 

  • Contact the VA if you or your loved one is a Veteran, and ask if they provide any transportation services for Veterans or if they know of local organizations that do. You can contact your local VA office, medical center, or your social worker, and if you aren't already connected with the VA you can start with the VA Caregiver Support Program website or call 1-855-260-3274. 

 

  • Ask about the cost. Some offer free or sliding fee scale (based on your ability to pay), or flat rate transportation for older adults or those with disabilities. If using a rideshare service you can ask about typical rates for some of the places you go to frequently.

 

  • Ask about who drives and what type of vehicles are used. Are drivers paid staff or volunteers and what training do they receive? Vehicles might include taxis, buses, vans, wheelchair vans, SUVs, sedans, black cars, private vehicles.

 

  • Ask about exactly what services are offered. Will they:
    • Help you go to and from the house and into the car?
    • Manage a transport wheelchair or walker and put them into the car for you?
    • Offer a wheelchair van with a lift so you can stay in the wheelchair?
    • Drop you off at an appointment or store and come back when you call to say you are ready?
    • Wait in the parking lot until you are ready to go?
    • Offer "escort" service - where they will help you into the appointment or store, help you there and wait with you?
    • Offer additional services, like carrying and unpacking and putting away groceries, doing housekeeping, etc.?
    • Also, ask if there will be other passengers in the vehicle.

 

  • Ask about safety and security, including a background check and other screening for drivers and vehicle upkeep. In this time of COVID-19, it is very important to ask about safety precautions to protect you from infection, including cleaning the cars and opening the windows between passengers, wearing masks, other people in the vehicle, etc. 

 

 

I hope this is all helpful!

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving

 

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