How to Find Transportation for Older Adults or Those with Disabilities
Here 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 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 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 in to 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 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.
transportation is no problem for me except one way: i have none. i use public bus to do my shopping & use locally to go to doctor appts. long distance i call the number on back of my medicaid card & schedule a ride. the only beef is it is time limited & must be adjusted to; you can't take your time at places & can't go to several places without taking the "time" to do so but it is better than nothing & better than being cooped up at home. Public transportation is a lifeline to the outside world. of course the only other way is the best way: walking.
I'm with you. I quit driving 2 1/2 years ago. Don't regret it for an instant. Waiting for the bus can be annoying but that's the nature of the beast. Walking onto an air conditioned bus can be such a relief.
Do you have any recommendations for long distance travel that would bring a loved elder home. We thought Amtrak with private stateroom and bath and meals served in cabin would be safer than airplane. Forget Amtrak. Their disinfecting was a joke, masks were worn below nose and the upper bunk had clearance of 24-30" so you couldn't sit up and it was very, very difficult to get in or out of bed.