Transportation Options for Non-Drivers

Getting around is essential no matter our age. As we get older,
though, many of us may choose to stop driving or, as caregivers, decide it’s
best for our parent or loved one to no longer transport him or herself. Because
of this, transportation alternatives become essential.
There are a variety
of transportation options out there. The trick is figuring out which is the
best fit and which your loved one will feel the most comfortable with.
Location, cost, convenience (for both the person being cared for as well as the
caregiver), frequency and ease of use all become factors in deciding which
option is best. To help you get started, here is a breakdown of many of the
Friends and Family
Often, the responsibility of transporting loved ones falls on friends and
family. For many, this works out to be the most trustworthy and cost-effective
solution. For others, however, schedules and distance will make this nearly
impossible. Because you and your loved one will know and trust the drivers in
this transportation network, this is also the least worrisome option. For those
of you who are willing and able to be your loved one’s primary means of
transport, be sure to have a back-up option should you get sick or need a
break. If you are unable to be the primary transportation option, hiring a
safe-driving family member or friend to provide rides on a regular basis will
help to share the load while providing them with added income.
Whether the primary mode of transportation or a backup, taxicabs are a convenient
way to get your loved one to and from necessary destinations. There are pros
and cons, though. The pros of taxi service are that they are almost always
readily available and reasonably priced, depending on location. The cons are
that drivers usually don’t help passengers into and out of their destinations,
will most likely be unknown to the passenger and will not be consistent. Also,
if used frequently, fares can add up. Lastly, organizing rides may fall to you,
the caregiver, if your loved one isn’t able to or doesn’t like the idea of
making the reservations. As with all other services, make sure to go with a
reputable company to ensure the safety of your loved one.
Hiring a Private Car Service
If there is a need for transportation on a consistent basis and relying on
family and friends is not an option, a car service may be a solution.
Contracting with a reputable transportation service to take your loved one on
weekly errands may end up being cheaper — and more efficient — than using taxis
for every trip. Arrangements can be made in advance, the cost per trip may be
lower than using taxis and you might be able to request the same driver each
week. They may even be willing to escort your loved one into and out of their
home and provide assistance with carrying packages or bags. Be sure to ask
local senior services for recommendations so you make arrangements with a
reputable company — especially if you plan to have someone entering your loved
one’s home.
Residence Transportation Services
Many care facilities provide transportation for their residents. If your parent
or loved one is living in any type of care facility, check to see if they offer
this service. Many do, which is a great resource for caregivers who either
can’t provide regular transportation or need a break. Often, facilities will
arrange weekly trips to the grocery store and other destinations, as well as
schedule social day trips. Simply check with the front desk of the facility on
whether this is an option.

Check with local senior organizations as well as your religious institution to
see if they provide volunteer transportation services. Often, churches,
synagogues and religious organizations, as well as senior centers, have
volunteers at the ready to assist older members of the community with errands,
appointments and other necessary trips around town.
Dial-a-Ride, Van Services and Ride Sharing
Many communities provide public ride sharing services, such as Dial-a-Ride,
that cater to older adults. Often, these services are run by local
transportation companies or nonprofit organizations and can be very useful for
getting around town. These vans and buses are unlike taxis and hired
transportation services in that they run along specific routes and usually
don’t cater to specific requests. Costs for these services vary by service and
location. To find a service in your area, check the phonebook or use the Eldercare Locater.
Public Transportation
Depending on your loved one’s health, level of comfort and location, public
transportation may be an option. This is a convenient way to get around
metropolitan areas and is a great option in those areas where it’s safe, easy
to follow and convenient. If you think your parent or loved one would take well
to public transportation, take him on a few test runs to ensure he’s
comfortable and finds his way around easily. Most major public transit systems
provide rate information as well as maps on their websites.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), those with disabilities are
legally entitled to paratransit, as long as they meet eligibility. A system of
buses, vans, cars and trains, paratransit is a public transportation service
that caters to those who are unable to use regular public transportation. Those
interested — or their caregivers — must contact their local transit provider,
which will determine eligibility. For help with determining eligibility, visit
the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.


To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Giving up driving adversely affects aging adults’ volunteer and work lives

For many senior drivers it is only a matter of time before
they are forced to give up their car keys due to failing eyesight or other
health issues. Now, University of Missouri researchers have studied how aging
adults’ driving cessation influences their work and social lives. The
researchers found that seniors’ loss of driving independence negatively
affected their ability to work and their volunteerism; the adults’ social lives
were not instantly affected yet dwindled over time.
“We found that seniors’ productive engagement, such as paid
work and formal volunteering, decreased when they stopped driving; however,
adults’ ability to connect with  people
in their immediate environments  was not
immediately compromised by their transitions to non-driver status,” said Angela
Curl, an assistant professor of social work at MU and the study’s lead author.
Planning for driving cessation should happen well before
older adults have to give up their car keys, and advance planning can help
seniors remain active in society after they quit driving, Curl said.
“Often when individuals stop driving, their health and
happiness decline,” Curl said. “For seniors, engaging more in their communities
is linked to maintained health, lower rates of depression and financial
benefits, and this is why adults need to better prepare before they quit
For smoother transitions to non-driver status, Curl
suggested older adults think about alternative transportation options early on
and include their family members in the conversations.
“Older adults have a tendency to think about driving
cessation as something for other people, or they think of quitting as so far in
the future that they postpone planning,” Curl said. “Finally, when seniors do
start thinking about quitting driving it is too late, and they’re panicked and
overwhelmed thinking about all the freedoms they will lose.”
Many seniors lack appropriate driving alternatives, such as
finding rides or using public transportation; yet, Curl found that many older
adults will not ask their families for support during this time because they
don’t want to become burdens. Family members should offer their help to their
aging loved ones instead of waiting to be asked, Curl said.
According to Curl, one way for aging adults to help ease the
transition to not driving is to take public transportation once a month as
practice before completely losing mobility status or to relocate to a
retirement center that provides private transportation to its residents.


To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Car Safety Tips

Make sure all doors are locked and windows
rolled up while driving. You don’t want someone jumping into your car when you
stop in traffic.
Never leave anything valuable in plain view.
Never leave car keys inside the vehicle.
Always lock the doors when you leave the
vehicle, even for only a short time.
Park as close as possible to where you are
Avoid hiding a spare key in the car.
When returning to your car, look around as you
approach your vehicle.
Have your key ready in your hand before
approaching the car; don’t fumble looking for the key.
Peek into the back seat before getting in.
Once you’re inside the car, lock all doors

Best Car Features for Caregivers

Caring for
someone else can mean a lot of stress and a lot of time in the car. Driving to
doctors’ appointments, tests, pharmacy, and even simple trips around town can
take on another level of complexity when you’re responsible for someone else’s
But, if you
have a car that supports your caregiving efforts, life will be much easier.
Here is what caregivers should look for when buying a car.

Access for people
If you or
someone you are caring for has limited mobility, the ease of getting in and out
of a car is a big deal.
low-slung sports cars and high trucks and SUV’s. Instead minivans and crossovers
offer good ease of access.
such as the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey, don not require a huge step to get
into the vehicle, and their seats are hip level for many adults, which means
they are easy to lower yourself into and get out of. Most minivans also offer
doors that can be opened and closed remotely.
ride slightly higher than cars do, but not as high as off-road SUV’s, so getting
in and opt is easy. Look for doors that can swing wide and provide plenty of
interior room for everyone to get situated. The Toyota Venza, Jeep Patriot, and
Hyundai Tuscon all have easy access height and doors.

Access for stuff
Caring for
someone else often means traveling with a lot of stuff. Make things easy on
yourself by getting a car that can handle extra cargo and makes loading and
unloading easy. Most crossovers and minivans offer remote-opening rear hatches.
For example, on the GMC Terrain, you can hit a button on the key fob and the
cargo area will open. That is a big help if you are fumbling with children and
bags in a busy parking lot.
Also consider
how high the cargo load floor is, particularly if the person you are caring for
has heavy equipment that needs to be transported. On some cross overs, you have
to lift very high (above your hips or waist) to get items into the cargo area.
If you are dealing with a heavy wheelchair, that will take a toll on your back.
Before buying a car, take the gear you usually carry with you to the dealership
and see how easy it is to load and unload.

Desirable technology features
One way a car
can make caregiving easier is by having the right interior technology.
Depending on your needs, the technology can be as simple as a radio or can be a
communications service that will connect you emergency workers if needed.
A navigation system
can be a big help to any caregiver, especially if you travel out of town a lot.
Most navigation systems can quickly find and direct you to the nearest hospital
or pharmacy.
navigation systems on new cars can be expensive, you might try a portable unit,
which can be purchased at an electronics store. Portable GPS devices usually
cost less and do many of the same things as installed models.
If you frequently
make calls while driving, a hands-free device can help limit distraction.
Finally, don’t
forget about having some fun, too. A rear-seat DVD system can keep children and
adults happy.

Fuel friendliness
Taking care
of someone can take a huge chunk out of your budget. Make sure your car’s fuel
doesn’t do the same thing. Not only are crossovers easy to get in and out of,
they also tend to have better fuel economy than SUV’s.

Special features
Car makers
are making more products that make sense for an aging population, but in some
cases, the car you buy off the lot won’t be able to handle everything you need
it to do. If that is the case, you will need to consider how a vehicle can be
customized to your needs.

4 Senior Driving Tips

driving tip #4: Benefits of not driving

Adjusting to life without a car may be challenging at
first; most likely you have been driving your whole life and it feels like
quite a shock. It is normal to be frustrated, angry, or irritable. You might
even feel ashamed or worry that you are losing your independence.  However, it takes a lot of courage to stop
driving and put the safety of yourself and others first. You may also find
there are many benefits to living without a car that you may not have
considered. For example you may:
  •         Save
    money on the cost of car ownership.
    This includes car insurance,
    maintenance, registration, and gas. These savings can pay for alternative transportation
    if necessary.
  •         Improve
    your health.
    Giving up the car keys often means walking or
    cycling more, which can have a beneficial effect on your health.
  •          Expand
    your social circle.
    While many seniors have difficulty accepting
    ride offers from others, this can be a good time to reach out and connect to
    new people.
  •          Appreciate
    the change of pace.
    For many, stopping driving means slowing
    down. While that may not sound appealing to everyone, many seniors find that
    they actually enjoy life far more when they live at a slower pace.

your transportation alternatives
The more alternatives you have to driving, the easier the
adjustment will be. You want to make sure that you can get out not only for
essentials like doctor’s appointments, but social visits and enrichment.
Feeling housebound can lead to depression.
This may also be a time to evaluate your living arrangements. If
you are isolated and there are little transportation options in your area, you
may want to consider moving to an area with more options, or investigate senior
living options.
  •        Public transit. If you live in an area that is well
    connected with public transit, it can be a very handy way to get around. Check
    your local public transit options and ask about reduced prices for older
  •        Ride sharing. Family members, friends, and neighbors may be a resource for
    ride sharing. Offer to share the costs or to return the favor in a different
    way, such as cooking a meal or helping with yard work.
  •        Community shuttles/senior transit. Your local community may have shuttle
    service available, especially for medical appointments. Some medical
    facilities, such as those for veterans, also have transportation options for
    medical appointments. Your local place of worship may also offer transit
  •        Taxis or private drivers. Taxis may be a good option for quick trips
    without a lot of prior scheduling. You can also look into hiring a chauffeur or
    private driver. You can go through a formalized driving service, or sometimes a
    family member, friend, or neighbor can help. You do want to make sure whoever
    is driving has a good driving record and is responsible.
  •        Walking/cycling. If health permits, walking or cycling when
    you can is a great way to not only get around but also get some exercise.
    Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including
    Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood
    pressure, and obesity.
  •        Motorized wheelchairs. Motorized wheelchairs can be a good way to
    get around if you live in an area with easily accessible stores and well-paved


4 Senior Driving Tips

Senior Driving tip
#3: Know the warning signs of unsafe driving
Sometimes unsafe signs can come up gradually, or a recent
change in health may make problems worse. Even if the individual warning signs
seem minor, together they can add up to a substantial risk. If you are
concerned about your own driving or worried about a friend or loved one, keep
an eye out for these warning signs:

Issues with health
Health problems don’t always mean that driving needs to be
stopped, but they do require extra vigilance, awareness, and willingness to
correct them. Some health problems include:
  •          Conflicting
    Certain medications or combinations of medications can affect
    senses and reflexes. Always check the label on medications and double check
    with your physician if you are taking several medications or notice a
    difference after starting a new medication.
  •          Eyesight
    Some eye conditions or medications can interfere with your
    ability to focus your peripheral vision or cause you to experience extra sensitivity
    to light, trouble seeing in the dark, or blurred vision.
  •         Hearing problems.
    If your hearing is decreasing, you may not realize you’re missing out on
    important cues to drive safely. Can you hear emergency sirens or the honking of
    a horn?
  •          Problems
    with reflexes and range of motion.
    Can you react quickly enough if you need
    to brake suddenly or quickly look back? Have you confused the gas and brake
    pedals? Do you find yourself getting more flustered while driving or quick to
    anger?  Is it comfortable to look back
    over your shoulder or does it take extra effort?
  •          Problems
    with memory.
    Do you find yourself missing exits that used to be second
    nature or finding yourself getting lost frequently? While everyone has an
    occasional lapse, if there is an increasing pattern, it is time to get
    evaluated by a doctor.

Issues on the road
  •          Trouble
    with the nuts and bolts of driving.
    Do you see yourself making sudden lane
    changes or drifting into other lanes?
  •          Close calls
    and increased citations.
    Red flags include frequent “close calls” ( ex:
    almost crashing), dents and scrapes on the car, fences, mailboxes, garage
    doors, and curbs. Increased traffic tickets or warnings by traffic or law
    enforcement officers are also red flags.

See senior driving
tip #4 in Wednesday’s blog (8/7/13)

4 Senior Driving Tips

Senior Driving Tip
#2: Tips for senior driving

Take charge of your
Regular check-ups are critical to keeping you in the best
possible driving shape. Other steps you can take include:
  •         Getting your eyes checked every year. Make sure
    your eye glasses and/or contacts are current.
  •          Have your hearing checked annually. If hearing
    aids are prescribed, make sure they are worn while driving.
  •          Talk with your doctor about the effects that
    ailments or medications may have on your driving ability.
  •          Sleeping well. Getting enough sleep is essential
    to driving well.

Find the right car
and aids you need for driving
Choose a vehicle with automatic transmission, power
steering, and power brakes. Keep your car in good working condition by visiting
your mechanic for scheduled maintenance. Be sure that windows and headlights
are clean.

Drive defensively
In these days of cell phones and digital music players,
drivers are more distracted than they used to be. This means you will want to
take extra steps to drive safely, like leaving adequate space for the car in
front of you, paying extra attention at intersections, and making sure you are
driving appropriate to the flow of traffic.

Know your limitations
If a driving situation makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it.
Many older drivers voluntarily begin to make changes in their driving
practices. For example, you may decide to drive only during daylight hours if
you have trouble seeing at night. If fast-moving traffic bothers you, consider
staying off freeways, highways, and find street routes instead. You may also
decide avoid driving in bad weather (rain, thunderstorms, hail, ice).

Listen to the
concerns of others
If relatives, friends, or others begin to talk to you about
your driving, it may be time to take a hard, honest look at your driving
  •          You might choose to brush up on your driving
    through a refresher course. Safety courses are offered in many communities and
  •          Talk to your doctor. Your doctor should also be
    able to provide an opinion about your ability to drive safely, or refer you to
    a specialist for more intensive evaluation.

See Senior Driving
tip #3 in Monday’s blog (8/5/13).

4 Senior Driving Tips

Senior driving tip
Understanding how aging affects driving.
Aging tends to results in a reduction of strength,
coordination, and flexibility, which can have a major impact on your ability to
safely control a car. For example:
  • Pain or stiffness in your neck can make it
    harder to look over your shoulder to change lanes or look left and right at
    intersections to check for other traffic or pedestrians.
  • Leg pain can make it difficult to move your foot
    from the gas to the brake pedal.
  • Diminished arm strength can make it hard to turn
    the steering wheel quickly and effectively.
  • As reaction times also slow down with age, you
    may be slower to spot vehicles emerging from side streets and driveways, or to
    realize that the vehicle ahead of you has slowed or stopped.
  •  Keeping track of so many road signs, signals,
    and markings, as well as all the other traffic and pedestrians, can also become
    more difficult as you lose the ability to effectively divide your attention
    between multiple activities.

You may have driven your entire life and take great pride in
your safety record, but as you age, it is critical that you realize your
driving ability can change. To continue driving safely, you need to recognize
that changes can happen, get help, when they do, and be willing to listen if
others voice concerns.

See Senior Driving tip #2 in Friday’s blog (8/2/13).

How to talk to a loved one about driving concerns

Driver safety can often be a sensitive issue for seniors. A
driver’s license signifies more than the ability to drive a car; it is a symbol
of freedom and self-sufficiency. Understandably, driving is not a privilege that
anyone wants to relinquish willingly. Still, safety must come first.
Some older drivers may be aware of their faltering ability
but still be reluctant to give up driving completely. Another person’s concerns
may force the senior driver to act. They may even feel relieved to have someone
else help make the decision to stop driving. Some seniors may forget that they aren’t
supposed to drive. If that is the case, it is even more important to remove the
car or car keys to make it impossible to drive. If you find yourself in the
position of talking to an older friend or family member about their driving,
remember the following:
  •     Be
    For many seniors, driving is an integral part of independence.
    May older adults have fond memories of getting a driver’s license. At the same
    time, don’t be intimidated or back down if you have a true concern.
  •          Give
    specific examples.
    It is easier to tune out generalizations like “You just
    can’t drive safely anymore.” Outline concerns that you have noticed, such as “You
    have a harder time turning your head than you used to,” or “You braked suddenly
    at stop signs three times the last time we drove.”
  •          Find
    strength in numbers.
    If more than one family member or close friends has
    noticed, it is less likely to be taken as nagging. A loved one may also listen
    to a more impartial party, such as a doctor or driving specialist.
  •          Help find
    The person may be so used to driving that they have never
    considered alternatives. You can offer concrete help, such as researching
    transportation options or offering rides when possible. If your family member
    is reluctant to ask for help, it can lead to isolation and depression.
  •          Understand
    the difficulty of the transition.
    Your loved one may experience a profound
    sense of loss having given up driving. Don’t dismiss their feelings but try to
    help with the transition as much as possible. If it is safe, try slowly
    transitioning the senior out of driving to give them time to adjust. For
    example, your loved one may begin the transition by no longer driving at night
    or on the freeways, or by using a shuttle service to specific appointments.



What you should ask and Information you should provide when you go to the Doctor

Doctor visits
can be overwhelming for older adults, particularly if they have hearing
problems or dementia. Seniors can often appreciate someone attending an
appointment with them to provide any needed assistance.
Here is what to
ask and information you should provide to your doctor:
  •       Always
    tell your doctor what prescription medications, supplements, and vitamins you
    are currently taking. Write them down for your appointment. Also you should
    make a list of any symptoms or health complaints you have.

  •          Describe
    your symptoms in order and include past experiences with the same problem.

  •          Ask
    the doctor what he or she thinks is causing these problems. Take notes on what
    the doctor says or ask the person who is accompanying you to do so.

  •          If
    new tests are ordered or medications prescribed, ask the doctor why he or she
    is recommending that and why you need it. Find out if there are alternatives.

  •          Ask
    the doctor if any of the medications that he or she prescribes will interact in
    a negative way with medications that you are already taking prescribed by other

  •          Confirm
    the proper dosage and method of taking the new medication.

  •          Find
    out if there are potential side effects or complications from a medication or
  •          Discuss
    with the doctor how you will get any test results.
  •          Find
    out if the doctor wants to see you again, or if you should report back to him
    or her.
  •          Discuss
    what, if anything, you should be doing at home to improve your condition
    including diet and exercise. Find out if any of your activities should be restricted.
  •          Finally,
    if you are confused about anything, make sure you ask your doctor to explain it