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
options.
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.
Taxis
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.
Volunteer
Drivers

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.
Paratransit
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.

Source: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-10-2010/pc_transportation_options_for_nondrivers.2.html

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