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Personal Transportation for Seniors

Ken Teegardin Written by Ken Teegardin
SeniorLiving.Org Expert on Chief Editor | Caregiver

Did you know that one-half of Americans 65 and older do not have access to public transportation? And that more than half of all non-drivers 65 and older stay at home in a given day because they don’t have transportation options. Those in rural areas and small towns are particularly affected because the transportation options are limited.

Personal Transportation for Seniors

But it’s important for seniors to remain mobile to keep their social independence with friends and family; to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, and many other life-prolonging benefits.

If you or your loved one is no longer able to drive, there are personal transportation options through states programs, non-profits and private businesses.

Is it Time to Stop Driving?
For some seniors the answer is obvious. They may be too visually impaired to continue driving.
Just consider these vision and driving facts:

  • Vision provides about 85% of information we need to make safe decisions when driving.
  • A 60-year-old requires 10 times as much light to drive as a 19-year-old.
  • A 55-year-old takes eight times longer to recover from glare than a 16-year-old.
  • Older drivers can take twice as long to distinguish the flash of brake lights as younger drivers.

A study of the problems seniors face with transportation was conducted by the Beverly Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Seniordrivers.org summarized their findings with the following themes:

  • Seniors continue driving “as long as possible because they are unaware of, or do not believe they have, alternative means of transportation.”
  • Seniors “limit their driving or stop driving altogether because of functional difficulties.”
  • “By the time they stop driving, many older adults are so disabled that they are unable to use most public and para-transit systems.”
  • “Next to health, transportation is the most important issue for seniors.”

Types of Personal Transportation
Volunteer Driver Programs are usually faith-based or nonprofits with a network of volunteers who offer transportation to for shopping, recreation, doctor’s appointments and other needs. Reservations are required. Cost is minimal and sometimes free.  

Para-transit Service: Private agencies provide transportation using minibuses or small vans to the elderly or those with disabilities.

Door-through-Door Service: Private agencies provide drivers who offer personal assistance (wheelchair help, help with bags, etc.) through a passenger’s door and on through the door of their destination and back.

Personal Transportation Options for Seniors
A place to start to find transportation options is your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

Most metro areas will have a number of personal transportation options from mom-and-pop operations to larger organizations like the Supplemental Transportation Programs for Seniors (STPs), which are grassroots organizations run by staff and volunteers and funded through grants and donations.  

ITN (Independent Transportation Network) America uses paid and volunteer drivers to provide door-to-door service 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. There's a pick up charge and mileage charge with a minimum charge of $9 per location. There’s also a $40 membership fee.

Assessing a Transportation Provider
As you begin to research transportation providers, consider these questions:

  • Are there any requirements to qualify for the service?
  • Are the rides for wheelchair users and the disabled?
  • Are family members able to serve as an escort? Is there an additional charge?
  • Is the service door-to-door or curb-to-curb?
  • What is the service area?
  • Will the driver assist with bags, wheelchairs, etc.?
  • Are rides provided on the weekends, evenings and holidays?
  • If others are riding at the same time, what is the maximum time for pick up and drop off?
  • What is the cost?
  • How are fees calculated?
  • Are there any discounts? E.g., Is my income a factor?
  • Is there a membership fee?
  • Is a reservation needed? How far in advance?
  • Will my insurance pay for rides?

Summary
Seniors maintaining their independence is crucial for healthy and active aging. A big part of independence is transportation. If you’re unable to driver, consider using personal transportation whether it’s a large service like ITNAmerica or your local para-transit service.

For more tips on staying independent, read “Active Senior Living.” 

Additional Resources:
http://www.eldercare.gov
http://itnamerica.org
http://www.transact.org

You can find services that provide personnal transportation to seniors by entering your desired senior care location into the search bar and then clicking on  "Home Care".

Give Us Your Comments About This Page. This area is not for asking for help .

Comments

[4] Comments... Read them below.
Gina On Aug 22, 2017

Hi, I'm taking care of my mother in Georgia and somethings its hard to get her in my car .I want to know do you know who have transportation on a personal use

Reply:
Dear Gina,
Thank you for your message. From your question it appears that you may be looking for some help, assistance or companions that provide services such as light housekeeping, transportation, and companionship. These activities are known as instrumental ADLs (see below).
Read the full article here - 

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) include Bathing, Dressing, Feeding, Toileting etc 

And Instrumental ADLs includes activities like Housekeeping, Laundry, General Shopping, Transportation etc..

For many seniors, in-home care for specific tasks  is an alternative to assisted living that allows them to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Most providers are even trained to care for Alzheimer's clients. 

If you are  considering in-home care services for a loved one, search seniorliving.org's database for care providers in your neighbourhood.

Alternatively, you can contact and speak to one of our operators at (866) 859 7420.
annette laxen On Jun 21, 2017

Helpful information about driving alternatives

Mendy Loveall On Jun 17, 2017

Hello, I was wondering if in Salem, Oregon there was a service for elderly transportation? I was wondering if there was a way I could use my car and get paid for asking seniors to and from locations and get paid for it. I was not interested in Uber because of my own safety as a driver but thought I could make some extra money as a driver?

Reply:
Hi Mendy,
 
Please look at this company for further information on how to provide transportation for seniors:
 
START AN INDEPENDENT TRANSPORTATION NETWORK (ITN)
http://itnamerica.org/find-your-affiliate
 
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
http://itnamerica.org/get-involved/career-opportunities
 
Here is another one that provides transportation in the area for everyone, and they have a special Red Line for seniors:
http://www.cherriots.org/en/services
 
Another way would be to contact the Social Secuirty or Senior Citizens department at
http://www.salem.com/council-aging/pages/services
 
Here is a transportation company that specilaises in providing transit solutions for seniors:
http://goldstartransportinc.com/
 
And another one:
http://wvtransport.com/
Lois Nebel On Jun 15, 2017

I am a 76 year old, who had a stroke and have MS. My husband recently died and I have limited ability to drive well. I am looking for transportation to and from MD visits mainly.



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