When I was an energetic 22 year old I was unstoppable. With boundless energy I could drive state to state for over 13 hours to see family (only stopping for gas). Those days are long gone and now my fast-paced past has been replaced with a need for steady, convenient, and reliable transportation. As your parents get older look into these transportation services.
Assuming your family member doesn’t have dementia and is mentally fit public transit can be a great option. The hardest part is setting up the legwork of locating the nearest bus stop or train stop.
The swiss put together a large scale study on the barriers to the elderly using public transportation like trains. The largest complaint by the elderly was confusing or lack of signage when in the train stations and stops. I’ve tried to use the New York subway and encountered the same problem.
The point is to really do your homework on preparing your family member for what public transit is like. Even try doing the route yourself and then write out the stops in simple terms for your loved one.
Assuming they are going to a doctor appointment you can map the location fairly easily. Buy them a pass ahead of time and add a ton of money to it. They just need to track where they are on the stops and can get to their destination safely and conveniently.
Paratransit options are designed to help millions of seniors go door to door. The exact details of how on demand paratransit works varies by community. Generally speaking you have to call the organizations ahead of time and get built into their schedule.
Your mom or dad would need to be comfortable travelling with other older adults. It can be a great way to get out of the house and make new friends.
The biggest drawback is that these organizations sometimes have reliability and quality issues. I’m not trying to sell anyone short and many of them do a stellar job. Just be prepared for your parent to possibly complain about rude service (note these programs practically free).
Uber for the elderly - Meet Roundtrip
Roundtrip aims to provide a private service without the service issues of paratransit. I haven’t used them yet, but seems like the easiest way to help your mom or dad to stop driving.
Note that it is exclusively for medical appointments. So it won’t help you get your mom to the mall (but you could order an uber for that). They also let you select vehicle types, perfect if you need a stretcher van.
Another option is to basically hire a chauffeur with a medical license. These organizations offer transports in private ambulances, vans etc. You can rest easy knowing that your parent is receiving the best care.
The trick with these organizations is that the price tag is higher (you get what you pay for). To find someone near you search your local area for the key phrase ‘non emergency medical transportation’.
When you are looking into long distance trips find those that specialize on safety and comfort. If your move is medically related look into our long distance medical transport. These trips often have a minimum of 200 or more miles. For those trips that are more solo travel vacation focused, there are a lot of other great nurse companion options in our tips for travelling with dementia.
Are you not satisfied with your local transportation for senior citizens? Transportation for America shares that opinion and put together a massive resource list on the topic. Check it out and find out how to improve your local senior transportation.