There comes a time in life when driving is unsafe. For most of us, that time comes during the geriatric years. Age, coupled with physical or mental disabilities, can make for a situation that is unsafe for the driver and other individuals. However, when this time comes, the necessity for transportation does not end. Seniors who need to get to doctors appointments, the grocery store, spiritual services or other social events must find safe ways to travel the roads.
Bus Services for the Elderly
In many areas, special bus services are available to transport seniors to and from various appointments or social gatherings. These are typically provided by the county, and they are arranged through local Social Services offices. These services are often free or provided at a very reduced cost, but they are limited to certain hours of the day, making them inconvenient for individuals looking for transportation in the early morning or evening hours. This option can also be confusing for a senior facing Dementia or other mental health concerns, as the senior must remain capable of knowing when to board the bus, which stop to get off at and how to enter or leave the bus with some level of independence. In some cases, bus services are not available on a door to door basis, meaning individuals with mobility restrictions might find these types of services difficult to use.
Friends, Loved Ones, and Volunteers
For individuals who do not have access to bus services or who find them inconvenient in some way, a volunteer, neighbor or family member can assist with transportation. This option provides a way for the senior to get to appointments with someone they know, but it also means burdening one individual with the responsibility of meeting this need. A family member or friend might have to take time off of work to provide transportation, or they might need to outfit an automobile with special equipment for wheelchair access, and this can cause financial hardships. A volunteer is not always reliable, and this can result in missed appointments for the senior who is in need.
Home Care Providers
Another options is to hire an in home care provider to meet this important need. This offers many advantages, as it provides the senior with a familiar face to assist when transportation is required. In addition, it grants the senior access to a trained professional who can help with mobility, toileting and feeding while he is away from home. Hiring a professional home care provider does come at a cost, but many families find this to be the most convenient option because it is reliable and does not burden family or friends with additional responsibilities.
Access to reliable transportation plays an important role during every stage of life. There are, however, times when driving independently becomes unsafe. When such a time arises, utilizing bus services, asking for support from friends and family or hiring a home care provider can help to meet this need with safety in mind. Utilizing such methods empowers seniors, allowing them to remain safely in their homes and continue to feel connected to the community in which they reside.