Best Transportation Options for Aging Parents

When Mom and Dad are older, letting them drive might not be a safe idea. There are transportation alternatives available that allow them to remain independent. They can maintain a little bit of independence with your help.

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Best Transportation Options for Aging Parents
4 Min Read April 27th, 2021 Updated:May 19th, 2022

Driving is a source of pride and independence for everyone at any age. However, with aging, driving becomes an issue of safety. Mom or Dad may have already experienced some loss in mobility. They are not moving as quickly as they used to. Although normal, it is not what most people enjoy experiencing. 

Imagine how much more isolating and embarrassing it feels to lose the ability to drive. Sadly, there may come a time when your parents need to surrender their car keys to avoid traffic accidents, or worse

But that doesn't mean they need to stay at home all the time. There are services and systems available to take them where they want. Here are several of the best transportation alternatives for aging parents.

Friends and Family

The easiest, safest, and most affordable way to help seniors get around is to get friends and family members to drive. 

Schedule regular rides to the stores, park, library, doctor's appointments, or wherever they need to go. You and your family members may not always be available to drive, but that's why setting a schedule can help everyone plan ahead and foresee trips. 

Setting a schedule in advance also helps maintain communication lines. It gives your parents something to look forward to rather than wondering what will happen or feeling like nothing is happening. If your parents have disabilities, you may need to make adjustments to your vehicle, but you'll both appreciate the extra time you'll get to spend together.

Volunteer Transportation Programs

If your parents regularly attend or used to attend a house of worship, contact them and see if they offer a volunteer transportation program (VTP). VTPs involve fellow congregants who offer free rides. Your parents probably already have a connection with the church, synagogue, mosque, or temple and may even know the drivers. 

The range of rides offered may be limited to trips to the store, shopping mall, doctors, etc., and will likely need to be scheduled rather than available anytime. Still, again, the convenience and ability to look forward to a planned outing is crucial for one's mental health.

Paratransit

Public transportation seems like a clear choice when discussing the best transportation alternatives for aging parents. But if they cannot use or access public transportation because they're in a wheelchair or the like, paratransit lets them reserve a ride on an ADA-friendly shuttle bus. 

Paratransit may be offered by the public transit system in your parents' town. Rides are usually reserved in advance, and the shuttle is generally shared with other individuals in similar circumstances. 

Call your municipal or regional transportation authority, township or county office and see about the availability of paratransit.

An easy way to discover if these public transportation options are available is to call your county's Area Agency on Aging. They will be happy to direct you to the right agency.

Ridesharing

Most people are familiar with Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services. Their convenience makes their attendant costs worth it. For parents who are cautious about ride-sharing or need a little more help getting around, you or they can contact services like GoGoGrandparent, Arrive, and other senior-friendly services that work with the bigger ride-share companies. 

These services ensure vehicles that can store walkers and foldable wheelchairs, monitor and screen drivers for safety, and provide you with notifications about your parents' ride.

NEMT - Paratransit

Some companies offer non-emergency medical transportation that is sometimes covered by a person's insurance. If your elderly Mom or Dad needs to go to the doctor or have testing at a hospital, they can provide an appropriate vehicle to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, or even a stretcher.

Be sure to check with your parent's health insurance (for those 65+ their Medicare Supplement) to see if the plan covers NEMT.

Taxis

Don't forget the taxi! Some cities require locally licensed taxi fleets to include accessible vehicles. In some communities, they offer taxi vouchers for older and disabled riders.

If your parents have in-home caregivers, they may also be able to provide basic transportation to doctor's appointments and other personal transportation needs. Not every caregiver or agency will offer this, so be sure to ask. 

One advantage of the in-home caregiver providing the basic transportation is they know your parent and their needs. They already have emergency contacts and know what to do if something happens in transit.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

There is a level of anxiety when you have a loved one getting older and needing attention. Changes in health, body, and mind often lead to the need for long-term health care services. These costs are generally not paid for by health insurance and Medicare. The costs continue to grow every year, putting savings at risk and changing lifestyles.

Family caregivers face enormous challenges as the job is physically and emotionally demanding. Do you want your children to become your caregivers in the decades ahead? Remember, they will have careers, families, and responsibilities. 

The solution is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. You will have guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care, including in-home care. However, you need to enjoy reasonably good health when you apply for coverage, so be sure to plan in your 40s and 50s when premiums are low, and your health is best. 

LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator and Other Tools

Your research should include finding the current and future cost of long-term care services in the area you live – or plan on living in the future. Use the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator by clicking here.

Other research tools are available, including the Ultimate Long-Term Care Insurance Guide. Review the guide by clicking here.

Seek Help of a Qualified LTC Specialist

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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Need Help Now for Mom or Dad?

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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