5 Ways for Seniors to Get Around if They Can’t Drive

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

For seniors with poor vision or reduced coordination skills, driving on their own may no longer be possible. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t get around town via other modes of transportation. Here are five alternative types of transportation seniors can try.

1. Public Transit

Not all seniors have access to high-quality public transit services. For seniors who live in rural or suburban areas, the closest bus stop may be too far away to make this a feasible option. Seniors who live in areas with a well-regulated public transit system should learn to use it. Fixed-route services such as buses, trolleys, and subways may seem intimidating at first. Once seniors learn the best routes and schedules, they may be able to navigate their way to important locations, such as the nearest grocery store and their doctor’s office. Ride with your senior loved one until he or she gets the hang of public transit, and find out if your community’s public transit service offers travel training specifically for seniors. 

Public transit can be a wonderful option for seniors, helping them stay independent and free to travel. Even so, some seniors do need a bit of help with the tasks of everyday life. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust Rhode Island home care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she manages an illness and performs the daily tasks of living.

2. Uber and Lyft

Seniors who are comfortable using smartphones may want to try Uber or Lyft. These ridesharing apps make it easy to find a ride at any time of the day. With a few swipes of the fingers, seniors can find a local driver to pick them up and drive them to their destination. Uber and Lyft can be expensive if used regularly, so seniors on a budget may want to look for a more cost-effective option.

3. Voucher Programs

Seniors with limited income should see if they qualify for local transportation voucher programs. Many areas offer fare assistance programs that allow eligible seniors to use participating transportation services for a reduced price. These services may range from taxi services to public transit services. 

Family caregivers are often the ones who provide transportation for their loved ones. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Rhode Island seniors can depend on.

4. Volunteer Driver Assistance

Many nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations run volunteer driver programs that assist seniors. These programs usually focus on driving seniors to essential destinations such as doctor’s offices and grocery stores. These services are often free, though they sometimes work via donations or membership plans. Seniors usually need to reserve a driver in advance and specify what type of service they need: one-way or round-trip, and one-stop or multi-stop.

5. Paratransit or Curb-to-Curb Service

In addition to fixed-route public transit, many towns and cities offer paratransit transportation services. Designed for seniors and people with limited mobility, these services offer an extra level of assistance. Drivers pull up to the curb or knock on the door, and they usually drive vans or minibuses. The vehicles hold a smaller number of passengers than most forms of public transit, and when needed, seniors can request personalized assistance with getting in and out of the vehicle. Research paratransit options in your area. Some government-run services offer transportation to areas within a certain distance of the fixed routes. If your loved one doesn’t live in an eligible location, look for private curb-to-curb services.

Seniors who aren’t able to drive themselves have several transportation options, so it’s possible for them to maintain their independence when it comes to getting out and about. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Rhode Island families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (401) 284-0979 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.