For many seniors, there comes a point when driving safely can be a challenge, whether that is due to vision problems or a slowed reaction time. Transportation alternatives are available in many communities, and these allow for continued independence. At the same time, choosing alternative modes of transportation fosters social interaction and regular activity.
If you’re a senior looking for transportation options, the services available to you depend heavily on where you live. If you live in a city, you may have more options, but many smaller towns have great programs as well.
Alternative Transportation Options
There are a wide variety of ways that communities meet the transportation needs of seniors who no longer drive. Most larger cities have some type of city-sponsored transportation for seniors. This may be reduced bus fares, or it may be a system of accessible vans that operate specifically for this population.
If you don’t have access to public transportation, you may be able to hire a home-care aide for appointments and grocery shopping. The aide can arrive early, help you get ready, accompany you on the trip, and get you settled back in at home when you’re finished. For those who need this extra assistance, it can be worth the cost.
For clubs, churches, and meetings, reach out to others who attend regularly. If one of the members lives in your neighborhood, you can arrange a plan for her to pick you up. If you aren’t comfortable doing this without providing something in return, you can offer a swap: purchase the book club’s reading list for her or buy gas, for example.
Finding Transportation in Your Community
A number of organizations connect seniors with the services they need in their community. These services often include transportation alternatives for seniors who don’t drive. To learn more about the options in your area:
- Call the Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator hotline at 1-800-677-1116. This service can help you find both public services and nonprofit programs for seniors in your community.
- Dial 2-1-1 on your phone. This service number, provided by United Way and the Alliance for Information and Referral Systems, connects you to an operator who can give you information on a wide range of community services, from public transportation to ride-share programs.
- Download the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report on supplemental transportation programs for seniors, including its listing of hundreds of services across the country.
- Visit your local Area Agency on Aging. There is one in almost every community, and they can offer transportation recommendations based on your specific needs.
Giving up your car keys doesn’t have to mean you have to stay at home or depend on family members for a ride everywhere. You can find rides to go grocery shopping, to appointments, and to your favorite social activities with a little research. There are many accessible transportation alternatives for seniors that can help you remain active and independent.