Between your career, family, and other responsibilities, you may not have the time to drive your loved one to his doctor or local grocery store — but turning the keys over to a stranger can feel unnerving. Take a look at some of the questions families ask when considering reliable transportation for seniors. By educating yourself and weighing all the pros and cons of these senior services, you’ll be equipped to make the best decision for your loved one and fully embrace your peace of mind.
How Will I Know My Loved One Is Safe?
Most caregiver agencies see incidental transportation for seniors as a requirement. Before hiring someone, these agencies will run background checks (including driving history) on each potential new hire. This ensures their caregivers can be trusted to drive an older adult to her appointments. In addition, the majority of caregiver agencies view transportation for seniors as an act that goes beyond picking them up and dropping them off. At Home Instead Senior Care of Sarasota, for example, caregivers prepare seniors for transport to appointments and assist them into and out of their cars. These caregivers will help seniors check in for their appointments and, if necessary, stay with them until they’re finished.
These additional measures are benefits that aren’t available through taxi or van services — and caregiver agencies are willing to discuss any potential liability issues with you or your family at any time.
Will Caregivers Be Covered Under My Loved One’s Auto Insurance Policy?
Insurance liability is a major variable in the decision to allow a caregiver to transport an older adult. According to Insurance.com, if the senior who owns a car maintains a standard auto insurance policy, it usually covers the car owner, others in the household listed on the policy, and any occasional drivers.
Car owners are normally licensed drivers, so if a senior intends to give up his driver’s license, instruct him to call the auto insurance agency to confirm that his policy will still cover occasional drivers. Alternatively, the insurance company may permit another person to be listed on the policy as the primary driver.
Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for CarInsurance.com, cautions that some less expensive policies may have additional restrictions on occasional drivers. Since some seniors choose cheaper policies because of their fixed incomes, it’s important that you or your loved one review the fine print on his policy and then talk to an insurance agent before allowing a caregiver to drive him anywhere.
What’s the Best Next Step?
Once you decide on a caregiver, take time to point out important controls within the car, such as seat and mirror adjusters, lights, wipers, defrosters, and any GPS. Make certain that your loved one carries road hazard insurance, such as AAA, in case the car breaks down. Then, once the caregiver has been driving for a short while, follow up with your loved one to ensure that she’s a safe driver. Your loved one’s sense of security will be the best assessment of how a caregiver is doing behind the wheel.
Transportation for seniors is one of the best ways to ensure your loved one’s needs continue to be met when you can’t be there yourself. Armed with this knowledge and a bit of extra research, you and your loved one will be happier, healthier, and ready for the road ahead.