The French novelist Victor Hugo once wrote, “When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”
Hugo himself lived to be 83, so he knew a little something about life in the golden years. (And in the 1800’s, living to 83 was a pretty big accomplishment.)
The number of elders living in America is growing dramatically with each passing year. The US Census Bureau predicts that by 2050, the population of people over 65 will more than double, reaching 80 million.
Being a senior citizen in America has its challenges, but there are also a lot of good options for getting the support you need.
One particular challenge that many senior citizens face is navigating how to get to and from appointments, once they can no longer drive.
Making the decision that it’s time to hang up your car keys is a very personal and difficult choice on its own. You don’t need the added stress of not knowing where your next ride is going to come from.
Keep reading to learn about some great options for senior citizen transport needs.
- Transportation Services Provided by Your County
The first thing that any senior citizen in need of transportation should do is check with their local government. Many counties provide affordable and even free transportation services to seniors in their area.
The Older Americans Act (OAA) was passed in 1973 and provides funding for a wide range of services designed to improve senior citizen’s overall quality of life. There are more than 600 different Area Agencies on Aging across the US, which are funded by OAA.
The Department of Health and Human Services has an online Eldercare locator where you can enter your city or zip code to find out what services are available in your area.
Ridesharing apps have become a common mode of transportation for many Americans, with more than 50% of the population using them regularly.
Lyft and other ridesharing apps work by placing a request through your smartphone, which dispatches an available driver to your location.
In recent years, Lyft has been working hard to make their services more user-friendly for seniors, by teaming up with other partners who can interact with Lyft on the client’s behalf.
The other big competitor of Lyft is Uber, another popular ridesharing app. Uber is also working to step up their game in terms of the services they provide to seniors.
In 2015, Uber started a program in Gainesville, Florida, where they basically trained groups of seniors living in two different communities how to operate the app. The program eventually spread throughout the wider Gainesville area.
The company also offers uberASSIST services, which provide vehicles that can accommodate wheelchairs and supply drivers who are trained in helping people with mobility issues.
Uber drivers are also encouraged to provide water for their passengers, so you don’t have to worry about dehydration.
- Go Go Grandparent
For those who don’t even own a smartphone, and don’t intend to anytime soon, there’s Go Go Grandparent.
Go Go Grandparent was started in Los Angeles by a young man who was using his own phone to schedule Lyft and Uber rides for his grandmother. He did such a good job that she started lending his services out to all of her friends. Pretty soon he realized he needed to make a business out of it.
Now, Go Go Grandparent is staffed by “professional grandchildren” whom you can contact by phone to help set up rides for you.
- Liberty Mobility Now
There are many rural areas in the United States where no public transportation is available and where there are no Lyft or Uber drivers to pick you up.
Liberty Mobility Now is working to fill in the transportation gaps, so that even seniors living in remote areas can get to and from the places they need to go. Their drivers are specially trained to be accommodating to senior’s needs.
Liberty Mobility Now is based out of Lincoln, Nebraska and offers services in Texas, South Dakota, Colorado, Ohio, Missouri, and Virginia.
- National Volunteer Transportation Center
The National Volunteer Transportation Center was started in 2014 as a way for people to give back to their community by providing rides to people in need, particularly to children and the elderly.
Whether or not there are volunteers in your area will depend on which city and state you live in.
The National Volunteer Transportation Center has an interactive map which lets you see exactly how many volunteers are in your state, and how you can get in touch with them.
- Public Transportation
Many cities provide bus and train fare at discounted rates for senior citizens, so it’s definitely worth exploring what public transportation options are available in your area.
All public transportation is required to be wheelchair accessible, so that can be helpful for people with mobility issues.
And riding the train or taking the bus can be a great way to meet other people who live in your neighborhood that you might not have met otherwise.
- Hire a Caregiver
One of the safest and most dependable types of transportation comes in the form of a home care provider, also known as a caregiver.
Caregivers offer a wide range of services, both in your home and out in the community, and providing reliable transportation is one of them. You can rest easy knowing exactly who is coming to pick you up, and that they will be there next week, and the week after that.
For those who want to continue living in their own home, but need that extra level of support, hiring a caregiver can be the perfect solution.
Senior Citizen Transport Can Be a Piece of Cake
Now that you know more about the senior citizen transport options out there, hopefully there is one (or more) that seem like the right fit for you.