Senior transportation. There comes a time when many of us would rather not drive.
Many seniors give up driving at night. Others no longer take their car on long trips. Most of us can manage quite well make such small adjustments. But changes in vision, in over all health or our ability to deal with traffic can bring us to the point of 'hanging up the keys'. But real problems loom - imagine not driving at all! especially if you live in the suburbs or country.
Sometimes we feel a change is coming. Other times someone else, children or friends, raise the idea to us. It helps if we being to think about 'how will I get around' LONG BEFORE it is 'time to hang up the keys'.
So, what are your options for Senior transportation? Seniors who are no longer driving but who want to be able to 'get out and abut' need to know what is available in their community. Here are some things to check on now....before you need them.
- Public transportation If you live in or near a city, you may have public transportation - buses, trains etc. Find out the routes, times and costs. Take a few 'trial runs' so you be experienced and confident when you really need them.
- Senior Transportation - Special Senior bus Some towns and rural counties offer a Senior Citizen bus or a 'dial a bus'. These often have 'regular runs' for shopping and they pick up seniors who have called ahead to schedule a pick up. Some also take you to the doctors or other appointments if you call ahead and reserve a place. In many areas, seniors meet new people and sometimes make new friends by taking the Senior Bus. Find out what is available, what you need to do to use the bus. Again, try it a few times.
- Taxis can get expensive but there are many seniors who do a 'group ride'. The driver picks each person up at her home and then they 'split the cost' as well as the tip. Talk to friends or neighbors. See if you can find some who would be interested. Then contact the taxis company and talk to them about sharing rides as well as costs. Be sure to be clear about the costs ahead of time. You do not want a driver expecting that EACH person would pay the full fare.
- A neighbor, friend or relative This is one of the most common solutions. Someone stops by and picks you up when she is going shopping or to the movies. You need not 'stick together' when you arrive at your destination but you do decide what time you will leave and where you will meet.
And given the price of gas, it becomes important to 'pay your way'. In the beginning your driver may say, "Oh, no - let me do this. It is no problem." But over time the miles add up. If you can not come to some financial arrangement, you can always buy a gas gift card two or three times a year. Drop in an envelope with a thank you note.
- Senior Services Programs that offer Senior Transportation and other services to make it possible to 'Age in Place'. Towns such the Town of Montgomery and the Town of Newburgh (both in New York) have created Friends of Seniors programs in which volunteers provide services that allow seniors to 'Age in Place'. Transportation is one of those services. If your town or city does not have such a program, it might be worth asking local government or a social service agency to consider establishing one.
- Senior Transportation - Driver services. Knowing that transportation is a key element in quality of life areas are experimenting with an innovative program that provides drivers for Seniors. What is different about this program is that those seniors who are giving up driving turn their car over to the non-profit group and get 'transportation credits' for the car. How much depends on the current value of the car.
With this program a senior gets car/taxi service butdoes NOT having to use their cash to pay for their transportation until they 'use up' all the creditthey obtained when they gave their car.
For a senior with a late model auto in good condition, they could be getting full transportation for many years before they paying out of pocket. Meantime the service providers have a fleet of comfortable cars. This is a new concept but it appears to have so many pluses that it might catch on.
- Hire a driver A note Driver Wanted for Local trips posted at a senior center or local religious organization willoften result in several inquiries. New retirees are often glad to drive and earning a few extra dollars really helps.Of course you need to check some references, valid drivers license and find out about any accidents in the last 5 years.
- Finally, the need for transportation is a BIG reasons hy some seniors begin to investigate alternative housing: renting in a senior citizen apartment, buying into a continuing care facilities etc.
One of the best places to start looking for Senior Transportation Services is to call your local Office of the Aging or Town or City Hall.
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