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One of the first changes you may notice in an aging friend or family member is a change in their driving behavior. It may start subtly – maybe you notice new and unexplained scratches on their vehicle or they are starting to avoid driving after dark. At some point, you may need to ask them to stop driving. But you also know that without the ability to drive freely (like to doctor’s appointments, for example), it may become impossible for them to live independently. In all likelihood, you as their friend or caregiver won’t be able to drive every time they need to get somewhere, so let’s explore the potential solutions to this problem. Here are 6 ideas and options for assisted transportation for the elderly.

  1. Senior Public Transport Programs
    Most counties in the United States have public transportation plans designed for the elderly (or those who need door-to-door rides). The best way to find out which programs are in your area is to contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

    The Area Agency on Aging is available by phone from 6am to 5pm PST Monday through Friday at this phone number: 1-800-677-1116. Check their website (linked here) for other ways to get in contact with them.
  2. GoGoGrandparent
    GoGoGrandparent is a service that connects the elderly to the benefits of the gig economy, whether they have a smart phone or not.

    This service is low-cost and makes services like Uber, Doordash, Instacart, and Lyft safer, easier to request, and more convenient to use. GoGoGrandparent is essentially a concierge service that screens drivers to make sure they’re compatible with your loved one’s needs (such as having a large enough vehicle to haul medical gear, for example). In addition, they’ll also help you know when and where your loved one is at all times by sending an alert to your phone when a ride is requested or completed.
  3. Veyo.
    Veyo is a transportation service that partners with select insurance providers to provide Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) to the disabled and elderly.

    According to their website, their “Independent Driver-Providers (IDPs) meet strict healthcare standards and participate in ADA education, CPR certification, and HIPAA, Sensitivity, and Medical Needs training. They undergo drug testing and multi-level background checks to ensure safety and the highest level of quality.”

    Contact your loved one’s insurance provider to see if Veyo is an option for your situation.
  4. ITN America.
    ITN America is a national transport network for seniors. It isn’t available in every county in California, but if it’s in your area, it’s a great option for transport and worth a mention.

    The difference with ITN America and the other options on this list is that they will help your loved one get into and out of their destination, should they need help. It’s an “arm-through-arm, door-through-door service” helping your loved one feel supported by their transportation options, even if they need a little extra assistance.
  5. Local churches or nonprofits.
    This interactive map provides some volunteer organizations and transportation resources within California (and the rest of the country). This list is helpful, but it is by no means exhaustive. There are likely additional local services that are available for you if you know where to look.

    To find some of these volunteer services in your area, consider joining a local in-person or online support group, a local Facebook group for caregivers, or asking your loved one’s care team (doctors and nurses) for recommendations.
  6. Call 211 or check the Rides in Sight Database.
    The 211 phone number is available nationwide for callers to get information and referrals for health and social services in their community. This includes transport for the elderly and may offer some new ideas for how and where to find help in your community.

    In addition, Rides in Sight also offers a free database of transport options to connect you with additional options for these services in your area.

Closing Thoughts

As a caregiver, friend, or family member, you may be happy to provide rides for your elderly loved one. From time to time, however, you may find that you’ve run into a scheduling conflict and are in need a back up plan. We hope you found a new idea for suitable transportation options for the elderly loved one in your life.

If you provide regular care to your loved one, we are here for you. As a caregiver, you’re faced with new challenges every day. The California Caregiver Resource Centers are a network of eleven independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations across California. They were created with you both in mind and at heart to be a free resource as you navigate the challenging role you’re in. We would love to connect you with your local Center, where they can talk more about local programs for caregivers, answer your questions, and explain how they can best support you.

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