Transportation is more than just driving; it’s all the different ways we move around our communities. – Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN
According to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, almost 600,000 older adults quit driving each year. This makes doctor’s appointments, shopping for needs, visiting relatives, and attending social events more difficult for older adults. As a result, they become more isolated, which has a negative impact on their health and well-being.
One of the most prevalent forms of assistance offered by family members and caregivers is transportation. However, transporting older adults isn’t always convenient or straightforward. For family members and caregivers, transportation is one of the most challenging tasks. According to a 2018 poll by the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC), almost 40% of caregivers spend roughly five hours each week providing or scheduling transportation.
While public transportation is a feasible alternative in many cities, it may be non-existent or limited in rural and suburban areas, where older adults are most likely to live.
To keep older adults healthy and active, This Is Getting Old rounded up our 10-part AARP/ Age-Friendly Social Innovation Challenge with this series’ final episode—Part 10: Transportation.
Stay tuned to learn moonshot—but possible—innovative solutions and transportation options that help older adults get around.
Key points covered in this episode:
✔️ There’s More To Transportation Than Driving.
When we think about transportation, it’s more than just driving; it’s all the different ways we move around our communities. Transportation includes:
- dedicated bike lanes
- public transportation
- safe crosswalks for pedestrians
- smaller transportation options such as taxis, shuttles or rideshare services
- large scale public transportation options such as trains, busses and light rails
✔️Sarah And Her Age-Related Challenges.
Sarah is 69 years young and lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband, who has Parkinson’s. Lately, her eyesight has been failing, making it harder to get things done. She can no longer drive and doesn’t feel safe with so many cars everywhere on the streets. On top of everything, it’s winter, and it gets dark so early.
Sarah doesn’t like to ask people for help or favors, but she had to get herself and her husband to their doctors’ appointments, and it just feels like too much some days. Sarah needs help but doesn’t know how to ask for it.
✔️ It All Starts With Information.
Sarah needs a way to get high quality, vetted, affordable, inclusive, relevant information and supportive connections and services. She needs to feel that she is provided and receives the information and resources to manage her life, including getting where she needs to go and managing caregiving responsibilities. Hence, the group came up with the “Best Information System Ever”—the need is the information piece, and the rest can stem from there.
✔️ “Best Information System Ever” – Diverse And Inclusive Innovative Solution For Older Adult’s Transportation.
What does it do?
- Provides high quality, vetted, affordable, inclusive, relevant information and supportive connections and services. It includes all the resources in the region, all-knowing everything at your fingertips and how it’s connected.
How does it work?
- The program includes all resources (new and existing) in the region; the biggest and best database with continuously updated and vetted information.
- Easy to use (web-based, app-based, and call-in).
- Well crafted; one click or warm transfer by phone (e.g., easy to get to provider website/phone).
- Connects people with people and services (rides to anywhere: grocery stores, senior centers, parks, doctors appointments).
- It will support diversity and inclusion for all users at all income levels and supports all unique needs.
- It includes trained staff who know all the programs across regions, call to next step, volunteer village – sign up for village and get a ride – connect to neighborhoods.
- Includes good triage function.
- Includes quarterly Professional Development for staff on new programs and systems.
- Includes cross-organization buy-in for all regional organizations. The system can process accounts for users and families, and payments and applications for different programs are included in the database.
- The service providers are certified and vetted by appropriate organizations.
✔️More Age-Friendly Transportation-related Resources
You can also check out Episode 70 of this podcast to learn more about Transportation Options for Older Adults and a program called NV Rides.
Or if you have a loved one and wonder if it’s time to take the keys and limit their driving, you can check out Episode 63 titled Alzheimer’s disease and driving: Five signs that it’s time to take the keys.