One main, definitive facet of being “independent” is the retention of one’s ability to get from one place to another by his or her-own self. In other words, losing the ability to get around or be mobile is akin to losing one’s independence- it is vital for self-sufficiency and a cornerstone for well-being. However, as people get older, their ability to get from one place to another begins to diminish, whether it is by walking or by driving.
Walking becomes hard in old age as our bodies begin to simply get older and function at less-than-optimal levels, with a good number of seniors succumbing to the effects of arthritis, lost muscle mass, and the like. And as eyesight begins to wane and reaction times start to get longer, driving will become more and more of a hazardous option for transportation. Whatever the case may be, as we enter old age we will either become unwilling or unable to effectively get around by ourselves.
Thankfully, there are many transportation options these days, at both the community and private levels that are available for seniors to use so that they can remain as mobile as they need to be. Many seniors nowadays use at least one or a combination of the following to meet their everyday transportation needs:
- Family Members – Of all transportation options, this is perhaps the most comfortable and most desirable for seniors since this option is usually free and includes drivers that the senior already knows and trusts
- Religions Organizations & their Volunteers – There are many churches, synagogues, and other religious organizations that provide transportation services through volunteers for seniors that live in the area and need to run errands, go to a doctor’s appointment, etc.
- Senior Vans & Buses – Many communities these days offer low-cost-and at times, free- transportation options such as senior vans and buses that are able to take seniors to the grocery store, community centers, and the like. Although this option may be less flexible in terms of scheduling transportation times, it provides seniors opportunities to socialize with their peers that they may not otherwise have.
- Home Care Aides – Although the main purpose of a home care aide is to provide caregiver services to seniors in their own homes, many home care agencies these days provide the option for transportation services for seniors through their individual home care aide employees. If this option sounds attractive, one should take care to make sure that the home care agency that will be providing transportation runs background and driving record checks on all their employees who will be given the responsibility of driving seniors
- Public Transportation – Almost all public transportation options these days carry reduced-rate fares for their senior citizen passengers. You should ask your local transportation office or department about how to get reduced-rates for seniors as well as which options and routes provide services for seniors who have wheelchairs, are handicapped, or have other special needs.
- Taxis – Although taxis may be a somewhat expensive option, it is one of the more convenient options since a taxi will take you where you need to go and back without any of the personally unnecessary stops that are characteristic of public transportation
- Private driving companies or private drivers – Most seniors will likely not be able to afford this option, however, this option has most flexibility and accommodations
Although losing one’s sense of independence through the loss of self-sufficient mobility will likely be difficult to accept and deal with at the beginning, with a bit of creativity and research, you will be able to find alternative modes of transportation that will allow you to still perform the tasks and chores that you need to do each and every day.