Transportation Services for Seniors and Elderly
Did you know senior drivers are at an increased risk of being involved in a fatal car accident? Whether they have lost mobility, or are unable to drive, transportation services play a vital role in ensuring the safety of elderly people, while also allowing them to maintain their independence.
How Do Senior Citizens Get Around?
Seniors may utilize multiple modes of transportation to get around. The type of transportation a senior may need will depend on individual circumstances. Here are a few questions you may want to ask before selecting a transportation service:
- Where is the final destination?
- Can the senior walk a distance, or do they need door to door service?
- Would the senior like to be transported while seated in a mobility aid, like a wheelchair?
What are Options for Senior Transportation?
Once you answer the above questions, you’ll want to consider a transportation service. There are multiple senior transportation services to choose from.
Public Transportation for Seniors and Elderly
Public transportation is a great option for seniors who are looking for budget-friendly transportation. All public transportation should be wheelchair accessible, so seniors who use mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs should not have to worry about steps or transfers. Public transportation follows a fixed route, so it may not be ideal for seniors who cannot walk long distances, like from a bus stop to a final destination.
Rideshare Services and Taxis for Seniors and Elderly
Unlike public transportation, rideshare services and taxis follow a direct route, offering door-to-door service, so they may be ideal for seniors who cannot walk long distances. Keep in mind that not all rideshare vehicles and taxis are accessible, so a senior may need to transfer out of their wheelchair, or step into a vehicle. If you need a wheelchair accessible rideshare or taxi, plan ahead to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation for Seniors and Elderly
As the name suggests, non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) is for non-emergent medical purposes. This service provides transportation services to medical appointments for seniors. Those who utilize Medicaid may qualify for free NEMT rides. Speak with a local healthcare provider, Medicaid company, or a local transportation service to determine if you qualify for a free ride. Non-emergency medical transportation should not be used for non-medical purposes, like running weekly errands, and it should not be used in medical emergencies. If a senior has a medical emergency, an emergency medical service, like an ambulance, should be called.
How Do People Who Can’t Drive Get Around?
While some people believe that age determines driving ability, this is not always true. Certified driver rehabilitation specialists (CDRS) frequently work with elderly individuals, including those who have experienced strokes or those who face mobility challenges. CDRS’ specialize in driver rehabilitation and can help senior drivers determine what transportation options and vehicle modifications fit a senior’s needs.
Vehicle Modifications for Seniors and Elderly
As people age, loss of mobility can be common, and getting in and out of a vehicle can become a challenge. For seniors with mobility impairments, a wheelchair accessible vehicle and adaptive vehicle modifications may be ideal, however, some temporary vehicle modifications can quickly and easily make cars more accessible.
Assist Bars and Assist Straps
Assist bars and assist straps aid seniors who need extra support when entering or exiting a vehicle. Seniors can bare weight on these devices upon entry and exit, however, be cautious of weight limits with these devices. Assist bars and straps are removable and temporary, so they may be ideal for family members who transport loved ones on occasion. For seniors who need more permanent transportation options, one of the vehicle modifications listed below may be ideal.
Accessible Vehicles for Seniors and Elderly
Wheelchair accessible vehicles are a great option for seniors who use mobility aids. Wheelchair vans are fit with ramps, providing step free access in and out of a vehicle. Vehicle ramps can be powered or manual and come in side-entry and rear entry options. Side entry ramps are best for seniors who will be driving or riding in the passenger’s seat. Rear entry ramps are ideal for those who will not utilize the vehicle’s front seats. For seniors with mobility impairments, a powered vehicle ramp may be ideal, as these ramps eliminate the need to manually stow and deploy a ramp, however, manual ramps can be a more budget friendly option, depending on your needs.
How do you transfer an elderly person from a wheelchair to a car?
Transferring an elderly person from a wheelchair to a car requires careful planning and consideration to ensure their safety and comfort throughout the process. It is important to note that the transfer technique and equipment used may vary depending on the individual's abilities, their weight-bearing capacity, and any physical limitations they may have. It is recommended to consult with healthcare professionals, occupational therapists, or mobility specialists who can provide personalized guidance and recommend specific techniques and equipment for safe and effective transfers based on the elderly person's specific needs and abilities. Utilizing adaptive equipment like a swivel seat can assist in the safety of the transfer in and out of a car, minivan, SUV or Truck.
Vehicle Swivel Car Seats Help Seniors and Elderly In and Out of Vehicles
For seniors who require assistance transferring in and out of a vehicle, a swivel car seat, like the Turny Evo, or the Turny Manual swivel car seat are great options. The Turny Evo is a powered option, which rotates, and moves outside the vehicle to make getting in and out easier. The Turny Manual swivel car seat can be manually rotated to make vehicle entry and exit easier. There are multiple vehicle seating products to choose from, so be sure to contact a product specialist to find the seating solution that fits your needs
All BraunAbility wheelchair accessible vehicles come standard with manual wheelchair securement tiedowns. These can be used to secure seniors who would like to remain in their wheelchair during transport. If a senior will be driving from their wheelchair, an automatic locking system will need to be installed. Unoccupied wheelchair restraints can also be added to a vehicle for seniors who would prefer to sit in a car seat, and keep their wheelchair secured, but unoccupied during transport. The wheelchair securement system you choose will be unique to your wants and needs. Contact a mobility dealer to find out more about wheelchair securement options.
Adaptive Driving Controls
Adaptive driving controls are often used by senior drivers, and particularly, senior drivers who have experienced a stroke. Strokes can impact mobility, and cause paralysis, so adaptive driving controls may be used to allow a senior to continue driving. There are multiple types of adaptive driving controls, so you’ll want to speak to a certified driver rehabilitation specialist to determine which adaptive driving controls are right for you.
Transporting seniors can be a complex process, but your local mobility dealer is here to help. Contact a mobility dealer today, and check out the related articles below to learn more about transporting seniors.