Best Practices: Transportation
Transportation continues to be one of the top-rated concerns among both caregivers and older adults. Access to affordable transportation that accommodates mobility differences is paramount.
Older adults who are no longer able to drive rely on informal support systems to meet their needs. Lack of effective transportation correlates to a higher level of reported depressive symptoms. These effects disproportionately affect marginalized populations. In one study contrasting former drivers with those who had never been drivers, the “never drivers” were more likely to be female, racial/ethnic minorities, especially Hispanic, foreign-born, unmarried, living with others, to have lower education, and to never have worked outside the home. The study further recommended the development of public and paratransit transportation, supplemental senior transportation, and increasing informal caregivers’ ability to aid older adults (Choi, 2016).
The Caregiver Friendly Communities Assessment scored this domain on the following factors: availability of a variety of types of transportation, affordability of transportation options, and existence of transportation coordination services.
- Work with local nonprofit and municipal organizations to offer free and low-cost transportation for older adults – for medical and non-medical appointments and that can accommodate disabled riders.
- Collaborate with community partners to develop a transportation coordination service.
- Advocate for public transit policies that offer free transportation to caregivers who escort riders on trips for medical appointments and essential shopping.
- Advocate for local sources of funding to support the expansion of senior transportation, including a senior transportation property tax millage or local government general fund appropriations.
- Myride2 is a free service in southeast Michigan that helps older adults and adults with disabilities find transportation resources, continue driving safely, and learn how to use public transportation. Myride2 helps coordinate and schedule transportation services for callers, including finding wheelchair accessible transportation, transportation providers who help getting into homes and buildings or low-cost options. www.myride2.com
- My Ride Dallas is a transportation options counseling program for older adults living in Dallas County. Through a contractual arrangement with ride-sharing service Lyft, rides are provided for participating seniors five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Navigators schedule and monitor rides to assist the many older adults who may not have smart phones they can use to secure their own rides. http://myridedallas.org/