How To Find Drivers For The Elderly

Nate Birt

Written by Nate Birt on Mon Nov 21 2022.

How To Find Drivers For The Elderly

As your loved one ages, there might be times when they need help getting to and from a doctor’s appointment, the grocery store or another destination. In some cases, they might decide to stop driving for health or safety reasons. Whatever your loved one’s driving situation, it’s important to know how to find drivers for the elderly. This will give you peace of mind and help the seniors you care about maintain their independence. 

What kinds of drivers for the elderly are available? 

Many options are available to transport your loved one safely to their destination. By learning more about each, you and your family will be able to decide which work best for you. Some common examples include:

  • Faith-based or nonprofit service organizations: In many communities, churches, synagogues or nonprofit groups provide no- or low-cost options for transporting seniors. Some might require a donation. Because these organizations generally have only a few buses or other vehicles for transportation, they can get booked quickly. This option might require you and your loved one to plan future outings further in advance than other transportation choices. Online resources such as GreatNonprofits.org let you learn about such transportation assistance nonprofits and read reviews.

  • In-home care providers: If your loved one uses in-home care, their provider might offer transportation services for an additional fee. In some cases, seniors might already pay for this service as part of an existing agreement. The benefits of this option include working with an organization your loved one already trusts and with whom they have a relationship.  

  • Paratransit systems: The role of a paratransit system is to provide an added layer of transportation support for seniors with disabilities, compared to conventional public transit options. Services generally are located near existing bus routes and rail stations. They generally include vans with accommodations such as wheelchair lifts and other features for people with special needs. To qualify to ride on the paratransit system, your loved one might need to complete an application, attend an in-person interview or take other steps required in your local area. More paratransit information is available from the Federal Transit Administration’s National Aging and Disability Transportation Center.

  • Public transportation: This includes your loved one’s local transit services including buses, light rail and subways, among other modes of transportation. Federal law requires vehicles to have a certain level of accommodation for seniors and people with disabilities. You can travel these public transit routes for yourself or talk with others in your community to understand whether they are well maintained and a good fit for your loved one. This mode of transportation requires your loved one to know the routes available to them. They will need correct change or a card pre-loaded with money. They will want to arrive at the bus or subway station early enough to board the vehicle and get to their destination on time.

  • Ride-share businesses: Companies such as Lyft and Uber can often provide drivers for the elderly. Some vehicles might be easier for seniors to get into and out of than others. Alternatively, services such as GoGoGrandparent allow your loved one to simply place a call and secure trusted Lyft or Uber drivers with the help of a third party. Rideshare tends to be easier to access in urban areas with dense populations, though these services are becoming more common in less populated rural areas.

  • Taxi companies: Private companies that operate taxis can be a great fit in any U.S. community. Like ride-share businesses, taxi services generally operate cars that can take your loved one to and from their destination. They are required by law to post their rates and to provide a safe environment for passengers. 

The good news for your loved one is that more and more options are becoming available every day for transportation support. As a caretaker, you can help by doing a little homework, understanding options available to your loved one and discussing which make the most sense.

How much do drivers for the elderly cost? 

Transportation costs vary quite a bit from one location to the next. It’s a good idea to research costs for drivers for the elderly in your loved one’s neighborhood. For example, you might take steps such as:

  • Pull up local bus, light rail or subway schedules and study the fees they list. You can also call their hotline to get a sense of how much a monthly pass might cost. Alternatively, some public transit systems let you pay for a set number of rides at a fixed cost.

  • Download the Lyft or Uber app on your loved one’s phone and see what local drivers are charging for rides. Accompany your loved one on a ride to see what the experience is like and determine whether it’s a good fit for future transportation needs.

  • Find and contact your local Area Agency on Aging. These organizations help seniors locate information and resources they need to maintain independence and a high quality of life. They can refer you to faith-based groups and nonprofits that might have transportation services, along with details on rates. 

You might also find it’s helpful to visit with your loved one’s friends who use transportation services. Are they comfortable sharing how much they pay? Can they recommend trusted local organizations? Even a local library or your loved one’s neighborhood senior center could provide valuable perspective on transportation costs. These kinds of insights won’t cost you anything, and they can help you get practical answers from people who know the community best.

Will Medicare or Medicaid cover drivers for the elderly? 

If your loved one gets Medicare benefits, there are limited options for drivers for the elderly. Medicare Part B typically only helps cover emergency transportation, such as an ambulance ride to receive hospital care or treatment from skilled nurses. There are a few other coverage exceptions, such as for seniors who have a doctor’s note stating transportation services are required for medical reasons.

Seniors who receive Medicaid benefits have a few more options to get transportation expenses covered, including travel to and from doctor’s visits. You can find more Medicaid transportation information online. Keep in mind your loved one will need to schedule pickup in advance and might share their ride with others. Other factors will depend on the rules your loved one’s state follows as well as availability of local rides.

How can caregivers support their loved ones seeking drivers for the elderly? 

The most important thing you can do as a caregiver is to help your loved one find drivers for the elderly that best meet their needs. You can encourage them by seeking options that help them retain independence. This means locating services that will be courteous to your loved one and that can get them safely to their destination in a timely way. You can read up on affordable transportation options as well as on mobility and transportation products that can help your loved one. Some services will even let you ride alongside your loved one. Learn about the possibilities, then sit down with your loved one to put a plan in place to best meet their transportation needs. You can update the plan at any time as your loved one’s circumstances change.

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Nate Birt
Nate Birt

Nate Birt is the founder of Silver Maple Strategies, a consulting company that provides premium encouragement and communications solutions to help social purpose leaders make a lasting impact in harmony with their personal values. A University of Missouri journalism graduate, author and public speaker, Nate and his wife, Julie, live with their four children on a small farm in northeastern Missouri.