Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Transportation Options for the Elderly

When a person is no longer able to drive, the effect of the loss of mobility and freedom can be devastating. In the cases of the elderly, who may have been driving for half a century or more, the loss is often traumatic. The loss of freedom to access and participate in those activities that have been a staple of life for decades can result in stress, depression and a range of other problems, both physical and mental. The effect that this loss of mobility has, is often not noticed by friends and loved ones because the elderly are frequently too stubborn or proud to let others know how it affects them. Hiding the impact and bottling it up inside only makes the problem worse and the depression continues to grow unseen, often till it reaches a breaking point. A frequently asked question is - why can’t the elderly use other forms of transport?

Image Courtesy: Pexels
The Other Options

Public transport would appear to be an option. However, for many seniors, a bus or subway journey is often too much of a strain. Even if they are up for it, the availability is another issue. Studies show that among Americans aged 65 and older, 50% do not have access to public transport. Another study shows that half of those over 65 who do not drive, stay at home on a given day because they do not have transport options. Taxis are another option, but cost and availability, especially for the return trip, makes seniors reluctant to use them. There is always the option of rides with family and friends, but doing this can make the elderly feel dependent on others and increase the depression at the loss of freedom.

The Viable Alternative

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) is often the best transportation option for the elderly. NEMT is not an ambulance service which is meant only for transporting those in need of urgent medical care. NEMT is available to transport the sick, elderly and mobility impaired to places they want or need to go to which are not related to medical emergencies. A professional NEMT company will have trained drivers and specially equipped vehicles to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for seniors and those with mobility issues. This is a safe, convenient and cost-effective way of enabling the elderly to regain their independence and the feeling of freedom that goes with it. The impact that it can have on their attitude and outlook is very positive and in turn, elevates their quality of life.

Finding the Right NEMT

When selecting an NEMT, the first thing to look for is the company’s track record, the range of services, and what other users have to say about it. In particular, check if:
  • If the vehicles are wheelchair and disabled friendly?
  • Is the service door-to-door?
  • Is event standby available?
  • What is the service area?
  • Will the driver help with luggage etc.?
  • What are the service hours?
  • Is there any membership fee?
  • Do rides have to be reserved in advance?
  • Are there discounts available for senior citizens?
With the right NEMT company, the elderly can regain the freedom they had lost and once again have a positive attitude to life.