Over 8 million elderly Americans rely on someone else for their transportation needs, including many in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Metropolitan areas. For seniors that live alone, not being able to get out and socialize, go to the store, or make it to medical appointments can diminish their quality of life and place their independence at risk. Thankfully, there are several reliable transportation options for aging in place seniors that are designed to keep them happier, healthier, and more self-sufficient.
Transportation Challenges Seniors Face
Older adults who do not have access to dependable transportation tend to give up their freedom and independence faster than seniors who do. In most cases those seniors then end up living out the rest of their lives in a long-term care facility or a relative’s home.
In general, these are some of the transportation challenges that the elderly face:
- Mobility. Boarding a bus, crossing a busy street, or negotiating steep hills can all be difficult and dangerous for a senior who uses a scooter, walker or wheelchair.
- Driving restrictions. Operating a motor vehicle takes good vision, quick reflexes, and flexibility, all of which can be affected by the aging process.
- Logistics. Many aging adults that no longer drive rely on public transportation. But living too far away from transportation routes can make getting around nearly impossible unless other safe and accessible modes of transportation are available.
- Scheduling. To avoid rush hour periods many seniors schedule their medical appointments and errands during the day. But that’s usually when most of their family members are working or public transportation services are limited.
Getting Seniors Around Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Metropolitan Areas
If you’re currently looking after an elderly loved one, here are some of the safest, most reliable ways to get them where they need to be:
The Senior MedExpress program provides eligible DC residents, age 60+, with a certified medical condition free round-trip transportation to essential medical appointments such as chemotherapy or dialysis, or to health-related public benefits appointments for DDS, Medicaid (DHS ESA sites), or SNAP.
Transport DC provides an alternative to paratransit transportation service for eligible MetroAccess customers who are residents of Washington, DC. Transport DC provides $5 taxi cab rides to and from any location in DC — without location restrictions — from the 1st of month through the 15th. For the remainder of the month, transportation is restricted to employment and medical treatment locations only.
SeniorNavigator is a free, online directory for Virginia seniors and their families which provides information on public and private transportation services to get you or your loved one where they need to go safely and affordably.
Uber and Lyft
Ride-sharing transportation services through Uber and Lyft are also available to seniors. If a ride-sharing service would benefit your senior, you can download the Uber or Lyft app right to their smartphone so they can schedule rides as needed.
What’s nice about these ride-sharing services is that they will send a picture of the driver to your loved one’s phone prior to their arrival, along with the fact they conduct criminal and driving background checks on all their drivers beforehand. The downside to using Uber or Lyft is that they can be costly, especially for a senior on a limited budget.
Some locations in Maryland and Virginia, particularly rural counties may have limited public transportation. Look for your city or county government web page for more local transportation information.
A Trusted Source for Senior Care
Help At Home’s team will give you peace of mind, beginning with your very first phone call! We understand that no two situations are the same, so we will take the time to get to know you and your individual needs.
When you contact Help At Home, we will answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. We will learn about your preferences and work to match you with one of our caregivers. Contact us today to discuss your needs or to schedule a free in-home assessment.