Driving is often seen as freedom, allowing almost unlimited movement anywhere there’s a road. According to federal agencies, more than 228 million Americans are licensed to drive, and seniors ages 65 and over account for 45 million of them, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
But there may come a time when older drivers, for various reasons, may need to give up the keys. When that happens, seniors don’t have to be stranded without transportation options.
From ride shares to public transportation, there are a number of senior transportation services and other ways seniors can get around. Here is a look at senior drivers, key services available to seniors who no longer drive, what to know about them and how to get rides for seniors.
Seniors, Driving and When To Stop
According to AAA, about 85%-90% of seniors over 65 will be licensed to drive by 2030. It says seniors are outliving their ability to drive by 7-10 years.
The stereotype of a reckless senior behind the wheel doesn’t seem to hold up. AAA says senior drivers are among the safest on the road for three reasons:
- They don’t drink and drive
- They observe speed limits
- They wear safety belts
But older Americans are more likely to be injured or killed in a crash because of their fragility. Also, age-related changes to eyesight and reaction time also are indicators that it may be time to quit driving.
However, giving up driving can make it harder to attend social events, make doctor’s appointments, shop for necessities or visit family. That can increase isolation, which is a bad thing for senior health and well-being.
Here are ride services for seniors that let them give up driving but still keep their mobility and socialization.
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Senior Transportation Services and Providers
There are a number of different free and paid transportation services for senior citizens. Here are some of the key categories and options within each category.
Traditional Transportation Options
These services can be free or low cost and usually have to be booked 24 hours in advance. Check on availability with your local Area Agency on Aging to find options near you. You can also check with the Eldercare Locator online or by calling 800-677-1116.
Volunteer transportation services are sometimes available locally from non-profit and faith-based programs. Call 211 locally to be connected to information and get referrals to health and human services and other social assistance programs, or go to 211.org.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation
This option, known as NEMT, is a benefit that provides rides for seniors to medical appointments. Check with Medicaid or with your private insurance or Medicaid Advantage plan to find out details of your coverage.
Take advantage of public transportation, which can be low-cost or discounted for seniors. Check locally to find out details, schedules, fares and more.
This is a concierge service that helps seniors connect with ride services like Lyft and Uber. It also can help them arrange deliveries of groceries, medicines or meals. The service works on conventional phones, which may be more convenient for seniors who don’t have or aren’t comfortable with smartphones. Go to the GoGoGrandparent website or call 1-855-464-6872,
This is a very popular ride-hailing service for a charge. You can arrange a ride with the Lyft app on your smartphone or go to the Lyft website.
This service is focused on giving rides to seniors. Go to the SilverRide website to schedule a ride, email a reservation request at email@example.com or call 415-861-RIDE (7433). Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
This is the other of the Big 2 ride-hailing services, along with Lyft. Uber can be hailed from an app or the Uber website.
Via is a carpooling service in a limited number of cities. Some medical practices offer connections to rides on Via. Find out more about what cities are offered and pricing on the Via website.
How to Find Driving Services for Seniors
There are always new services popping up for seniors to use. Here are a few ways to keep up with your options.
The 211 phone code connects callers to information and referrals for health and social services in their community. This includes transportation and other support for seniors. Visit the 211.org website for more information or call 211.
The Eldercare Locator website connects seniors and their families to services including transportation. You can also call 1-800-677-1116.
Find Out About Transportation at Senior Lifestyle
Residents at Senior Lifestyle communities are provided transportation to doctor’s visits, shopping excursions, group events and more. Safety and security of our residents is important to us. Read more about “How Senior Living Communities Provide Safety.”
Contact us today to find out more about senior communities and what they can provide you.