My Elderly Parents Need Help with Transportation

Try home care, your local AAA, and your county health department.

By Clare Absher RN, BSN  

  Need help finding care?

Caregiver helps elderly woman get into car

  Need help finding care?

Finding transportation can be challenging when Mom or Dad or both need help with driving to doctor appointments, shopping trips to the grocery, pharmacy and other local errands. It is often difficult for well-meaning but busy families with demanding schedules to find time to transport their elderly parents. Therefore it is practical if not essential to find alternate solutions for transporting seniors who are no longer able to drive themselves. Identifying and making use of resources in the community for transportation can enable your parents and elderly loved ones to remain at home and age in place.

Begin by looking at the big picture in regards to whether transportation is the only need of your elderly parents. It is possible if not probable that your aging mom or dad actually has needs that require additional caregiving assistance. While some seniors get around well and manage daily activities including personal care it is feasible that other needs such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and medication assistance are neglected. It is important to make this overall assessment in order to accurately determine what remedy might be best to accommodate your elderly folks.

Hiring an in-home caregiver through a local homecare Agency might be the most practical solution when there are care needs in addition to transportation. For example your mother might benefit from an in-home caregiver doing some light housekeeping, laundry, followed by a shopping trip to buy her groceries. In another scenario an in-home caregiver might drive your father to a doctor appointment, pick up his prescriptions, and prepare him a hot meal during the same visit. Also don’t overlook the likelihood that your parent might enjoy the companionship of a caregiver as well as securing necessary transportation. Companion services can encompass dining at a favorite restaurant, taking in a movie, visiting a local cultural event, or even just a simple walk.

One approach is to schedule an in-home caregiver for a weekly or bi-weekly visit for a period of 3-4 hours that includes extra caregiving services along with transportation. Be aware that many Homecare Agencies have minimum service time frames of 3-4 hour blocks due to travel demands imposed on their caregivers. However when possible attempt to locate agencies in your area that offer minimum time intervals of two hours or less when a parent’s sole need is transportation. If such agencies are unavailable strategically maximize caregiver time by combining appointments, shopping, and errands.

Another source for transporting your parents can be found by contacting your local chapter Area Agency on Aging. In some communities the Area Agency on Aging can arrange, monitor, and refer you to support programs that provide transportation for the elderly. These programs are affordable and therefore are a practical means to help meet transportation needs. Contact your local chapter to explore what transportation services might be available for parents in their community.

Sometimes a simple call to your county health or social services department can provide some valuable information on local transportation programs. Your town might also fund an affordable program similar to a taxi cab service or van bus to take residents to local appointments. Also be sure to contact local Senior Centers and Adult Daycare who are familiar with transportation resources in the community.

Clare Absher RN BSN

About the Author

Clare Absher is a Registered Nurse with 44 years of experience. Most of her experience is in home health serving as a caregiver, educator, patient advocate, and liaison between families and community resources. She has also worked in acute care, assisted living, and retirement settings. She is passionate about helping families care for their elderly loved ones at home.

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