SENIOR LOOKOUT: No car? Tips for Getting Where You Need to Go | News

Research is continually being conducted to determine the quality of life issues facing older Americans. In addition to the obvious health, safety and money concerns, a regularly reported problem is transportation difficulties.

For some people, the skills required to drive a car safely may deteriorate with age. Loss of sight, slower reflexes and loss of memory can create a situation that requires you to stop driving. It can create a difficult situation for the daily needs and the simple feeling of freedom that we all want.

About 600,000 seniors stop driving each year, according to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The sudden loss of transportation independence can lead to isolation issues and post-isolation medical issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, dementia and even death.

Help with transportation often becomes the responsibility of caregivers. According to a 2018 National Aging and Disability Transportation Center survey, about 40% of caregivers spend five or more hours per week providing or arranging transportation. This need can increase caregiver stress as they juggle their privacy, work and caregiving responsibilities.

Many people are turning to public transport. This can be an affordable option as many services offer a discount for older riders. However, there are factors that make traditional public transport less attractive to non-drivers.

Distance to public transport. In many communities, bus or train services are available, but the pick-up location may be far from the passenger’s home. In addition to the distance, the lack of sidewalks and hilly conditions can make walking to a pickup location difficult or dangerous.

Difficulty getting on a bus. Getting on a bus can be difficult for an elderly person. Kneeling buses or extendable stairs can help in this situation, but the passenger should check beforehand to ensure that the chosen route is served by an accessible vehicle.

Convenience. It is not uncommon to have to take a regular bus / train several hours before your appointment / event or wait for an extended period for a return trip due to limited service.

Unexpected cancellations. Inclement weather and other circumstances may result in the cancellation of a scheduled bus / train.

There are several options for non-drivers to get around their communities and around Cape Ann and the North Coast. With advance planning and patience, getting to a meeting / event can be managed.

The MBTA, CATA, Aging Boards, Veterans Service Agencies, Hospitals, Ambulance Services, Taxi and Rideshare Services, and more, offer a variety of options for those without. -conductors. MBTA and CATA now offer mobile phone apps to help riders plan their trips.

For the transportation of medical appointments, SeniorCare offers a door-to-door escort service for people aged 60 and over, who are self-sufficient, do not require physical assistance, wheelchairs or bottles. oxygen, and reside in SeniorCare’s nine community areas (Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester, Rockport, Topsfield and Wenham). There is no charge for this service, but the passenger is required to pay tolls or parking fees. Depending on the meeting location, three to seven days’ notice is required to use this service. For more information, contact the SeniorCare Transportation Department at 978-281-1750.

SeniorCare has a “Transportation Resource Guide” which is available online at www.seniorcareinc.org/sc_transport.pdf. For those without internet access, a printed guide can be requested from the SeniorCare Transportation Department at 978-281-1750. This manual provides information on transportation options for the nine SeniorCare communities.

With the ever-changing situation created by the pandemic, advance arrangements should always be confirmed a day or two before scheduled transport.

Tracy Arabian is Communications Manager at SeniorCare Inc., a local aging agency serving Gloucester, Beverly, Essex, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Topsfield and Wenham.

Tracy Arabian is Communications Manager at SeniorCare Inc., a local aging agency serving Gloucester, Beverly, Essex, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Topsfield and Wenham.


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