When driving is no longer an option for older adults, a safe and effective alternative method of transportation is required to get around easily for errands, events, and appointments. There are many factors that can impair seniors’ ability to drive, including poor vision, slow reaction time, and cognitive impairment. In some cases, seniors no longer feel comfortable behind the wheel and would rather avoid the stress of driving.
Many people rely on their vehicles as a primary source of transportation, and after that is no longer an option, it may be a struggle to find a viable replacement. Most people don’t really think about the importance of transportation until it becomes a problem. We rely on transportation not only for getting things done, but also for maintaining contact with the people in out lives. With age, transportation options may become more limited due to health problems and reduced mobility. This can result in stress and anxiety, and even social isolation, if safe and convenient transportation methods are not readily available.
Fortunately, there are an assortment of options that cater directly to seniors in the Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge area.
Helpful Transportation Possibilities for Seniors
There are variety of good options that make it easier for seniors to get around, so they don’t have to stress about getting to important appointments and making sure there is enough food in the fridge.
Some useful means of transportation for seniors, include:
- Public transit
- Uber and taxis
- Friends and family
- Home care agency
Older adults that no longer have the ability or desire to drive may find using public transit to be an affordable and practical alternative. If seniors are mobile enough, and feel comfortable with public transit, it can be a great option for retaining an independent lifestyle without the use of a vehicle. Most cities offer a comprehensive system that covers the entire area with buses, trains, streetcars, or subways. Also, public transit systems are required by law to be wheelchair accessible, and cater to people with disabilities.
However, there are also some drawbacks to public transit that may make it a challenging option for seniors. For instance, it involves getting to the nearest transit stop which may or may not be an easily walkable distance. It also means following schedules which may not be the most reliable, and having to wait outside for public transit to arrive. This may be problematic in colder temperatures or unfavorable weather conditions.
Avoiding public transit during peak hours is a recommended approach.
MobiltyPLUS Grand River Transit
This an excellent option for seniors with impaired mobility, and is available throughout Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge. This service can be attained by getting a GRT (Grand River Transit) photo ID card, and rides can be paid with cash, tickets, or passes. MobilityPLUS uses small bus type vehicles that are easily accessible, and rides are booked in advance either by purchasing tickets at a GRT location or by calling the GRT office. This is a very affordable service.
Uber and Taxis
These options are more expensive, but offer greater convenience as they pick you up and deliver directly to your door, with no stops other than the ones you ask for. You also don’t have to worry about following any schedules, and the cost can be offset by the fact that you are no longer paying for car insurance, gas, and automotive maintenance.
Friends and Family
This is a fantastic option as far as affordability and assistance goes. Plus, it can be a good chance to catch up with people and get a little social activity.
However, this option is not the most dependable as people have lots of things going on in their own busy lives, and may not always be available to help out.
Home Care Agency
When friends and family are not available, the assistance from a local home care agency can be an excellent substitute. The benefits of using a home care agency for transportation go far beyond just getting from point A to point B. Caregivers can also help out with other things like housekeeping, personal hygiene, and a variety of other daily tasks and activities.
Retire-At-Home is a well established home care agency in the Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge area, that offers seniors a few options for transportation. These options include:
- Caregivers driving the client’s vehicle
- Caregivers driving their own vehicle
- Caregivers accompanying clients in a third party vehicle like a taxi or uber
The first two options obviously depend on vehicle availability and completing the required paperwork and insurance coverage. Transportation doesn’t have to be a burden for older adults with mobility issues, they are many options to accommodate those needs.