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Keeping seniors mobile when they can no longer drive

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Nearly all seniors say they want to live independently in their homes and communities for as long as possible. However, many seniors live in communities that have no public transportation and nearly 8 million people age 65 and over do not drive.

Transportation is one of the most common supports provided to seniors by family caregivers. But while many depend on family and friends for rides to medical appointments, they may feel guilty about "nonessential" trips, such as to socialize or enjoy recreation.

Seniors who don’t have access to safe, convenient and affordable transportation options are stuck at home – or may even attempt to drive themselves when it is no longer safe. More than half of individuals who do not drive stay home all day on any given day. And even when they leave their homes, they are often forced to limit the scope of their trips.

Compared to seniors who can drive, those who don't drive make fewer trips to the doctor overall. Senior patients without access to transportation often miss scheduled appointments and even treatments, such as dialysis or chemotherapy, which jeopardizes their health and costs hospitals tens of millions of dollars a year. Medicaid and Medicare offer coverage for several types of emergency transportation, but Medicaid coverage for regular health travel varies and can be limited.

And while it’s obvious that seniors should attend medical appointments, staying connected to family and friends and pursuing day-to-day activities are also essential to a senior’s good health and quality of life.

Because they don’t have access to other forms of transportation, seniors are often reluctant to stop driving, even when it becomes dangerous to themselves and others. The Community Transportation Association of America estimates that traffic fatalities among seniors will triple by the year 2030. Even minor accidents can seriously impact a senior’s health, and they are more likely to die in a crash because of their more fragile physical state.

If you are concerned about your senior loved one’s ability to drive, or if their lack of transportation is causing them to miss appointments or become isolated, Belvedere Home Care can help. Along with home health care and light housekeeping, Belvedere caregivers can provide transportation support to medical appointments, shopping, errands and other activities.

For more information about how Belvedere makes life easier for seniors and caregivers, contact us at (518) 694-9400 Option 4 or info@belvedereservices.com.