Transportation is an issue that is vital to
the quality of life for older adults and their caregivers. When
physical and cognitive impairments prevent older adults from driving or
using public transportation, caregivers often become primary
transportation providers. Unfortunately, providing transportation can
be a stressful and time-consuming caregiving task. The following tips
are for caregivers to consider when either transporting or arranging
transportation for their loved ones.
Considerations For Arranging Transportation
you are a caregiver in search of transportation for an older family
member or friend, you may want to consider the following questions
before deciding on a transportation option. Use these questions to
gather more detailed information from the transportation provider you
are considering in order to choose the best option for your loved one.
- What is the service area?
- Is there a limitation on distance?
- How much will the service cost?
- Will insurance pay for rides provided by the service?
- Are there requirements to qualify for the service? If so, what are they?
- Is there an evaluation that must take place prior to the first ride?
- Is there a membership fee that must be paid before scheduling rides with the service?
- How far in advance must reservations be made?
- Are rides provided in the evenings, on weekends or on holidays?
- Are rides provided to social as well as medical or shopping appointments?
- Are door-through-door, door-to-door or curb-to-curb services provided?
- Are rides provided to people who use wheelchairs?
- Do riders stay in their wheelchair, or are they transferred to a seat during the ride?
- Is there an escort or attendant in the vehicle with the driver?
- Does someone stay with my family member during appointments?
- Can a family member serve as an escort? If so, is there an extra cost associated?
- Will there be a wait when picked up from home? If so, how long?
- Will there be a wait when picked up for the return trip? If so, how long?
- Will the driver or attendant come into the office/building for the return trip?
other passengers be riding? If so, what is the maximum length of time
of the ride while others are being picked-up/dropped-off?
Transporting A Loved One With Dementia
impairments resulting from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
prevent older adults from safely driving or using public
transportation, caregivers often become primary transportation
providers. Transporting your loved one can be a challenge, but does not
have to be a struggle every time. Try to keep in mind the advice given
by a long-time caregiver, “The slower you go, the faster things get
- Be patient and allow time to get ready and get into the car.
- Try to allow your loved one to calm down before entering the car.
- Be prepared with relaxing music, sunglasses, photos, food, etc.
- Seat your loved one in the rear passenger side seat with seat belt on and child lock in the ‘on’ position.
- Encourage your loved one to do as much as possible for him/herself.
- Try to keep glare from the sun to a minimum.
- Give information in small bits.
- Stay calm.
- Validate your loved one’s feelings whenever possible.
- Give brief, step-by-step directions.
- Encourage reminiscence.
- Be aware of your body language.
- Ask your loved one to use the bathroom before getting into the car.
- If possible, have a cellular phone in the car in case of emergency.