When Bruce’s dad couldn’t drive any more, it was a big problem for him and his family. Everyone either lived out of state or worked full-time and nobody could provide regular transportation. They turned to an agency similar to Advantage Home Care for help. The agency was able to provide a variety of services for Bruce’s father, including rides to the store and the barber, and sometimes just a pleasant drive to nowhere in particular, which he always enjoyed.
Lucy became her mother’s number one chauffeur, but juggling the responsibility with other demands in her life was overwhelming. At first, so was finding transportation. “I began looking around for people who could take her places. I found a young woman in her church who was in between jobs who loved my mother, and asked if she could take her out once week to have lunch and do errands. She was thrilled. Eventually, Mom started to have so much fun that it was no longer about being dependent on someone else because she couldn’t drive.”
If your parent can’t drive any more, finding transportation in your community can seem like a daunting task. Lisa Corson, the Help Line coordinator at the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, urges people to try and plan ahead. When she takes a call from someone, it’s often after the elderly person has stopped driving and the family is in a bit of a crisis mode.
“In general,” says Lisa, “I like to refer families to the Area Agency on Aging because they might know of a driving program that could be helpful. They may also know of a volunteer who is a driving resource. Sometimes resources are hidden in the community.”
Thanks to Lisa and the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) Family Caregiver Support Program, we have a list of transportation resources to pass along.
- Regional Transportation Program (RTP)
- Provides dependable door-to-door transportation with buses, vans and volunteer drivers. For Cumberland County residents or visitors to the region.
- Independent Transportation Network (ITN)
A non-profit transportation service for seniors and people with visual impairments. The ITN uses automobiles and both paid and volunteer drivers to provide door-to-door service, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, for any purpose within 15 miles of Portland.
- Volunteer transportation programs are available in a few communities in York and Cumberland counties. Contact SMAAA for information about options in your area. In some towns, senior centers and community programs offer transportation for activities or shopping.
- Public transportation options are available in some areas. Discounts may be available for older adults and people with disabilities.
- In York County, the Community Action Corporation (YCCAC) is a non-profit organization with a variety of available options, including buses, trolleys and private drivers. Some programs specifically help people get to medical care, and some are available for shopping and other needs. Call 1-800-965-5762.
- A few organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, may offer rides to specific treatments. Some providers, such as York Hospital, have programs to help people access its services. There are also some companies that provide non-emergency medical transportation for a fee. The Transportation for Veterans Network helps veterans get to their appointments at Togus VA Medical Center.
- An application for a Disability Parking Placard is available from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
- Lotsa Helping Hands is a free service that connects caregivers and volunteers through online Communities that help organize daily life during times of medical crisis or with ongoing issues, such as finding transportation for your elderly parent.
If you need help starting the conversation with your parent or loved one about driving, we have some tips in our previous post, When Is It No Longer Safe to Drive?
You can also contact the:
- Alzheimer’s Association Helpline 1-800-272-3900
- Southern Maine Agency on Aging at (207) 396-6500 or 1-800-427-74111
We welcome any additional transportation resources you might know about. Please leave us a comment or give us a call:
Advantage Home Care (207) 699-2570 or 1-888-846-1410