Winter 2018–2019

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Conquer Mobility Issues the Modern Way

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How to get out and about for a better quality of life.

Losing mobility is the main reason seniors become house-bound and can present a real challenge to getting to medical appointments, to the hairdresser or grocery store or even to social outings. But having mobility challenges in the modern era needn’t feel like a jail sentence. Between unique transportation options and devices that make mobility easier, there’s no reason your senior can’t enjoy the independence they’re accustomed to. With the confidence they gain from conquering transportation issues, their quality of life will improve, reducing the risks of isolation and depression.

Though many van-type options are available through city transportation (featuring hourly call and ride pick up and drop off services), many of other driving services exist, even for people on a fixed income. Uber, the ride app so popular with Millennials, is one great option even for seniors that don’t have a smart phone. The app has now made it possible for someone to book a ride for someone other than yourself. You can choose Mom’s pick-up address, set a destination and charge your own account for the ride. You will be able to track the driver’s route and have the driver’s details. Uber has paired with GreatCall and Lyft (another ride app) has paired with 24Hr HomeCare to bypass the use of an app completely, needing neither an account or a smart phone.

GoGoGrandparent lets passengers book Lyft rides by dialing a toll-free number and has options for home or destination pick up and even pre-booking rides for set appointments. Family members stay informed about rides with text updates.

There are also a number of volunteer driving services for little or no cost through groups like the American Red Cross and local churches or non-profits. 

If you’re the one providing transportation, there are a number of devices that make going to and fro easier and less stressful. Note that Medicare will typically pay up to 80 percent of the cost of devices with a doctor’s approval. These can run the gamut from canes to walkers, scooters and electric wheelchairs. Doctors can also be consulted for special exercises to increase mobility.

Some travel (especially airline) will require some additional planning and accommodations based on need (needing oxygen or hearing or visual impairment). Most hotels and airlines, though, make accommodations for disabled passengers. Airline websites will have an assistance form detailing the type of accommodation needed.

For auto travel, there are devices like an inexpensive grab and pull seatbelt reacher and tools to help undo a seatbelt,  a round seat swivel cushion and HandyBar, an auto standing aid. These tools can help take the stress out of car travel, proving that growing older doesn’t have to mean limiting life.

Read more on traveling with your senior parent