The organization Transportation for America, an “alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions,” have published a document Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options in which they say as adults age:
“…. a large share will find that their ability to navigate by vehicle diminishes or disappears over time. These millions of older adults will need affordable alternatives to driving in order to maintain their independence as long as possible. Many seniors will rely on relatives or friends to take them around, and a smaller number will move
to places where services and activities are close by. Pedestrian-friendly streets and recreational trails built with seniors in mind will help older Americans get around safely and remain active, regardless of where they live. But only adequate public
transportation services can assure that older adults are able to travel as often or as far as they would like, without worrying about inconveniencing others. Absent access to affordable travel options, seniors face isolation, a reduced quality of life and possible
economic hardship. A 2004 study found that seniors age 65 and older who no longer drive make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor, 59 percent fewer trips to shop or eat out, and 65 percent fewer trips to visit friends and family, than drivers of the same age.”
Some of us have lived in the US for many years (or just a few), own or have access to automobiles, and drive regularly. If for health or other reasons we are unable to drive independently we will suddenly find ourselves in the category of adults described above, facing the constraints and limitations that prevent us from leading the lives and doing the things we would like to on our own terms. There is also a growing population of older adults who have lived outside the US for most of their lives, but have decided to move here more recently; typically to come live with their sons and daughters and their families. More often than not, this cohort of seniors face these same transportation constraints. They do not drive in the US, and depend on their children for transport anywhere by automobile. In the instance where their child and his or her spouse both work and are out of the house most of the day, they find themselves feeling trapped at home with no alternatives to move out of the house other than walking, taxi services or some form of public transportation.
For individuals in the Bay Area that face these issues, Sukham offers the following suggestions:
DailyCaring a website that provides practical tips for families caring for older adults provides a list of several free or low-cost transportation options for older adults in different regions around the Bay Area covering San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
Outreach Mobility Management Center for Santa Clara County – – operated by a “non-profit, public benefit organization.
The Santa Clara VTA (Valley Transportation Authority) has a range of programs and services for seniors. Their Senior Mobility Guide provides details for a variety of services offered by them and other organizations in the area.
ElderHelpers, a volunteer organization to help the elderly can help find someone willing to give rides to elders.
Senior Transportation Program helps seniors 60 years and older living in Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton or Sunol by providing rides to a medical appointment or service