The New Senior Transportation: Ride-Sharing Services

The New Senior Transportation: Ride-Sharing Services

It’s a too-common scenario for seniors: Places to go, things to see, and a life to lead—but limited mobility or the inability to drive prevents them from getting out. Fortunately, ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber, and a new service tailored to the needs of seniors called SilverRide (which has launched in San Francisco, CA but is planning expansion in the US), are all addressing senior transportation with new initiatives.

The Community Transportation Association estimates that 26 million older Americans rely on others for their transportation. With the elderly population growing, this number will only increase in coming years. Not being able to drive can affect more than just self-esteem. It can take a toll on physical health as well. In fact, a 2004 report found that seniors who don’t drive make 15% fewer trips to the doctor than their driving counterparts.

Ride-sharing services could close that gap. How? With a little technology, senior housing partnerships, and special services for the mobility-impaired.

How to Use Lyft and Uber

Lyft and Uber are operated via drivers using their personal vehicles. They originally gained popularity among young urban dwellers as a safe option for those who have had too much to drink. However, these personal ride-sharing options expanded very quickly in geographical range and popularity of use. While these services do require a little bit of tech savvy, that shouldn’t deter seniors from taking advantage of these services. All you need to catch a ride is a smartphone with the Lyft or Uber apps. Ask your children, grandchildren or a tech-savvy friend if you need a little help downloading and setting up the app.

Once a phone is equipped with the app, Lyft and Uber are easy to use. Provide a payment method (usually a credit card or PayPal) and then just type in the address of where you want to go. The app will automatically calculate the rate for the ride, so the cost is known upfront. A driver’s description and car model will be provided, as well as the estimated time of arrival.

For more cost savings, you can take advantage of Lyft’s Lyft Line, in which you carpool with other consumers riding the same route to split the tab. Uber’s version of that option is uberPOOL.
Once at your destination, just say thank you and goodbye. The cost will be charged to your credit card. The entire transaction is handled online, so there is no need to exchange cash or give a tip (unless you want to). Ready to come home? Just perform the same action in reverse, using your home address.

Special Services for Senior Transportation

For seniors who need extra assistance, Uber offers uberASSIST. This service uses drivers who are trained to help riders get into and out of the vehicle and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers and scooters.

Given that seniors with limited transportation options might need to use ride-hailing often, Lyft and Uber have both been working to develop partnerships with local senior advocates, organizations, local retirement communities and municipalities around the country with the goal of increasing affordability. In many cities, programs are being tested in which seniors can get discounted—or even free—rides due to city support. Some of these initiatives also address ride-hailing options for seniors without smartphones. Check in your area for specific options.

by Mark Edelen

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

It takes a village to raise a child AND care for an aging parent.

Many of us have heard the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. I heard it in passing the other day and silently thought, it also takes a village to care for an aging parent!

The difference is that raising a child is considered a wonderful joy, and there are various blogs, websites, books, shows, clubs and resources available to parents to help them through the challenges. However, caring for an aging or disabled parent can be viewed as the “right thing to do”, but it’s certainly not considered “joyful” or “glamorous”. In the U.S., it seems we have created a culture that believes the problem will solve itself while the “silver tsunami” is well on it’s way. There is no doubt that caring for an aging parent can weigh heavily on a family financially, physically and emotionally.

For those of us like me who are faced with this challenge, caring for an aging parent requires daily support as we navigate the system and all of the available resources. As a business owner in the senior care industry, I’ve found that this has its advantages preparing me and guiding me to reputable resources. But, it can still be very confusing.

When I started this journey a couple of years ago, I had no idea the wonderful people I’d meet, the assistance I’d be able to provide families as they experienced unique challenges, and how much I would need the resources myself in caring for my own family.

To those colleagues who have become referral partners, thank you. To those I have yet to meet, I look forward to meeting you. I will be sharing some resources from my own “village” on my Facebook page over the coming weeks. Please follow my Hallmark Homecare page here:

If you have a personal family situation and are in need of guidance for an aging loved one, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. I’m happy to help or refer you to someone who can. After all, it still takes a village.

Denise Sullivan

Hallmark Homecare Partners with Premier Senior Consultants

Hallmark Homecare Partners with Premier Senior Consultants

Hallmark Homecare is pleased to announce our strategic partnership with Premier Senior Consultants to provide a concierge service to seniors and their families within the Central Florida area.

Hallmark Homecare and Premier Senior Consultants together offer a personal touch and an array of care options to help seniors and their families navigate the next stage of their journey. The synergistic connection between Hallmark Homecare and Premier Senior Consultants allows families to explore greater choices for their individual need.

As our loved ones age, their needs can shift and expand rapidly. It can be overwhelming and exhausting for family caregivers to navigate the system of care options, not to mention the medical maze. One of the major challenges in a family caregiver’s life is acknowledging the fact that they have exhausted their skill for caring for someone they love. Many are faced with the decision of bringing someone in from outside of the family to help with activities of daily living, while others need care in a facility to remain safe. Hallmark Homecare and Premier Senior Consultants are there to assist in those life changes.

At Hallmark Homecare, we serve as private recruiters for families searching for caregivers either in their homes or in a facility. We are, in essence, a “head hunter” for the care industry, helping guide families throughout the caregiver search. A detailed care assessment is performed to ensure that each client’s needs are fully understood. We then do the tedious work of reviewing hundreds of caregiver applicants by checking their backgrounds, references and credentials, conducting drug tests, making sure they are properly insured, and providing them with additional training if necessary. Finally, we set up interviews of the selected caregivers with the clients and families seeking to hire them. Families are able to hand-select the caregiver(s) of their choice.

Hallmark charges a very affordable one-time placement fee for our services, which the family typically recoups within the first 30-90 days of care (depending on hours of care per week). Thereafter, the family then realizes the ongoing tremendous savings with our model of care. We also provide a 90-day unconditional guarantee of satisfaction. Payment for our services include private-pay, LTC insurance and, if enrolled and eligible, the VA Aid and Attendance benefit covers the cost of in-home care.

Hallmark Homecare owner, Denise Sullivan, stated that “Our client-directed model of care is becoming increasingly necessary for many due to the escalating costs of in-home care. I am proud to provide our community with a powerful senior care option, one in which families can legally hire quality, professional caregivers directly and offer their loved ones the in-home care that they deserve, all without breaking the bank.”

Premier Senior Consultants specializes in senior placement solutions for Independent Living, Assisted Living and Alzheimer’s care throughout the Central Florida area. Their Senior Living Consultants have over 25 years of combined healthcare experience in Central Florida’s senior living market. As industry experts, they offer insight to families that will help save them time, money, and frustration when searching for the right option for their loved one. Premier Senior Consultants partners with communities of all types and sizes to meet the needs and expectations of their clients.

“Deciding where to spend your golden years is a big and many times emotional decision. Carrie and I have a passion to try our best to help alleviate the stress for both the senior and the adult child. The senior living community pays our fee which allows us to be complimentary to the families we serve.” says Holly Jennings, Managing Partner at Premier Senior Consultants.

To contact your local Hallmark Homecare office, contact Denise Sullivan, Owner, at 407-808-7738 or email More information on the company is available at

To contact Premier Senior Consultants, please contact Holly Jennings or Carrie Vick, Managing Partners at 407-703-7022 or email More information on the company is available at

You may also visit our offices at Premier Pointe located at 1420 Gay Road, Winter Park, FL 32789.

The Power of Human Touch

The Power of Human Touch

The Power of Human Touch

By Dr. Allen Weiss


“There is a primal reassurance in being touched, in knowing that someone else, someone close to you, wants to be touching you,” writes best-selling author Jim Butcher. “There is a bone-deep security that goes with the brush of a human hand, a silent, reflex-level affirmation that someone is near, that someone cares.”

“Skin hunger” is the name for a new concept in our digital and disconnected world. For eons we lived in family units and larger tribes, all of which had plentiful physical contact. Hunter-gatherers and farmers lived in close proximity and depended on each other in order to thrive.

Non-verbal communication and trust developed robustly as successful families and tribes grew in numbers. Those who could not or did not communicate and were not adaptable were culled out of the herd and didn’t survive to reproduce. Evolution favored intimacy. Touch is the key ingredient of intimacy (and the opposite of “skin hunger”).

Our society has grown away from physical intimacy, which is important for good mental and physical health. The laying on of the hands is the physical act of helping the ill and infirm. Touch is therapeutic, and for centuries was as effective as most every other therapy.

Non-verbal communication and emotions are inexorably intertwined. With more and more of our time spent at a keyboard and on the internet (as I am doing now as I draft this message), we become separated and distant. We all get removed from face to face, eye to eye, and skin to skin contact which has been so necessary for survival.

Contact is so important that one major way of punishment is to remove a person from interaction, which is essentially what a “time out” is for a toddler or solitary confinement is for a prisoner. Being isolated is uncomfortable for most social beings. Think of the many organizations we all belong to at various times of our lives—teams centered on sports; clubs focused on crafts while in K-thru-12th grade; sororities and fraternities in college; chambers and professional organizations in our working lives. All are all examples of us joining interest groups where we help each other and have physical contact with each other.

Peter Andersen is a Ph.D. trained at Florida State University. He observes:

“People who touch have better relationships. They have higher levels of intimacy. Touch often produces positive emotions. Skin hunger (lack of touch) shows negative association with general health, happiness, social support, relationship satisfaction, and attachment security. Some studies show excessive time spent in a digital world is more likely to produce loneness.”

Certain cultures are much more intimate and “touchy” than others. The English are often characterized as stiff (think of a “stiff upper lip”). Many Latin cultures endorse hugging, double or triple cheek kissing, and warm banter before and after any serious business is conducted.

Americans, according to Peter Andersen, are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. We are a melting pot. This is good, but we are sometimes conflicted when it comes to how to act in social settings. We may wish to express warmth with a hug, but this may come with a lingering concern that touch or inadvertent excessive public intimacy might not be welcomed by others. In fact, in today’s hypersensitive work environment, touch may be misconstrued as an invasion of personal space.

“Proxemics” is the study of how close folks come to each other in normal interaction, whether personal or professional. Proxemics shows that being too close is as uncomfortable as being too distant and not connected. Communication among ourselves is most effective when we all are not afraid to make eye contact, smile warmly and genuinely, be appropriate with touch, and the right distance apart.

In the womb we are surrounded by touch, which is the most essential of the five basic senses for survival. Touch is the first and last sense of our lives. As we hug a newborn, the baby is comforted and fed; and as we console the dying, touch is the last sense to diminish before death. Babies, toddlers, and children are the best to lovingly cuddle, caress, hug, and play wrestle. Parents mourn the day their children are too big to sit on their laps.

Adults in the working environment should be “high fiving,” “fist bumping,” shaking hands, and touching on the arm or shoulder to help create an environment of trust and success. We don’t have to be distant. Having fun doing the right thing is mission critical for good teams doing important work. Cold, distant, and excessively formal environments are not necessary for progress.

Granted, in some adversarial situations such as courtrooms, it is still important to be professional in order to come to a solution which is good and fair for all. Obviously, the non-verbal communications are different here and the “touch” maybe limited to a handshake.

Finally, the elderly, disabled, and very ill are sometimes characterized as “untouchables,” and this is an area for more understanding and change. We can help folks by shaking hands, touching, caring, reading to them and interacting in ways that bring back pleasant memories. These folks need more, not less touch. They are not social pariahs and, in fact, if we are lucky someday, we will be the elderly ones looking for company.

Life is a cycle. Touch is an important connector in this cycle and makes all of us better off mentally and physically.

So, show someone that you care. Reach out and touch somebody, and enjoy the most fundamental of our senses.

Dr. Allen Weiss, CEO & President of the NCH Healthcare System, is board certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Geriatrics. Dr. Weiss is active in a variety of professional organizations and boards, and has been published in numerous medical journals, including the American Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.



What is Hallmark Homecare? How it works…

What is Hallmark Homecare? How it works…

If you or an aging loved one needs help remaining independent at home, we can find the perfect in-home caregiver for you.

Supporting the client-directed model of care (which emphasizes the client’s choice, and the rights of caregivers who serve those clients), we search for and recruit professional caregivers and then “place” them with our clients on a direct-hire basis. Our specialty is connecting experienced, fully insured, trustworthy and reliable in-home caregivers with families seeking to hire in-home care, and our direct-hire model of care saves you 35% or more.

  • We have direct access to a vast network of over 40,000 professional caregivers across North America, and any caregiver we place is fully credentialed, screened, trained, and insured.
  • Our experienced Care Coordinators work closely with you to assess your specific situation and care needs. We then select the best caregiver matches for you and arrange for you to interview them, so you can decide the right one(s) to hire.
  • We do all of this for a small one-time placement fee, which allows you to realize ongoing savings of 35% or more compared to most of the alternatives.
  • We guarantee absolute satisfaction with your caregiver(s). If you request, we will replace your caregiver(s) as much as necessary within your first 90 days of care until you are fully satisfied.
  • We advocate that caregiver placements meet full legal and tax compliance. We guide you smoothly through the steps to meet household employee obligations to minimize any worry and stress – safeguards that protect you and truly set us apart from alternative options, such as hiring caregivers on your own or searching caregiver registries.

To begin the process of finding your perfect caregiver, simply contact us.
We look forward to serving you!

A slice of sound advice to go with your pumpkin pie

A slice of sound advice to go with your pumpkin pie

As the upcoming holiday season nears, many travel plans are being made to visit family and friends.  Often times, if you are a child who is caring for an aging loved one from a distance, this is the only time of year you will be able to physically observe any changes in those loved ones.  Throughout the year, I speak with those children living far away and trying to do their best to take care of mom and/or dad residing in Florida.  At this time of year though, there is a heightened state.  The phone starts ringing more often, they gather resources, in order to be of support once they actually arrive and need to take action.  A few things I always find myself saying, seem to help with the process, so I thought I would share them here.

1. You are not alone.  Many families are going through the same difficulty with an aging loved one, and have no idea what next step to take.

2. If it’s not an emergency, don’t treat it like one.  By this, I mean stay calm and level-headed, gather the specific facts and needs, and ONLY THEN act.

3. Do your homework.  Ideally, before there’s a crisis.  Figure out what resources are out there. In the senior care industry across the US, there are plenty of caring and competent people in this business for all of the right reasons.  Those people will most likely surround themselves with other caring and competent people in the same space who offer a different service.  Find someone involved who your gut and intuition says you can trust, and rely on them to help navigate you through this journey.  If they are in the senior care industry for the right reasons, they aren’t only trying to “sell you” something.  They are truly trying to be a resource to the families they service, who happen to offer a service you might need.

4. Be compassionate and patient with your aging loved one. Often, our aging loved ones know things are slowly changing in their abilities, but it’s never easy to ask your child or anyone else for help. Losing independence on any level can spur many emotions including denial, anger and fear.  Engage, over many conversations, and find out how they really feel about what’s going on and what their wishes are.  The earlier the adult child begins those conversations with their parent/parents, the easier it will be on them in the future when they are faced with decisions.

5. Pay it forward.  If you are a parent of a child today, start those “aging” conversations once your child is at an appropriate age. No, it’s not as fun as discussing the next vacation or what restaurant you’ll eat dinner at over the weekend, but it is necessary to open communication and effective planning.  Hopefully, it will also alleviate a load of stress off of your child/children’s plate when they are faced with the same situation one day.

If anyone you know is need of a resource for an aging loved one, I’m truly happy to help!  To all of my friends, clients and colleagues, have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!