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

For The Love of Dogs

For The Love of Dogs

Animals are increasingly recognized for the therapeutic value they provide to older adults. As aging takes a toll on lifestyle, a “man’s best friend” could be the answer to living a longer, happier and loving life. The evidence from research done on using animals for multiple forms of therapy is so apparent that some facilities are now building pet therapy into their residence care plan.

There are many choices in deciding how best to incorporated pets into a senior’s life. If becoming a pet owner is the best decision, here are some tips on choosing which pet will be best for your loved one:

  • Type of pet. What is the right choice of pet for their lifestyle and activity level? Dogs, for instance, make wonderful companions but demand greater care and training than cats, birds, or fish.
  • Future situations. What is in their foreseeable future? Are they planning to stay in the same place for many years, or will they be making a transition to an assisted-living facility?
  • Allergy considerations. Make sure you are aware of their allergies and what type of pets they should avoid.
  • Cost. Think about caring for the pet on a fixed income. “Caring” can include food, litter (for cats), vet bills, and medications.
  • Contingency care. Just as you would make accommodations for a child, make sure there is someone who can watch or take over caring for the pet in the case of an emergency.

Your health or lifestyle may not make it possible for you to own your own pet. If so, search for pet therapy programs in your area. Many programs make it possible for animals to visit your home or facility to make interaction and therapy possible.  According to, “stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and some pets are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost mood.”  Even fish foster healthy living. A Purdue University study demonstrates that the presence of an aquarium at mealtimes stimulates the appetite of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

So, For The Love of Dogs, listen to the research and consider incorporating these healing animals into the life of your aging loved one!

Balance, Strength and Good Judgment

Balance, Strength and Good Judgment

Falls in the home can be contributed to many things. Four tips that we hear time and time again are:

  • Have your vision checked
  • Keep a regular exercise program
  • Make your home safer
  • Have your doctor check your medication

According to the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, preventable falls can steal away your ability to be active and independent. In older adults hospitalized because of hip fractures, approximately half cannot return home or live independently.

Research done at Colorado State University tells us that at least one-third of all falls in the elderly involve environmental hazards in the home.

Here are a few good tips for making your home safer:

  •  Look at the floors in each room. Do you have throw rugs on the floor? Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords?
  • Look at the stairs you use both inside and outside your home. Are some steps broken or uneven? Are you missing a light over the stairway? Are there objects on the stairs?
  • Look at your kitchen and eating area. Are the things you use often on high shelves?
  •  Look at all your bathrooms. Do you need some support when you get in and out of the tub or up from the toilet?
  •  Look at all your bedrooms.  Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark?

Exercising good judgment and using proven research, we can do so much more today to prevent an accident from happening. Be safe and do what you can to stay on your feet.