Judy Shanley, Ph.D.
Easterseals Director, National Center for Mobility Management
Limited transit options makes it hard to give older adults the high quality of life they deserve. Mobility management can help.
Marion is an 82-year-old woman who has lived in her home for over 40 years. She has frequent medical appointments, participates in activities at her local senior center, and attends weekly religious services. Her daughter Susan is her caregiver and provides daily support that enables Marion to remain in her home. Susan, however, does not drive and often has difficulty finding accessible and reliable transportation for her mother to get to all of her appointments and activities.
Caregivers and transportation
Many individuals with long-term services and supports like Marion want to be able to live in their community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability. But to do so, transportation is key.
According to the 2017 AARP National Household Travel Survey, more than 8 million Americans ages 65 and older do not drive. In fact, the American Journal of Public Health reports that many people ages 70 and older are expected to outlive their driving years by 7-10 years, and as a result, caregivers often take on the responsibility of meeting transportation needs. But coordinating all that transportation can be difficult.
No driver? No problem
Thankfully, mobility management can do the coordinating for you. Mobility management is an approach that seeks to connect individuals to transportation options in their community — whether older adults, people with disabilities, veterans, or other members of the riding public. Mobility managers incorporate all available options, including fixed-route, demand response, and ridesharing services, offered by non-profit organizations, public transportation, and the private sector. What’s more, they participate in coordinated human service public transportation planning efforts and serve on state or regional transportation coordinating councils, and their job is to work with an unbiased understanding of each individual’s needs.
Essentially, mobility managers can be and provide resources for caregivers to be able to more easily maintain their loved one’s quality of life with ample mobility.
Caregivers can learn about mobility management in their community by contacting their local transit agency. The National Center for Mobility Management at Easterseals also provides free information about transportation resources near you at www.nc4mm.org.