Monday, January 11, 2016

Mom's Giving Up Driving?: Create a Transportation Fund

You look at your aging parent and see an unsafe driver.  He or she sees a dismal future.
"I'll be stuck in this house all the time!"
"Getting transportation will cost a fortune!" 

That's why it's important to devise a plan to provide transportation that won't break the bank, and won't put your parent back in the driver's seat.

Jeannine C. White, RN, MSN  calls the solution a "transportation fund." Basically your aging parent takes the funds he or she would normally spend monthly on driving a car and applies the money toward establishing a fund for reasonably priced transportation.

1.  Step One:  Create the fund.  It will have more money than you might anticipate.
  • Selling your parent's car could bring in several thousands of dollars.  That money goes into the fund.
  • Compute the future monthly savings on auto insurance.  Those dollars will go into the fund.
  • Calculate the monthly cost of gasoline and maintenance.  That money will be available for the fund.
  • Add up the monthly average parking and toll costs.
  • Think of other monthly auto-associated costs that will be saved by giving up a car.

2.  Step Two:  Decide how many trips your parent needs a month.  Include doctor visits, shopping, going to church and other social gatherings, visiting friends and family and anything else you can think of.

3.  Step Three:  Research the various transportation options in your area.
  • Family and friends. 
  • Free and low-cost transportation in your area.  Contacting your local senior center will give you information on paratransit programs (public transportation for those who can't ride a regular bus because  of disabilities),  volunteer drivers (often through churches).
  • Hired drivers.  The Eldercare Locator ,  can help you learn the going rate for a driver through an in-home care agency in your parent's area. It can also be reached by calling 800-677-1116 (9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST).
  • TIP:  Before hiring a driver, make sure you see a copy of his driver's license and proof of insurance, and go for at least one drive with the candidate. Check references. If a driver is using the older adult's car, or yours,  check with your insurance company about coverage.
  • Taxis.  This is the most comfortable and the most expensive option.   
4. Step Four:  Help your parent schedule the trips, use funds from the transportation fund and mixing free and paid transportation, if possible.

Have you had experience obtaining transportation for your aging parent when driving is no longer possible?  Have you come up with any creative ways of solving the transportation issue?
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