Comment from Guest: What transportation resources are available in small towns? In larger cities, cabs are available.
Elinor Ginzler: Small towns can be rich with transportation services. It is often the nonprofit world of churches and community-based organizations that steps up to help seniors get around. Check your local aging office for groups in your community who can help. Also, remember that the government-maintained Eldercare Locator online tool can help you find the aging office near you.
Comment from Bridget: What if my mom needs to get to medical appointments outside her county of residence? Are there transportation services that cross jurisdictional boundaries?
Elinor Ginzler: Most senior transportation services recognize that doctors are often spread around several jurisdictions. This is a great question to ask when you are finding a transportation service, but I think you will find that many are quite flexible. If one organization tells you they can't help you, ask them if they know of a service that will. Services run by not-for-profit organizations are very likely to have flexible policies about crossing over boundaries.
Comment from Russ Parish, Arkansas Transit Association: Many senior centers and other nonprofit agencies employ or use volunteer seniors. There are valid concerns about reaction time, vision and good judgment regarding these valued workers and volunteers. Are there any resources, checklists or standard evaluations available to assess safe driving skills for drivers over 70?
Elinor Ginzler: Most seniors make changes to their driving behaviors to stay safe on the road. A typical example is no longer driving at night. There are professional groups that provide driving assessment and offer rehab treatment if appropriate. Usually it is an occupational therapist that performs the assessment. Another important program to remind seniors about safe driving is the AARP Driver Safety program. This course, offered online and in person, reviews rules of the road and offers tips for staying safe.
Comment from Craig: My mom called me recently and expressed concern about my dad's vision and driving abilities. Since I live in a different state, I wasn't sure what to do, so I contacted the DMV about getting him retested. I gave his address and contact information, and they sent him a letter suspending his license until he can get retested. He is now really angry with me. I didn't expect the DMV to take this action, but at the same time I feel I needed to step in and help protect my dad (and possibly others). Did I do the right thing? And how do I handle my dad's anger toward me? He did pass the test for daytime driving, but now he is restricted from driving at night.