Transportation Needs for Older Adults

| Live Your Life

Driving is an important part of community mobility and our personal well-being. Being able to access the community is essential to meet our basic needs including getting groceries, going to the bank, attending medical appointments, or picking up medications. Visiting and connecting with friends and family on a regular basis is major aspect of community mobility. Feeling connected and socially integrated into the community is especially important as we age with between 2-16% of older adults over 65 experiencing severe loneliness and 32% of older adults over 55 feel lonely at a given time.1 All of these reasons and many more outline why maintaining our independence with community mobility is important as we age.

Over time many older adults choose to either reduce the amount they are driving or completely stop driving all together. Transitioning from driving to non-driving occurs on a continuum. Some older adults may choose to only drive during the day or on city roads or may transition to not driving at all and will have to rely on alternative means of transportation to get around. No matter where you or a loved one are on this continuum, every older adult will have different transportation needs.

Age-related changes in our physical function including reduced leg strength, head and neck flexibility, difficulty hearing or seeing, slowed reaction time, and side effects of medications can all impair our ability to drive. Good news! There are modifications you can make to your vehicle to help adapt and compensate for any impairments. These modifications include cushions to improve positions, steering wheel covers to help with grip, pedal extenders, seat lift to help with getting in and out of a car, etc. Another option to develop compensatory strategies for functional limitations or to improve driving skills is by attending driver rehabilitation. Live Your Life DRIVE SAFELY is a program where our physical therapists or occupational therapists will assess your driving skills and will create a program that will help you remain safely independent.

On the other end of the spectrum, some older adult may choose to hang up their keys for the remainder of their life. There are various options for those who choose not to drive including Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation to and from medical services, public transit, paratransit, or using other private pay options such as Uber, Lyft, taxi, or GoGoGrandparent.  

No matter what your age or functional impairments are maintaining your independence with community mobility is key part of our day-to-day function. Live Your Life is a comprehensive mobile company bringing physical therapy and wellness to you! Contact us today to learn how we can help you reach your maximum potential!


1Valtorta N, Hanratty B. Loneliness, isolation and the health of older adults: do we need a new research agenda?. J R Soc Med. 2012;105(12):518-522. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2012.120128  

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