Five ways to get around without a car
If your loved one is no longer able to drive, what are their options for getting around?
If your loved one’s driving days are nearly over or are in the past, it’s a good idea to think about other options to help them get around.
Being able to get out and about is important for your loved one’s physical and mental health. They’ll need to get to medical appointments, to the shops for food and other essentials, and to social activities so they can maintain a sense of self.
While you can drive them around, it's also good to explore other options so they don’t rely solely on you.
We look at five potential transport options that may be available to help your loved one keep up an independent lifestyle.
The best thing about taxis is their convenience: the driver will come directly to your loved one’s front door and drop them off right at the spot they need to go to. However, taxis may be more expensive than other transport services.
Each state’s transport department offers subsidised taxi travel for eligible people who have a severe permanent disability that prevents them from using conventional public transport services - which can make taxis a more affordable option if your elderly loved one is eligible for this service.
For more information and to see if your loved one is eligible, speak to their doctor or visit your state’s transport department’s website.
2. Public transport
If your loved one lives in an area with regular public transport nearby, this can be a great option for getting around with independence.
Public transport is affordable, particularly for holders of a Seniors Card, and helps to maintain fitness, as it encourages walking to and from stops.
If your loved one is no longer able to catch public transport, though, there are other options.
3. Community transport
Provided by local governments and community services, community transport is an option for many who can no longer get around in other ways.
As Rebecca Morton, chairperson of the Victorian Community Transport Association (VCTA)
, explains, “It’s aimed towards people who aren’t able to use public transport, or who need a low level of assistance, or in regional areas it could be about accessibility.”
To access the service, your loved one may need to undergo an eligibility assessment. There are some costs involved, and these vary depending on the provider and the service. There may be pro bono services available for those who need this.
Morton advises, “Contact your local council and ask about the services provided by them or others in the area.”
4. Medical transport
If your loved one needs help getting to a medical appointment (or to regular medical visits), you can book non-emergency transport with your state’s ambulance service. There are specific vehicles to use depending upon the passenger’s mobility and health level. To access this free service, your loved one will need to be an ambulance member and be medically assessed for eligibility.
5. Family members
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If you or other family members are able to help your loved one get around, that can be a perfect solution. It’s a friendly, affordable service and you may have the flexibility to take them to different places. If this is an option, it’s perhaps something you could combine with other transport services if you’re short on time.
Evaluating, reviewing and arranging transport options to help your loved one get around is an important part of keeping them independent, active and connected to their local community.