About Community Disability & Transportation Services
Seniors who wish to age-in-place in their own homes face a dilemma when it comes to disability. Seniors with disabilities may face problems with mobility, poor eyesight, hearing, use of their hands or memory. Special disability support devices such as handrails, scooters, stair lifts, bathroom aids, special clothing, adaptive devices and so forth are available but seniors don't know about these assistive technology aids nor have they the resources to obtain this support.
Community support for disability is often limited and fragmented between many different government agencies or private organizations. This is one area where coordination between services or a central clearinghouse is necessary to help seniors remain in their homes.
Another major issue with seniors at home is the availability of transportation. Many seniors are trapped in their homes because they have no accessibility to shopping, doctors appointments or personal visits to friends or family. This may be due to disability issues which prevent them from using public transportation or prevent them from driving their own vehicles. Or they may simply not have enough income to own a vehicle or pay for someone to come to their door. Because of this lack of accessibility, these seniors may be at risk due to lack of food and subsequent poor diet or they may be languishing in depression due to lack of social interaction.
Most communities have special public transit vehicles available for the disabled but the users must access such transportation at designated pickup and drop-off points. Very few public transit systems offer door-to-door service which is often necessary for many disabled seniors. There are private transportation companies that will offer point-to-point service but they can be very expensive and may not be affordable.
It seems free public transportation for disabled seniors is often lacking in many areas in the country. Vehicles and drivers may actually be available to provide this service but the coordination among different agencies or organizations is often lacking. As an example, school districts often have drivers and disability vans that sit idle most of the day and could be used for senior transportation but coordinating these services between organizations may not be happening, for whatever reasons.