by Joy Loverde
Bigger than the tsunami of an aging population is the issue of mobility and how all of the old people are going to get around when they can no longer drive. Here’s an email I received recently from a concerned daughter”
Is there any protection of rights for a blind elderly person to be entitled
to the transportation offered to others within the community for doctors’ appointments or any other required appointments? The bigger issue is that my father lives with me and I work full time. We live about fifteen miles out of town. Of course Dad can't drive. He needs some sort of connection for a social life.
At present, I am alone in providing for his needs. If he were able to see, at this point, he could live independently. It becomes very demanding and stressful not being able to get family members to share the responsibility of driving him around. Can you help me?
I suggested that she call the local department on aging and her Dad’s doctor’s office and ask them about medical transport services. Elders (visually impaired or not) may qualify for transportation services to and from medical appointments. To find the local aging agency call (800) 677-1116. To find out if he qualifies for additional programs, I recommended that she contact the National Federation of the Blind. The website is www.nfb.org
I also reminded her of community resources that she could tap into for a variety of services such as socializing, group meals, meals on wheels and whatever else Dad needs. Contact community centers (like the YMCA, YWCA), senior center, hospital, public library, aging agency, family service agency, caregiver support group, visiting nurses association, church groups, women's clubs, neighborhood groups, business associations, AARP, volunteer organizations, grade schools, high schools, colleges, universities, youth groups, and veterans associations (if Dad’s a vet).
It’s amazing what’s available once we family caregivers ask for help.