United We Ride (UWR), “a federal interagency initiative,” aims to improve the availability of senior transportation, so older adults have the opportunity to find low-cost, efficient transportation services in their area.
Senior Transportation for Medical Needs
One of the biggest challenges seniors face regarding lack of transportation is the ability to receive timely medical care. It can be challenging to find rides for seniors when access to low-cost options or an accessible bus route are minimal.
This situation can lead to missed appointments, lack of proper medical care, and even life-threatening situations. And these challenges aren’t just for seniors in rural areas — In fact, many people in urban and suburban areas still “struggle to find reliable transportation” due to financial hardship or long travel distances.
Social Interaction and Health for Seniors
One of the greatest concerns for aging adults is the lack of social interaction. The National Institute on Aging says “that social isolation may have significant adverse effects for older adults.” These effects may include loneliness that affects both physical and emotional health, or leads to depression and higher systolic blood pressure.
Thus, providing rides for seniors could be a way to encourage social interaction with other seniors, family members, and the community. Sometimes even a simple trip to the store can help elevate someone’s mood, especially if they spend much of their day alone at home.
A term associated with positive emotional and physical health in seniors is social capital, or “the potential of individuals to secure benefits and invent solutions to problems through membership in social networks.” Mobility is a key factor in developing greater social capital.
In fact, one study found that seniors “living in areas with greater social capital had significantly higher physical mobility scores.” This means that access to senior transportation truly does matter for overall health and wellness in older adults. The more rides for seniors, the more opportunities to build your social network.
Getting Seniors Access to Basic Needs
When you can drive or have easy access to transportation, the thought of securing basic needs may never occur to you. But for many seniors, simple tasks like shopping can be a struggle.
Getting to the store is crucial for older adults to get proper nutrition for themselves and supplies for their pets. Some seniors can feel like a burden and not ask for help out of fear. With services like FACT SD, seniors have a one-stop-shop that can help them access rides to the store without feeling like they have to rely on a family member or caregiver to drive them somewhere.
Do you or a loved one need help to find reliable rides for seniors in San Diego? Contact FACT SD today to get more information on affordable senior transportation!