Why is transportation a problem for older adults?

Access to transportation gives people a sense of freedom. You can pick up and go on a whim. It is essential for maintaining independence and one’s health. If that freedom disappears, people can become isolated. Social isolation is an aging adult’s #1 enemy and without reliable transportation to doctor’s appointments, older adults can’t remain in their homes. This becomes an even bigger issue in areas which lack public transportation options. This makes Non-Emergency Medical Transportation vital for aging adults.

Barriers to transportation grow as people age. They may drive less or not at all. They may lack access to a personal vehicle. Older adults may experience challenges related to the aging process which cause visual and mobility impairments that limit their ability to drive.

A variety of reasons can impede access to transportation, causing people to rely on family, friends, and public transportation. But what if those are not an option either? Their family may not live in the area. Public transportation may not be available for many. As of 2015, 78% of residents in West Michigan age 65-79 lived in areas with poor access to options other than driving.

This can limit access to social interactions, shopping, activities and healthcare providers including lifesaving services like dialysis and cancer treatments.

How can older adults get transportation to medical appointments?

AgeWell Services Senior Medical Transportation Program provides door-to-door, non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) for low income Muskegon County residents. We provide transportation to Muskegon County healthcare providers. Participants must be 60 years old or older and must be at 150% of the poverty level or less. Participants must also be able to transfer in and out of a vehicle by themselves (walkers and canes are acceptable).

The Senior Medical Transportation Program allows older adults to age in place. Participants can continue living independently and still have access to important medical appointments.

Volunteer drivers provide friendly, personalized service for riders. All volunteers have undergone a thorough background and driving record check.

What if I don’t meet the Senior Medical Transportation Program’s Eligibility Requirements?

There are still options available for NEMT if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements for AgeWell Services Senior Medical Transportation Program. If a person calls the office and they don’t meet the requirements, the office can provide names of other transportation options in the community that may be able to assist them.

NEMT is a Medicaid benefit. Check with your insurance provider. Some private insurance and Medicare Advantage plans may also cover NEMT. Types of destinations and modes of transportation allowed can vary so be sure to check with your provider.

For more information about AgeWell Services Senior Medical Transportation Program, call (231) 726-7090.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer driver, click here.

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