Here we cover Transport Options For The Elderly and Disabled in Australia.
When it comes to transportation; that is, moving from one place to another, the use of car and driving is usually the first option and means considered, especially when it’s short-distance transportation.
For the elderly and disabled, however, the driving option is not encouraged and for obvious reasons, as ageing impacts driving abilities, as well as disabilities.
In applying proper safety measures, some countries like Australia, have put down other alternatives and options for this particular class of individuals.
Ways In Which Ageing and Disability Affects Driving
Disability will obviously affect driving, as drivers need a well-functioning brain, hands and feet coordination, eyes and ears to stay on the road.
Ageing affects driving skills in the following ways;
- Ageing leads to a decline in one’s brain functioning.
The senior begins to lose focus, becomes less and less coordinated and flexible, affecting his/her driving skills.
- Ageing reduces one’s vision, which will definitely affect driving.
- As one age, the joints and muscles also age and becomes weaker.
Arthritis and other joint disabilities might set in, which is bad for driving.
- Some medications taken by the elderly can also affect their reasoning, as well as their driving skills.
- Hearing loss
Due to age-related hearing loss experienced by 1/3 of Americans over the age of 65, they can’t comfortably drive above that age.
This is because they have an impaired ability to hear high-pitched noises such as sirens or car horns.
In another note, the aged or disabled will only consider driving when they have good reasons to travel (and it is safe to do so) or be transported from one place to another.
Now, what are some reasons for transport…
Reasons For Transport
Transportation entails moving from one place to another, but it could be divided into – short-distance transportation or long-distance transportation.
Why do people transport;
- To get groceries and other important needs
- They transport to schools and workplaces
- To take vacations
- To spend time with family members
- To visit friends
- To learn new cultures
- To find better weather
- To learn new things
- To get away from one’s comfort zone
There are several reasons why different people travel and transport, and these are a few of them. Transportation and travelling also encourage interaction with people, which builds interpersonal relationships.
These different reasons for transporting also applies to the elderly and the disabled. They too will need groceries, they may want to get to a place of interest, visit friends or family members, and these reasons may cause them to transport either long distance or short distance.
If driving is restricted for seniors and the disabled, then what other options is available for them.
Short Distance Transport Options for the Elderly and Disabled
What are other transportation options available for the elderly and the disabled who can’t drive? And which of these services are most suitable for short-distance transport, like getting groceries, picking up (grand) kids from school, or seeing a doctor for an appointment.
Below are some of these short-distance transport options:
1. Public transport
Public transportation involves either the use of bus or metro services.
This form of transportation cost only a little. And, with a concession card [e.g., pensioner concession card], one can secure cheaper tickets on public transport for themselves or a loved one.
Also, for the disabled who needs caregivers, transportation is provided freely for the care-giver with a companion card.
Also, for adults who can’t use public transport without help, a mobility allowance can be an option.
Seniors who reside in rural and suburban areas just outside the city are mostly the benefactors of taxi services.
Taxi services offer door to door pickups, and it might interest you to know that for people for every state and territory.
In Australia, they are Taxi vouchers and subsidies available for disabled people and their careers in different territories.
Some of the territories and their subsidies include;
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
- New south wales (NSW)
- Northern Territory (NT)
- Queensland (QLD)
- South Australia (SA)
- Tasmania (TAS)
- Victoria (Vic)
- Western Australia (WA)
3. Volunteer driver programs
Some non-governmental organizations offer free or subsidized transportation services to elders and the disabled in some communities. These networks of volunteers help provide rides for shopping, doctor’s appointment and other basic needs.
4. Community transport services
Many people seek ways to make life easy and bearable for the disabled. This is why many community groups offer transport for the elderly and people with disability and their careers.
Very importantly, when assessing any of the above services, certain factors should be considered.
Factors To Consider When Assessing Short Distance Transportation Services
In assessing any of the above transportation options, the senior or disabled must consider certain important factors.
- Cost of the services
Is the service affordable, or is there another way for discounted payment? Can insurance cover this transport, or is there a membership card?
- Service requirement
Some transport services require documents like health information. So, before considering any service, check if there is any requirement of services.
- Type of service
The type of service is an important factor to look into.
Is the ride suitable for disabled and wheelchair users?
Is the service accompanied with assistance? Is it a door to door service? Or is the ride a personal ride or accompanied by other passengers?
Another very important factor to consider before assessing any transport service is health conditions. Some health conditions are not suitable for travel, and thus, a doctors consent must be sort for by the elderly or disabled.
Long Distance Transport Options for the Elderly and Disabled
Transportation services are also available for seniors and the disabled who wish to travel far. Travelling is a fun and relaxing activity that is loved by all. Even the sick, disabled and elderly want to experience the treat of travelling.
With the right transport option, travelling is possible for all, no matter the health condition.
Broadly, two major means are available for long-distance travel and transportation; by air and by land. You can transport your elderly or disabled long distances by;
- Driving them yourself
- Use of taxi and Uber services
- Medical van or ambulance, or
Tips For Proper Planning Of Long Distance Transportation
Usually, long-distance transportation involves moving across countries, states or territories. This means that travel and transportation must be carefully planned.
The following are tips needed for proper planning of a travel trip, based on the means of transport.
- Carefully plan your transportation means
Carefully choose your mode of transport. Decide whether you want to travel by air, rail, or road. Always ensure that you communicate with the transport provider about special needs like taking a wheelchair on board an airplane or ordering special meals.
Also, ensure that you plan how you will settle in once you arrive to avoid stressing the person you are caring for. In view of that, you will need to know if the local buses, trains or taxis are available for the person.
When booking accommodation, ensure that the place is accessible.
- Get your travel insurance
This is important in case you or the person you care for needs health care while you are overseas.
- Arrange for emergency medical care
The health condition of the elderly and some disabled is usually unstable. Since travelling long distances involves moving away from one’s doctors, it is important to arrange for emergency medical care, by either hiring a caregiver or travelling with accessible medical information.
Now, let’s look at a few useful organizations which could come in handy when you need some helping hand
Organizations That Provide Transport Options for the Elderly and Disabled in Australia
There are different groups of organizations that provide transportation services to the elderly or disabled in Australia. That is to say that some organizations provide services to the elders only, or disabled only.
The organizations and schemes that provide transport services to elders include:
- Community transport program in north south whale
- Queen’s land government community transport scheme
- St. john community transport services
- Local councils
- Taxi subsidiary scheme
- Government-subsidized public transportation.
Some of the above organizations are national, while others are for some particular states in Australia. They provide both short-distance transportation and long-distance transportation to the elderly.
The organizations that provide transport services to the disabled in Australia include;
1. NDIS transport services
NDIS means the National Disability Insurance Scheme provided by the Australian Government.
They are the major and government-funded transportation service providers to the disabled and elderly in Australia. Many other services of transport, are rooted under them, thus, making several NDIS service providers.
Their services are available to transport elders and disabled smoothly to different places, visit friends and family, go for various appointments and travel far and wide.
And, the cost for this package is usually subsidized. They provide full-fledged assistance to the elder or disabled travelling.
2. The Salvation Army Community Care Act
The Salvation Army Community Care Act is an NDIS service provider. Other than the transportation services, the Community Care Act also provides services to elders living alone and independently.
They work based on their client’s needs. Other services they render include:
- Clinical care,
- Mobility assistance,
- NDIS support,
- Domestic assistance,
- Personal care,
- Allied health services, and
- Social support.
Their service areas include North Canberra, South Canberra, Woden Valley, Belconnen, Western Creek, Tuggeranong, Gungalin, Molongio Valley.
Concerning the cost of their services, their pricing brochure cab be assessed in their website.
3. Alleviate Health Support
This organization is NDIS registered, so it renders NDIS services. They make travelling and transportation for the disabled very easy.
This is done by funding the cost of equipment’s needed for easier within and outside the home. Equipment like stairlifts, electric powered wheel chair and many more.
They also assist in making plans for travel and transportation. Their service regions include; Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Southern Sydney, Sydney inner west, Sydney north-west, Sydney south-west, Sydney outer west, Parramatta region, blue mountains and Penrith regions. [
4. NDIS Allied Health Disability Service
This is another NDIS service provider. Their services encompass in-home care for the elderly and the disabled.
This means that elders and the disabled who are far away from home can receive care services from professionals around them, either through telehealth services, or in-home care.
5. Disability Travel Assistance
This organization provide travel services for the disabled. They provide safe transportation for the disabled and for the caregiver, be it long distance transportation or short-distance transportation. They provide as many services as they can in a day, and they are quite easily accessible.
How To Access NDIS Services?
Mostly the Government of Australia provides transportation services for the disabled at subsidized rates. Before any elder or disabled access, the above organizations of transportation, they must be a part of the NDIS, as most of the transportation services for the elders and disabled of Australia is NDIS endorsed.
Thus, every disabled need to be registered under NDIS. But for those who aren’t, how can they access NDIS.
First, you must be eligible for the services.
To be eligible for the NDIS, you must;
- Have a significant or permanent disability
- Be a citizen of Australia, hold a permanent visa or a protected special category visa.
- Be under 65 years of age
- Need special support from a person or equipment to do activities.
Suppose you or your loved one find yourself under any of the above categories. In that case, there’s a chance of eligibility for NDIS.
Once you’re sure to be eligible, then you can contact the Local Area Coordination (LAC) partners, who will help link you to NDIS. They will also help you create a suitable travel plan.
There are different LAC partners in Australia, depending on where one lives.
Transportation in Australia doesn’t have to be difficult for elders and the disabled who can’t drive or are independent. Now, they can travel easily and cheaply, long-distance or short distance, with transportation options like thorough NDIS services.