Do you know what type of accessible transportation options are available to you in your community?
Having accessible transportation is one of the many important factors to creating age-friendly communities throughout our province. No matter how old we are or where we live, having access to adequate transportation that supports us through the spectrum of our life is essential to promoting quality of life, reducing social isolation and providing us with equal access to the community. Accessible transportation options allow older adults to stay engaged in their communities in a variety of ways (e.g., employment, recreation, volunteering, etc.), as well as ensuring access to important services (e.g., health care, shopping, banking, etc.).
Most rural communities and cities across our province have what are known as “handi-vans”, accessible vans or “community” vans. Access to these types of services is essential for older adults who have a disability but is also important for those who no longer drive and could benefit from the services of a community vehicle. The difference between something like a volunteer driving program and an accessible transportation service is that the vehicle is modified to support someone with a disability which could involve mobility and agility limitations, chronic disease, hearing loss, vision loss, and cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s and who may use a walker, wheelchair or other mobility device.
As more older adults are choosing to age in place, communities and service providers need to be proactive in planning to have a variety of options that can connect individuals between communities and to services in an affordable way. As an organization we believe that the concept of “Sharing a Ride” is important for drivers but it also benefits accessible transportation options like “handi-vans” or community vehicles. If we can fill the accessible vehicles with people heading for the same destination, then we can reduce the cost and make it more of an enjoyable social outing. In many other cities around the world neighboring communities work together to support older adults with transportation services because it becomes more economical and more environmentally friendly for our planet.
Providing equitable, affordable and accessible transportation services benefit everyone in the community. If you’re thinking about moving to a new home or aging in place, it’s important to look at what type of accessible services would be available to you even if you don’t need it at this moment. Successful aging includes planning ahead for your transportation needs and also to plan for those unexpected moments in life.
For more information on accessible transportation services, please contact your local senior resource co-ordinator or senior resource finder. These service providers are valuable tools to support you and your transportation needs.
Transportation Options Network for Seniors (TONS) informs, educates, promotes and gives voice to the need for transportation options that will enhance the quality of life for all Manitobans.
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