Updated: Oct 7
Reliable transportation is a key ingredient in the recipe for healthy and happy senior citizens. Unfortunately, many older adults who have given up the car keys lack consistent access to rides when they need them. The inability to get to doctor’s appointments, to the pharmacy, to the grocery store, or to social events with friends creates big problems for seniors. The resulting involuntary isolation impacts them on every level. Their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health may suffer as they are increasingly unable to meet their own basic needs.
Seniors need transportation alternatives more than ever. And today, thanks to the miracle of the internet, there are more options than ever. Online ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available in just about every city, including the Nashville area.
Are seniors actually using these online ride-hailing apps? Unfortunately, no.
More than half of adults over 65 own smartphones, the Pew Research Center has reported. Yet among adults 50 and older, only about a quarter used ride-hailing services in 2018 (up from 7 percent in 2015). By comparison, half of those aged 18 to 29 had used them. In a survey by AARP last year, only 29 percent of those over 50 had used ride-hailing apps. Two-thirds said they weren’t likely to do so in the coming year, citing in part concerns about safety and privacy.
Fortunately, a few forward-thinking organizations around the country, including two in Middle Tennessee, have designed ride-hailing programs specifically for seniors. These programs deliver the convenience and accessibility of an Uber or Lyft in a way that many older adults find more comfortable. And the cost of each trip is often far less expensive than online apps.
Modeled after Davidson County’s successful Senior Ride program, which launched in 2017, Senior Ride Sumner pairs Hendersonville seniors who need rides with volunteers who can provide them. Senior Ride Sumner launched in spring 2019 and the organization’s founders hope to expand the program to Gallatin.
Ride-hailing programs like Senior Ride Sumner are giving new life and new hope to seniors and the families who love and care for them.
For more information or to volunteer for Senior Ride Sumner, call 615.431.2660 or visit their website.