If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know one of my biggest concerns is transportation options for seniors. The ability to get safely to appointments and run errands can mean the difference between independent living and assisted living. If we as a society are embracing the concept of living at home until we die, we need to address these issues.
Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services have been a godsend for me, who otherwise uses public transportation to get around Atlanta. But using these services requires downloading a smartphone app, and not every older person has such a device or is interested in learning how to use one.
While Medicaid covers transportation expenses for medical appointments, Medicare does not, leaving middle class families like mine scrambling to make transportation arrangements. When I was my mother’s caregiver, it was one of my biggest challenges. My mother also had a difficult commute to visit my father in the memory care center. More safe, trustworthy transit options are needed.
Envoy America has expanded to the Houston area, after starting operations in Arizona in 2015. The door-to-door transit service, targeted to the older population, offers features like waiting with a person at a doctor’s appointment, and multiple stops. They’ll also push the cart and get hard-to-reach items at the grocery store. Drivers receive background checks and are specially-trained to work with older clients, including those with memory issues.
The rides aren’t necessarily cheap, but they do offer many more amenities. The service essentially combines a ride share company with a personal care aide. Envoy America charges by the hour instead of distance. In Houston, the average rate is $40 per hour, according to KHOU.
Envoy America has partnered with organizations like the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic and religious organizations.
My Mom would have loved such a service!
The company is expanding gradually which makes sense, and it may be a long time, if ever, that rural populations are served. I hope the concept catches on, because I think there’s a huge, underserved market waiting for just such a service.