How do our transportation needs change as we grow older? How can our communities prepare for the dramatic shift in demographics we will experience over the next few decades?
The Endowment for Health has set into motion a collective impact initiative with the following long term goals. In order to reach these goals, access to transportation options is essential:
- Advocates for Elder Issues are Effective In order for elders to self-advocate, they must be have transportation to meetings and other venues where these issues are discussed and decided. For elders who do not drive, this is nearly impossible at present, due to a lack of transportation, especially for evening meetings such as zoning and planning boards.
- Support Provided to Caregivers and Families There is a looming shortage of paid caregivers in this country and especially in New Hampshire. Having affordable transportation options will widen the pool of caregivers available.
- Fundamental Needs are Met Transportation options are a minimum requirement for non-drivers to access fundamental needs such as food and health care.
- Quality Physical and Mental Wellbeing Supports are in Place In order to access these supports, elders will need transportation options when they can no longer drive.
- Social and Civic Engagement Options are Plentiful Transportation service in rural areas is often limited to medical or social service appointments and trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, due to a lack of funding. Even where trip purpose is not limited, service hours usually are. Service on weekends and in the evening is almost nonexistent for most. This makes social and civic engagement for non-drivers challenging at best.
- A Broad Range of Living Arrangements if Available When transportation options are combined with affordable, accessible housing in walkable communities, elders are able to remain independent longer.