When we think of “escorted transportation,” luxurious images may spring to mind, such as Hollywood starlets in limousines, stepping out onto the red carpet. However, for an elder facing physical and cognitive disabilities, escorted transportation is far from a luxury. From an able-bodied person’s perspective, going to a doctor’s appointment or running an errand is a simple matter. But for a senior citizen, these outings are far more daunting than they first appear, making an escort an absolute necessity.
Escorted transportation, step by step
Let’s take a look at what happens when an elder – we’ll call her Mrs. Jones – has the escorted transportation she needs for a single doctor’s appointment. Along the way, we’ll get insight into some of the dangers she may have faced if she’d gone alone.
It’s 9 a.m. on the day of Mrs. Jones’s appointment with her endocrinologist. Mrs. Jones has diabetes, and her doctor wants to meet with her to discuss her most recent test results at 10 o’clock. Her home health aide, Fran, wakes her up and makes her breakfast. Without Fran, Mrs. Jones is at risk of missing her appointment because she takes several medications that make her drowsy. There is a very real possibility of her oversleeping, even if she sets her alarm clock.
At 9:30, Fran makes sure Mrs. Jones has on her coat, hat, scarf, and gloves for the blustery day outside. In addition to diabetes, Mrs. Jones also has arthritis, which makes it difficult for her to put on her coat and button it, tie a scarf, and complete similar tasks.
9:45: Fran drives Mrs. Jones to the doctor’s office. Diabetes caused Mrs. Jones to lose some vision in both eyes years ago, so she no longer drives. There is no public transportation near where Mrs. Jones lives, the cab service in her area is unreliable, and her family lives too far away to take her to appointments. Without Fran, it is unclear how Mrs. Jones would go to the doctor’s at all.
10:00: Mrs. Jones and Fran meet with the doctor. He is pleased with her latest test results. He says her blood sugar levels look better than they did the last time, but there are a few things he’d like her to work on before their next appointment to make them even better.
Mrs. Jones nods and listens while Fran takes notes. She is hard of hearing, so she only understands about half of what the doctor says. In addition, receiving a great deal of information at once often overwhelms Mrs. Jones, so Fran writes everything down for them to discuss later. Fran even asks a pertinent question or two that Mrs. Jones didn’t think of.
10:30: The doctor says he’d like Mrs. Jones to have additional blood work done in three months, and to make an appointment with him after that. He leaves Fran and Mrs. Jones with his secretary to make the appointment. Mrs. Jones doesn’t carry a calendar because of her poor vision, and occasional hand tremors mean she wouldn’t be able to write down the appointment time anyway. Fran whips out her calendar and makes the appointment, safely tucking away the prescription for blood work as well, so Mrs. Jones doesn’t have to worry about that either.
10:45: Mrs. Jones and Fran are home, and the latter begins making preparations for lunch. Fran sets up Mrs. Jones with her favorite television program before going into the kitchen. She calls Mrs. Jones’ daughter to discuss the appointment with her. Fran knows Mrs. Jones herself is likely to forget to call, since she sometimes has memory troubles.
Consider escorted transportation for your elder
As you can see, escorted transportation can help a variety of elders with many different medical conditions. And such assistance isn’t confined to doctor’s appointments – grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, even visiting family – these are all things with which an escort can help. Talk to the elderly loved one in your life, and see if they’d like to set up escorted transportation in the future.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.