Easter Seals Working to Boost Access to Transportation for Seniors

Easter Seals (National Easter Seal Society)
Wednesday, 2 June 2004

AoA's Josefina G. Carbonell launches the non-profit's new resource

Access to transportation is essential for older adults, people with disabilities, and their caregivers as public and para transit options, while increasingly available, are often scarce, cost-prohibitive or difficult to access. Today, non-driving older adults and/or people with disabilities often rely on family caregivers, neighbors and friends for their transportation needs -- creating a taxing and time consuming daily effort for caregivers.

To help, Easter Seals is spearheading Transportation Solutions for Caregivers (TSC), funded by the Administration on Aging's National Family Support Program to both ease the daily challenges caregivers face when transporting a loved one and improve access to transportation for older adults and/or people with disabilities.

Recently, Josefina G. Carbonell, Assistant Secretary for Aging of the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA), helped Easter Seals launch the TSC initiative's newest offering, the Senior Transportation "Options Template," during her keynote address at the Aging Well-Living Well: Fit for Life conference in Chicago.

"Easter Seals' new options template for communities will make a tremendous contribution to the resources available to educate caregivers," Carbonell said.

A Community Template

Developed in collaboration with the Beverly Foundation in Pasadena, Calif., the tool provides community organizations -- area agencies on aging, senior centers, faith-based organizations, aging service providers, transportation systems, motor vehicle departments, and city or county planners -- a way to identify all of the transportation options available to seniors in a particular community. The Options Template is a framework to inventory and assess existing transportation options, gaps and needs and also includes instructions and supportive materials free of charge at www.easterseals.com.

"For many caregivers, the physical constraints and frustrations associated with handling a wheelchair or distracting behaviors are too much, forcing them to stop transporting their loved ones -- only helping for the most essential appointments," said Lisa Peters-Beumer, MPH, project director, Easter Seals Transportation Solutions for Caregivers. "Easter Seals is dedicated to easing this stress, providing communities with the tools necessary to make transportation work for the aging population."

More Solutions for Caregivers

Through the TSC project, Easter Seals has created additional resources to help family caregivers, including:

  • Caregiver Transportation Toolkit and Facilitator Manual: Easter Seals Transportation Solutions for Caregivers -- A Starting Point offers a video, informational booklet and a list of helpful products and resources for family caregivers and volunteer drivers of older adults with cognitive and/or physical impairments.

  • Solutions Package for Volunteer Transportation Programs: Easter Seals provides a comprehensive package of materials to inform and enhance new and existing volunteer transportation programs serving older adults and people with disabilities.

  • Easter Seals is developing a solutions package for Adult Day Services to provide further caregiver support and increase access to needed transportation services. All of Easter Seals' TSC resources are available at www.easterseals.com/transportation.

About Easter Seals

For 85 years, Easter Seals has been providing services that help children and adults with disabilities gain greater independence. Our primary services -- medical rehabilitation, job training and employment, child care, adult day services, and camping and recreation -- benefit more than one million individuals with disabilities and their families each year through more than 500 centers nationwide. For more information, visit www.easterseals.com.

For more information, or to contact Easter Seals (National Easter Seal Society), see their website at: www.easter-seals.org

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