Accessible transportation services are vital for enabling older adults to live independently and to age in place in their homes and communities. And these individuals living in these communities require access to medical and other essential services. Reduced access to transportation for needed medical services can lead to missed appointments, emergency hospital visits and lack of continual care. Social isolation due to lack of transportation, especially during these trying times, can have an equally negative effect on physical and mental health.

Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) provides information on options in accessing community transportation resources, including partnering with local Council on Aging transportation programs, the MBTA’s The RIDE service for older adults and people with disabilities, local private companies that provide transportation and MVES’ volunteer based TRIP program.

How does it work? The consumer is referred to the Options Counselor who develops a strategy that incorporates transport services that fit the individual’s particular needs. The Transportation Coordinator then assists the consumer with arranging for transportation at either low or no cost to ongoing chemotherapy, radiation, and dialysis treatments. Transportation rides also include social occasions and grocery shopping.

Without accessible, reliable and affordable transportation, many older adults would not be able to live independently and would need to, unfortunately, make alternative living arrangement decisions. John, a 78-year-old local resident, makes use of The RIDE as he needs dialysis treatment three times a week. Without transportation assistance from MVES to help him apply to use the service, help with payments and assist with troubling-shooting from time to time, John stated he does not know how he would keep everything organized and get to treatment each week. John knows it is critical that his medical condition is continually managed. Because MVES has the ability to help people access and use transportation services through our Transportation Coordination program, we have the capability to work closely, one-on-one, with those who call for assistance to pair them up with the right transportation resource at the least or no cost.

MVES also offers the TRIP Metro North program, a free program where seniors and adults living with disabilities can ride with friends, neighbors and certain relatives to wherever they need to go and MVES will provide mileage stipends to the driver. If you are 60 years or over, or an adult living with a disability and you don’t drive or can’t use or access public transportation, TRIP may help you get to stores, medical appointments and any social activities you enjoy.

TRIP is easy. Each month, participants make arrangements with friends, neighbors, or other individuals interested in helping out — including relatives — to drive them where they need to go. (Children and spouses are ineligible as volunteer stipend drivers.)

The program is one-on-one, and riders and drivers make their own schedules. Together, they keep track of the mileage. At the end of the month after travel, TRIP sends reimbursement for the driver. Participants may work with more than one driver, if that suits their needs. The program is about getting out, staying social and remaining independent.

There are many options to explore for getting where you need to go. Give us call to learn more about MVES’ transportation services, at 781-324-7705 and ask to speak to our Information and Referral Department.

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