How Is Transportation Handled in Assisted Living?

Wondering how your transportation needs will be met after moving to assisted living? Here’s everything you need to know!

Assisted Living Transportation Services

At MacIntosh assisted living communities, our transportation services include scheduled outings and transportation to some outside appointments.

Some of our assisted living centers offer transportation to doctors’ appointments either free of charge or for a nominal fee. In any event, we will be happy to assist in arranging transportation to and from your appointments outside the center in the most cost-effective manner that’s in keeping with your needs.

The scheduled outings at each community can be found on the community’s activity calendar and are open to all residents. Some examples of outings residents have enjoyed in the past include trips to local stores and restaurants, bus tours and museum visits.

If residents are originally from the area that the care community is located in, these outings can help them to remain a part of the wider community. If they’re new to the area, they get a chance to explore it and enjoy everything it has to offer.


Related: Transportation Options for Aging Adults in Central Ohio


Free to Come and Go as You Please

Many seniors wonder if they will still have freedom of movement once they move to an assisted living apartment. At MacIntosh care communities, residents are free to come and go as they please.

If you want to join your children for lunch, visit friends or even leave for a vacation, you are more than welcome to do so on your own schedule. We only ask that you let the staff know if you’re going to miss a meal or be out of the center for an extended period of time.

On-Site Activities and Services

MacIntosh assisted living communities are set up to provide you with everything you need to live safely and comfortably. That means that while you are welcome to leave the community when you wish and take advantage of transportation services, you’ll have access to a wide variety of on-site activities and services that eliminate the necessity to travel outside the campus.

For example, our dining programs offer delicious menu options and our activities calendar is full of fun events located right down the hall. All centers are equipped with a full-service salon (services do come with modest fees) and have podiatry, dental, optometry and psychological services available.

You can even see an attending physician at the assisted living community if you choose. You are of course welcome to continue seeing your own physician outside of the center, but this provides a convenient on-site option for residents.


Related: Is it Time to Give Up the Keys?


Poor Transportation Can Lead to Poor Health

Transportation (or lack thereof) can be an issue for seniors who live at home, especially in rural or suburban areas where public transportation is not available or easily accessible. If they do not have access to a car, no longer have their license or are unable to drive, public transportation may not be able to fill that gap for seniors.

Even in cities, seniors may be affected by what’s known as a transit desert, an area where the demand for transportation exceeds the supply.

Lacking proper access to transportation can have serious health consequences. In their article, Traveling Towards Disease: Transportation Barriers to Health Care Access, Samina T. Syed, Ben S. Gerber and Lisa K. Sharp found that transportation barriers often translate to barriers to healthcare access.

“Transportation barriers lead to rescheduled or missed appointments, delayed care, and missed or delayed medication use. These consequences may lead to poorer management of chronic illness and thus poorer health outcomes,” they wrote.

They found this problem to be compounded in the older population.

“The elderly may face a unique combination of access barriers due to disability, illness and likely a greater need for frequent visits to their clinician,” they wrote. “Among the elderly reporting any barrier to health care access, 3–21 % reported having transportation barriers.”

At an assisted living community, those barriers are eliminated. You’ll have access to both on-site services and transportation to outside appointments to ensure that your health needs are being met, along with health and wellness monitoring.

Senior Transportation Resources

If you are still considering a move to an assisted living community but are having some difficulty with transportation or safe driving in the meantime, these resources can help:

AARP Driver Safety

AAA Senior Driving


Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging


Communicating with Your Parent’s Healthcare Providers

Adults over 65 visit physicians at more than twice the rate of adults aged 18-64. So as your parent ages, it’s likely their office visits may increase due to changing health needs. It’s also likely that you will be asked to join them on their visits to provide support and help them communicate with their doctor. Here are some tips on how to best to communicate with your parent’s healthcare providers

Getting Involved in Your Parent’s Medical Care

After having a conversation with your parent to make sure they’re on board with your involvement, you’ll need to make sure that your parent’s doctors are allowed to share medical information with you.

To do this, you can fill out an Authorization for Release of Information form. The doctor’s office will likely be able to provide you with such a form, but you can also find forms online. This form allows your parent’s doctor to share health information with you.

Now is also a good time to sit down with your parent and create a medical history. A medical history is a comprehensive record of a person’s health. AARP recommends that you include:

  • Name, birth date and blood type.
  • Allergies (drug and food).
  • Medications (including dosages).
  • Doctor’s visits and dates.
  • Dates and results of tests, procedures or health screenings.
  • Information about any major illnesses or surgeries.
  • Notes about lifestyle habits, such as drinking, smoking or exercising.

If you are becoming a partner in your parent’s healthcare, this list can be extremely helpful. You’ll have all of the most critical information at the ready for any future appointments and for your own knowledge.

What to Ask During a Doctor’s Office Visit with Your Parent

Before your parent’s next visit to the doctor, come up with a list of questions and concerns you’d like to bring up with the doctor. Work on it with your parent so they feel included and can add their own questions and concerns.

Here are some examples of questions to ask the doctor:

  • What is the diagnosis?
  • What are the treatment options? What are the benefits? What are the side effects?
  • Will my parent need a test? What is the test for?
  • What will the prescription do? Are there side effects? Will it interfere with current medications?
  • Are there foods my parent should or should not eat? Is there any activity they should avoid?
  • Is there anything we need to do before the next appointment?

It’s possible that there are things that your parent will not want to bring up in front of the doctor and may feel ambushed if you do so on your own. For this reason, it’s a good idea to go over your concerns beforehand and discuss what each of you would like to gain from the appointment.

Ask your parent—is there anything you don’t feel comfortable talking about with the doctor? It may be something that needs to be addressed and if this is the case, talk through it with your parent. It’s always best to ask ahead of time, though, so your parent does not feel uncomfortable or embarrassed during the appointment.

Barry J. Jacobs writing for AARP advises setting an agenda of sorts for the appointment.

“The caregiver and aging adult should strategize about what they want to accomplish during their meeting with the physician: Are you seeking information about medication side effects or the outcomes of prescribed treatments? Do you plan to report new symptoms or concerns? Or is your goal merely to ask questions about general health and lifestyle issues?” he says.


Related: Ask the Expert: How to Involve My Parent When I Help Them


What If My Parent Cannot Communicate Directly with Their Doctor or Healthcare Providers?

There may come a time when your parent is no longer able to communicate with their doctors due to a medical emergency. To prepare for this possibility, your parent can create an advance directive or living will.

Advance directives spell out the type of treatment a patient wishes to receive in the event they are unable to communicate. It would include your parent’s wishes on things such as:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Mechanical ventilation.
  • Tube feeding.
  • Antibiotics or antiviral medications.
  • Comfort care (palliative care).
  • Organ and tissue donations for transplantation.

Keep in mind, you and your parent do not need to make any decisions on your own. Talk with their doctor if you have questions about any of the treatments outlined in the living will.

Your parent may also want to appoint a medical power of attorney, especially if there is a question of who among your siblings will be the primary decision-maker in the event your parent is unable to make medical decisions for themselves.

The Importance of Good Doctor-Patient Communication

Clear communication with your parent’s doctor is vital to their health. Good communication can prevent medical errors and reduce repeat office visits.

Communication is particularly important for older adults with multiple healthcare providers. For example, your senior parent may have a primary care physician, a surgeon and a specialist who all need to be kept on the same page. They may be in a long-term care community or rehabilitation center, meaning their medical team will include therapists and nurses.

You are not alone in caring for your parent, as all of these medical professionals are there to help. Your main goal is to advocate for your parent and help them communicate with their healthcare team to ensure their needs are being properly met.

If you need help caring for your parent, MacIntosh is here to help. Contact us today if you have questions about your parent’s care.