When selecting an assisted living or senior living center for your parents, it's important to help them maintain a sense of independence. Freedom to travel throughout the community is essential. Your parent may want to do their own grocery shopping or simply visit local parks each week. This is why it's important to address transportation concerns before settling on a community for your loved one. Here are just some of the things to take into consideration as you begin your search for the ideal assisted living community.
If your parent is still able to safely drive, you'll want to know if a car can be kept in the parking lot. Some facilities may provide resident parking, but others may have restrictions on residents being able to drive or come and go as they please. Should your parent be allowed to keep a car on the facility grounds, ask to see where the parking space will be located with respect to your loved one's room or apartment. A long walk may make accessing the vehicle difficult. You'll also want to ask about any additional charges or fees for keeping a car parked in the lot.
Assisted living communities may plan outings and events for the residents, which can include transportation. The facility may own one or more vans to provide this transportation. Ask about how often these outings are planned and who will be driving. The best facility will run background checks to ensure only safe drivers are responsible for transporting your loved one to local shops, parks, and other recreation locations.
Local Bus Service
Some facilities, particularly those in urban or suburban areas, may enjoy access to public transportation. Local buses can provide a sense of independence and freedom for residents who are no longer able to drive. Look for bus stops along the way toward the assisted living community, noting how far of a walk the closest one is to your parent's potential new home. You may also want to look at the bus routes to see which local attractions and stores your loved one might have access to on the bus line. Some municipalities offer senior discounts for bus passes, making the option of traveling independently throughout the community that much easier.
If your parent is not able to drive or make it to a local bus stop, you'll also need to make sure they have a way to get to regularly scheduled medical appointments. Ask the director of the assisted living facility how arrangements are made to transport residents to and from the doctor's office for routine checkups and sick appointments. You'll want to make sure your parent is able to seek medical care outside of the facility as it becomes necessary.