Lyft Healthcare and its community partners tackle senior mobility
Reliable transportation is essential for everyone. However, getting access to it can be a significant challenge for seniors.
Older adults represent one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country. As the American population continues to age, it’s increasingly important to address their transportation concerns. Seniors encounter difficulties due to limited mobility, reduced access to public transportation, and the inability to drive. This transportation insecurity greatly impacts their ability to run errands, attend medical appointments, and engage in social activities.
Recognizing this need, Lyft Healthcare is committed to providing reliable transportation options for older adults. We’re proud to share how our collaborations with leading organizations such as Common Courtesy, Area Agency on Aging, and Sutter Care at Home have helped improve seniors’ health and wellbeing through access to transportation.
In 2007, Bob Carr witnessed an elderly driver narrowly avoid a serious accident. This inspired him to create a transportation service where seniors who could not or should not drive had a place to call and access reliable transportation. For the last 15 years, Bob and his wife Anne have run Common Courtesy, a non-profit which has successfully provided transportation to over 26,000 seniors across 5 states.
Common Courtesy works with a number of organizations, including government agencies, healthcare providers, non-profit agencies, and individuals to ensure that those in need can reach their destinations safely. When someone calls Common Courtesy, they are connected with a dedicated Travel Logistics Coordinator, lovingly known as their “TLC.” TLCs ensure a smooth transition for seniors by guiding them through the Lyft platform, preparing them for their first ride, and requesting rides via Lyft Concierge. Seniors can rely on Common Courtesy to get to medical appointments, grocery stores, even a Food as Medicine Prescription Program where patients pick up groceries from a hospital’s on-site Food Pharmacy to help them address chronic diseases and food insecurity.
Bob emphasizes the organization’s commitment to addressing social isolation. “Through our parents we saw firsthand that social isolation actually leads to illness and depression—it’s a downward spiral. We knew we had to cover transportation for more than just medical appointments. Our service had to help give seniors a better quality of life.”
Area Agency on Aging
Area Agency on Aging in Maricopa County, Arizona, launched Elder Trip in response to the pressing need for transportation to COVID vaccine appointments. The program with Lyft Healthcare was designed to help ensure access to reliable transportation to and from vaccine appointments for seniors in the county. Today, Elder Trip continues to operate and has become a lifeline for seniors, offering over a thousand rides per month to those who would otherwise struggle to attend critical medical appointments. This vital service is available to seniors who do not have access to a personal vehicle and are unable to utilize transportation assistance through other programs, such as their health plan.
“The Lyft Healthcare program has been a heaven-sent for our clients,” said Mikayla Bear, Trip Coordinator at Area Agency on Aging. “There was one cancer patient whose doctor thought there was a chance she could beat it if treated aggressively, with treatments three times a week. She had no reliable way of getting to and from these appointments, so we took her on as a member. She just let us know she is officially cancer free. Her doctor said this would never have been possible without Elder Trip.”
Sutter Care at Home - San Francisco Home Health
In addition to offering transportation services to help seniors get out of their home, organizations are partnering with Lyft Healthcare to reach individuals who receive care at home.
Sutter Health’s Sutter Care at Home (SCAH) is a not-for-profit home care organization serving Northern California with a mission to deliver compassionate, person-centered care at home. Nearly 75% of the SCAH patients receiving home health services in San Francisco are seniors and for many, their care team’s visit is their only social interaction of the day.
Prior to partnering with Lyft Healthcare, the only option for SCAH’s San Francisco care team was to drive to patient visits. This became a source of frustration with the daily challenges of traffic congestion, limited parking options, and expensive parking fees in a densely populated, urban environment. Because of this, SCAH had to think outside of the box and find a way to be more efficient.
SCAH partnered with Lyft Healthcare on a program where the care team can opt to use Lyft and go from visit to visit seamlessly—no driving, parking, or submitting mileage reimbursement expense reports. Since launching, SCAH has seen a significant impact in clinician efficiency and attracting talent. “Lyft Healthcare has been a huge help with clinician satisfaction,” said Mark Wheeler, CFO of SCAH. “Before Lyft Healthcare, SCAH’s care team would drive around looking for street parking, then have to walk multiple blocks to a patient visit. With Lyft Healthcare, it’s a win-win. Now when our clinicians walk into a patient’s home, they are less stressed and can focus on providing excellent patient care.”
As the senior population continues to grow, it’s even more important to address their unique needs and challenges. “Lyft Healthcare’s mission is to help people lead healthier lives with the world’s best transportation. We hear heart-wrenching stories about older adults who no longer have access to transportation, from a senior whose license was taken away, to a widow whose spouse was the primary driver. We are incredibly proud to partner with Common Courtesy, Area Agency on Aging, and SCAH to help seniors maintain their independence and enable their care teams to deliver the best care possible,” said Betty Yen, Head of Healthcare Partnerships at Lyft.
Lyft Healthcare will continue to prioritize the development of innovative solutions and expand our partnerships to better meet the transportation needs of seniors. By doing so, we aim to enhance the quality of life for older adults and empower seniors to actively participate in their communities.
To learn more about Lyft Healthcare or how to get started, please visit us at https://www.lyft.com/healthcare.