At 10am, we receive a call from Mary looking for home care for her mother, Patricia. Patricia lost her driver’s license about a year ago and has been experiencing increasing balance and mobility issues due to declining vision. Mary lives out of town but is visiting and recognizes Patricia need for care at home. Our representative drives to Patricia’s house for an assessment, to get a better understanding of her needs, one of which is a caregiver who can drive her to appointments.
Senior Transportation Limitations
We are lucky to live in an area with ample public transportation, but balance and cognitive issues can remove those options. Lack of transportation access is a primary reason senior citizens move into assisted living facilities, despite the overwhelming preference not to. AARP found that over 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their homes, even if that means less social interaction and sometimes dangerous driving.
How Uber Health and Georgetown Home Care Work Together
In the assessment with Mary and Patricia, our representative shares our new partnership with Uber Health. Using Uber Health, our caregiver can accompany Patricia to her appointments and errands. We pay upfront for the Uber then include the charges on Patricia’s bill. This eliminates the need for a smartphone (a device senior citizens are far less likely to possess). As an added bonus, the price is comparable to what Patricia would be charged for mileage reimbursement and parking, so why not opt for the added convenience?
Tech-based solutions for seniors, who grew up in a very different time, can be bothersome. Many seniors are intimidated by smartphones and anxious about getting into a presumably unmarked car, such as an Uber. Only about 40 percent of seniors own a smartphone, even fewer seniors (30 percent) over age 75 are smartphone owners, however older seniors are more reliant on dependable transportation and are more hesitant to use mobile apps like Uber. In the last decade there has been a fundamental shift in health care from a fee for service system to a fee for outcome system. The overall health of the patient is now the focus, rather that the individual procedure. Making follow up appointments and regular doctor visits are critical to the health of older adults, yet one in five seniors citizens do not drive.
Patricia voiced her concerns about Uber but ultimately gave it a try. The following day Tina, her caregiver arrives. After getting Patricia up and out of bed and ready for the day Tina sends a text message to our office requesting an Uber for herself and Patricia. They need to get to a doctor’s appointment and then meet up with one of Patricia’s friends. We use our Uber Heath platform to send the Uber, Tina gets a text message with the driver’s information and within minutes they are off to the doctor’s office. We call Patricia that evening to check in and see how Tina’s first day went. Aside from positive reviews about Tina’s caregiving, Patricia said “the convenience of Uber is just wonderful, I love it. Some of my friends don’t use it and I have no idea what that is about. The experience was very positive and I will definitely be doing this again”.
Impact of Uber Health on Transportation Services for Elderly
By the time our clients use our services, they need more than just a ride. This partnership provides the best of both worlds, allowing our client to feel confident in their ability to get around town as well as the security of a helping hand. “From speaking with our clients I know they feel secure when using Uber with their caregiver,” said Zelda Ferguson, one of our scheduling coordinators, “a lot of our clients do not want to be left alone.” We explained to Mary and Patricia that because the driving is handled by Uber, our caregiver can be with Patricia at all times. There is no dropping her off at the front of the building, spend 20 minutes looking for parking (DC) while she is waiting there alone and then make her walk 5 blocks to the car or wait another 10 minutes after the appointment. It takes the hassle out of driving and gives good caregivers the chance to work with someone they may not have been able to in the past, due to their own transportation restrictions. Using Uber has taken away a major pain point for both our clients and employees.
The job market in senior care is really tough for someone who cannot drive, and non-emergency medical care costs are through the roof. We at Georgetown Home Care recognize this and are thrilled and thankful to have a partner like Uber Health to chip away at both issues.
Find out more about Georgetown Home Care’s senior care services.
Read the press release: Georgetown Home Care Announces Partnership with Uber