The Senior Care Transportation Guide: Evaluating Your Parent's Transportation Provider

How to make sure the arrangement is working well

It's a great feeling to have finally arranged for transportation for your parent.

But that's only half the battle.

Now, you need to make sure that all parties involved -- you, your parent and your transportation provider -- are happy with the arrangement, that it's a reliable one, and that you're getting the quality of service you expect. By setting up a clear plan for managing and evaluating your service needs at the outset of the relationship, you'll get the best outcome and positive experience -- even if you have to make adjustments along the way.

Here's how:

Start Your Relationship off on a Trial Basis.

    One month is a good length for a trial, since your parent will need more than a week to adjust to the new routine and new person. Only after the adjustment period will you be able to tell if your parent is thriving in the arrangement.

Establish a Clear Process for Communication.

    Do you prefer to communicate in person or by phone? Or a mix of both? What are your transportation provider's preferences for how to be contacted? These are all questions and answers you should bring up at the outset of your relationship rather than on an as-needed basis. Emergency protocol and a backup plan (and a backup to the backup plan) are crucial elements of any good relationship between provider and employer.

Set Expectations

  • Establish a plan and schedule for  exchanging information.
    • Discuss cancellations and last-minute changes in advance.
    • Make sure you and the care provider are clear about these expectations.

Drop in Unexpectedly to See how Your Parent is adjusting to the new arrangement.

    Interviewing a provider is one thing, but actually observing the way the provider and your parent interact when they aren't expecting you can give you crucial information about how the situation is evolving.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask "Dumb Questions."

    Many employers are afraid to ask the obvious, and therefore open themselves up to surprises or ambiguity about what is actually transpiring. Ask, ask, and ask again! If you want to know if the transportation provider helps your mother in and out of the car, ask. Does he carry her packages for her? Your transportation provider will most likely be more than forthcoming with the information, but may not think to automatically fill you in on the details -- or assume that you want to know. Don't be shy -- he'll be more than happy to help set your mind at ease.

The Bottom Line

    Hiring someone to drive your parent once she can no longer safely drive around is a big transition, both for your parent and for you. If the driver is reliable, kind, and pleasant to be with, as well as competent, it can help your parent make that difficult adjustment.

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Ronnie Friedland is an editor at She has cooedited three books on parenting and interfaith family life.

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