Transportation assistance is available to help local seniors

With inclement weather upon us, this can be a time of worry for seniors, who might be struggling to keep up with the cognitive and physical demands of driving, and their families .

According to the U. S. Department of Transportation's recently released statistics, fatal accidents involving senior drivers over the age of 65 increased by 8.2 percent in 2016.

Residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights are fortunate to live in a walkable community. But when bad weather or physical limitations make that too difficult, there are several transportation alternatives available.

The city of Cleveland Heights has a medical van that runs Monday through Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:20 p.m., and transports residents ages 60 and older to medical appointments, shopping trips and errands. Call 216-691-7377 for more information.

The city of University Heights partners with Senior Transportation Connection to provide subsidized rides for residents to medical, social and personal appointments. Rides are available during the day, as well as evenings and weekends. Call 216-265-1489 for more information.

RTA offers discounted bus and train fares for passengers who are 65 and older. RTA also offers its Paratransit service for individuals unable to travel on public transit without assistance. For more information, visit

GoGo Grandparent, a national transportation service, makes it possible to order on-demand transportation—Uber and Lyft—by telephone, without needing a smart phone app or computer. For more information, call 855-GOGO-USA (855-464-6872).

When seniors and their families need help deciding if it is time to retire from driving, help is available. Keeping Us Safe is a program developed by a retired Ohio State trooper, and is dedicated to “saving lives . . . one family at a time.” Its Beyond Driving with Dignity program is a three-hour, one-on-one driving self-assessment exercise, conducted in the comfort of the senior’s residence. It includes several pen and paper cognitive and memory-related exercises, an actual on-road driving exercise in the senior’s vehicle (assuming it is safe to do so), and an in-depth “learning conversation.”

Colleen Beard, Cleveland Heights resident and owner of CareSpotlight, is a senior advocate and certified Beyond Driving with Dignity professional. “It is an honor to work with senior drivers and their families, in the Heights community and beyond,” said Beard. “This can be an extremely difficult and emotional conversation for many families to have with their loved one. Sometimes professional intervention and support is necessary.”

Learn more at or contact Beard at 216-659-5519 or For more information on Keeping Us Safe, visit

Judith Eugene

Judith Eugene is a native of Cleveland Heights who provides life-enrichment classes and activities for senior adults and those with physical and mental challenges. She can be reached at 216-408-5578 or

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:41 AM, 12.04.2017