Need to find a senior assistance/transportation service in Pasadena, CA
September 11, 2019 9:41 PM   Subscribe

My mother has reached a point where she needs frequent doctor visits, sometimes on short notice, and I am not always able to drive her and be there with her. She could also use some help with shopping errands. I've never had to find a senior assistance kind of service; there seem to be many in Pasadena, but I don't know how to find a good one.

This may be more information than needed, but:

Complication #1: most of her doctors are 1 hour away in other towns (Fullerton), so doctor visits are not short trips. (The doctor's locations are a hold-over from where she lived last year. Obviously we'd like to find closer docs but haven't yet.)

Complication #2: She doesn't have a smart phone and doesn't know how to use one, so services such as Lyft that rely on them are not feasible for her. She has, and can handle, a basic cell phone. She has a home computer and can handle email, and can use simple web portals.

Complication #3: She has bad arthritis, so needs a service that understands and can handle people with mobility issues (crutches, walkers).

Aside from that, she has Medicare – I don't know if that makes a difference w.r.t. finding services like this.

She has no other children or relatives in the US, and no friends that can drive her (her only friend is unable to drive her), and I need to find assistance for her before I lose my job from taking so much time off...
posted by StrawberryPie to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don’t know if she would qualify for Access Services?

Also, here is a new taxicab service that she might qualify for: WDACS New Freedom
posted by amapolaroja at 10:58 PM on September 11, 2019

Ask at her doctors' offices. They may already have patients using certain car services, specific health aide agencies, or independent p/t workers, and having good experiences.

Getting around within Pasadena itself, your mom would be eligible for Dial-A-Ride. If her (only, non-driving) friend is also a senior, they might enjoy getting involved with the Pasadena Senior Center (activities, movie matinee Fridays, and a larger support network in general). There's also a South Pasadena Senior Center, which seems more focused on social programs and outreach (age and geographic restrictions apply for some services).

For help running shopping errands... maybe deliveries, for now? Long car rides to doctor's offices can be handled by a reputable car service. (Unless she also needs someone in the doctor's office with her?) But managing shopping bags while negotiating the walker/crutches, with arthritis, is difficult. Or dedicate a couple of Saturdays a month to take her yourself, if you're local?

I think you're right about Medicare not covering these services in your mom's current situation. Hey, is she a churchgoer? Her pastor might be a good source of recommendations for companion care, and some religious communities have services and volunteer groups to help their senior population.

CA Dept of Aging - general help numbers (the "get transportation to appointments" help link is on the left, but calling may be easiest).

Re: fear of getting fired. Does your employer have more than 50 employees? Taking time to take your parent to doctor's appointments is something that's covered under FMLA. Many more details to sift through here.

Yes, she ought to prioritize finding doctors in Pasadena. But please also think about long-term planning, too, especially if you don't live nearby. Best wishes.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:00 PM on September 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

My family is in a similar situation with my frail 90 year old mother who lives an hour away with only Medicare. She has no smart phone and does not use a computer. To take her to afternoon appointments, I have to take half a day off and drive 75 miles from my job to her home then another 20 miles to her appointment. It's exhausting.

She is resistant into getting into a stranger's car alone because of her fear of being assaulted, stealing from her, etc. That ruled out certain Lyft type services that were geared towards seniors because of horror stories of being stranded and up pricing.

I did contact her church and the Lions club in her area who had volunteers who were willing to drive her.

The local county has senior services that provide free transportation within her county to medical appointments and shopping which required a week's notice to coordinate.

I am interested in hearing from others in similar situations.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 4:49 AM on September 12, 2019

My employer provided a membership to which lists providers of elder care services. My employer even paid for 15 days of caretaker service for my father per year.

So, first suggestion, check with your employer since they may have elder care benefits to help you. Also, you can legally apply for family medical leave to help your mom. The days you take off for elder care do not need to be consecutive. Not sure about retroactively asking, but going forward is definitely an option.

Secondly, even if your employer doesn’t provide, you may benefit from a personal membership. It’s like only for caretakers.

Finally, there are medical transport companies who can take your mom and who could do so with her comfort in mind. They were helpful when we needed to transport my dad in a wheelchair.
posted by rw at 6:20 AM on September 12, 2019

211 might be able to refer you to an appropriate service. There's stuff listed online but you can call 211 for health/community services referrals all over the US and Canada.
posted by emeiji at 10:07 AM on September 12, 2019

A friend has used Go Go Grandparent to arrange rides for another friend with physical limitations. They've been happy with it. Essentially, it is using Lyft or Uber without a smartphone. Go Go Grandparent arranges the rides for a concierge fee, in addition to the fee Lyft or Uber charges.

Signing your Mom up for Meals on Wheels Pasadena would ensure someone was checking on her regularly and that she had food. Knowing she was being checked on may help ease some of your worries and stress.

Being a caregiver is super hard work, especially when the care giver has their regular job. Big hugs to you! Definitely check with your employer about Family Medical Leave. And don't forget to be gentle with yourself.
posted by socrateaser at 4:52 PM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

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