So many seniors live in areas where there is inadequate public transportation, or they need assistance or special accommodation to get from one place to another. The resulting isolation and loneliness can contribute to depression and a decline in vitality.
Uber and Lyft, on-demand transportation companies are now available in so many metropolitan and suburban areas, are great solutions for those who are accustomed to using a smart phone and the application that is required to take advantage of these services. But since many seniors aren’t, a very smart guy has come to their rescue with a service that helps older adults access and use Uber with ease, using any type of phone.
It’s called GoGoGrandparent and here’s how it works:
First, call GoGoGrandparent to establish an account. A real person will answer the phone to take your information – just your home address and credit card. Having this account means one never has to handle money and there’s no monthly bill to pay. The rides are immediately charged to your credit card.
Then, whenever you want to hail a ride, dial their number (it can placed on a speed dial of course), and press 1 to request pick up at your home, or 2 where you were last dropped off, Or 0 to speak to an operator to schedule a pick up at a different location.
Once you request a ride, you’ll hear a recording stating when the car will arrive, the name of the driver, color of the car, phone number of the driver and the fare. The recorded voice speaks clearly, slowly and is played twice. The price is typically $2.50 on top of the Uber/Lyft fare.
There are two thoughtful features that made me an immediate fan.
The first is that they use only Uber and Lyft drivers with high ratings (4.5/5.0 or higher), that are comfortable driving older people, and who are willing to go the extra step to perhaps fold up a walker or lend a steady hand to help those with a mobility or visual deficiency.
In addtion, you can set up a buddy system. So if your parent or other loved one uses the service the account can be set up so that a text is sent to you or a "buddy" when a call is ordered, when it picks them up and when it drops them off at their destination (see photo,right). This peace of mind is priceless!
I spoke with the founder of GoGoGrandparent, Justin Boogaard, who told me that it was his own grandmother’s frustration with the ride sharing application – the bright screen, the small print - that inspired him to make these services more accessible to seniors.
I’m not alone in thinking this is a terrific service, which was the winner of this year’s AARP Innovation@50+ Live Pitch Event in the caregiving category. It’s available in most places where Uber and Lyft operate and it's worth checking out.
Go to their website and check out their easy-to-follow demo. Or simply give them a call at 1-855-464-6872.
Heads Up: GoGoGrandparent will be available in Spanish shortly.