Drivers for the Elderly

Many families that hire a live-in caregiver for their loved one anticipate the enhanced freedom that comes when a caregiver can drive their  elderly loved one around so they don’t have to. It’s a little like the way parents feel about getting their child a car so they can drive themselves around to all their sporting, school and social events. But there are some important issues that must be considered when a hired caregiver is driving the elderly.

Does The Driver’s Insurance Provide Coverage for Everyone?

First, insurance companies do not cover people who transport someone in their own vehicle while being paid. The caregiver’s agency may provide liability insurance but the caregiver’s car will not be covered for physical damage. The best way to negate this problem is to provide a vehicle for the caregiver to drive. The owner can give anyone permission to drive so as long as the vehicle is properly insured, it should be ok. If you or your loved one have a vehicle hang on to it for the caregiver to use (only when they transport the person they are taking care of).

When Is It A Bad Idea For A Caregiver To Provide Transportation Services?

For a caregiver to take a patient (especially someone with dementia) to doctor’s appointments without an accompanying family member is not in anyone’s best interest. They are not family and should not be used as a surrogate for a family member who is responsible for them.

What Else Should I Know?

As a general rule, people who drive do not usually make good long term live-in caregivers. Why? It’s because people who drive tend to be independent in nature. To be tied closely to a geriatric person for days, weeks and months on end requires a special person. Sooner or later, a person who drives will all too often start finding excuses to go out or take time off more frequently, requiring frequent relievers who may or may not be familiar with the case. If they start leaving the customer unattended, it can be a serious problem and you may not be aware of it until something goes wrong.

If you have a live-in caregiver and your loved one will need to be transported from time to time, consider alternative means of transport.  Options to consider include:

  1. Having a family member drive them
  2. Senior Care Transportation services which often use accessible vans and buses
  3. Your local church, synagogue or other religious organization which may have volunteers that will assist with transportation needs
  4. Public Transportation which will often have special rates available for seniors (remember, you caregiver can accompany them)
  5. Taxi or Private Care for occasional or spur-of-the-moment travel needs

It’s best to have a few options on hand with contact numbers and rates readily available so that you can address any transportation needs that may arise.

About Scott Ellis