Don't Worry. Uber is Safe for Independent Seniors Like You.
Are the GenXers helicopter parenting their parents? As if they don't have enough to worry about attending their children's job interviews, right? We got you. You're 60 years old and independent. You may be 95 and still drive -- well, thank you very much. (Feel free to send this to your over-involved kids.)
One thing is certain, many older Americans (some more senior than others) are social, independent, and enjoy being self-sufficient. So, yes. It is safe for independent seniors to use ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. This article specifically addresses Uber. Perhaps your city has other options like ZipCars which is an app-based car rental service. So, back to Uber.
“Rideshare services are perfect for seniors who don’t live near family or who live in a town that doesn’t have much public transportation. Uber and Lyft-type services allow the person to stay independent longer.” Robin Schiltz
When we start categorizing “senior citizens” as older Americans above the age of 55, why, that’s quite a large group. These young-to-old Baby Boomers are fiercely independent and often don’t want their children or grandchildren to take them back and forth to run errands. And asking for help? That’s hard for most independent people.
Even the 80+ crowd often take shopping trips together with their friends. This becomes a great way to socialize as they carpool. Sharing the cost of an Uber is a thrifty option, especially if you choose to ditch your car (and the maintenance and insurance costs).
“Instead of having to rely solely on family members or public transportation, seniors (whether they have smartphones or not) can use the Uber platform to get where they want to go on their own.” Uber
The presumption of a generation who put a man on the moon aren’t into technology is naive at best and ageist at worst. Older Americans, especially independent seniors, have computers, access to the internet, smart phones, and streaming services. So, why wouldn’t they also want to use a rideshare service like Uber?
"People aged 65 to 74 had the highest proportion of Internet access among the older population (83 percent) and people 85 and older had the lowest (55 percent)." Census.gov https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/acs/acs-38.html
Though Retirement Living equates Uber with Taxis, I tend to believe Uber is a safer option. Why? Uber checks the background of the driver, you know who is picking you up and in which car, that vehicle also passes a safety inspection, and you can share your ride status with friends.
“Riding with an Uber driver is about as safe as riding in a taxi. The company does background checks on drivers and makes sure the drivers have newer cars that are insured.” Retirement Living
With that said, it’s important to stay inside until your ride arrives. Check the car’s plate and description as it arrives. Open the back door and say, “Hi, I’m Bridget.” Be sure they say their name. Then hop in, fasten your seat belt, and share your trip status with a trusted friend. (That’s a good tip even for single women who are dating.) Ensure that your phone is charged (not at 10%) and that the Uber app is connected to a credit card (or PayPal) that has funds available.
Whether you’re in a wheelchair post hip-replacement, have a walker, or have other reasons for needing assistance, Uber Assist is there to help with trained professionals. They can both help you in the vehicle and put your walker or wheelchair in the trunk or cargo area.
“Every Uber Assist driver has completed an independent training from a third-party organisation about how to help riders into vehicles.” Uber
If you choose to take an Uber to a medical procedure that is fine. However, it’s not recommended that an Uber pick you up -- especially if you have been sedated. It’s better to rely upon our local family or network of friends (https://www.seniorlifefyi.com/post/good-friends-the-families-you-choose) for this type of ride.
Regardless of the tools you choose, it’s nice to know you have options. After all, that’s what independence is really about: the ability to choose. If you like this article, sign up for our newsletter and share it with your friends (or those helicoptering kids of yours). ;)