How to Use Lotsa Series 1: How to Coordinate Carpooling to Appointments

Caregivers can sometimes feel like they have taken a second job as a taxi driver since so much of their time is used coordinating rides between doctor’s appointments, physical and occupational therapy sessions, kid’s sports, and various meetings. If your schedule is filled with places to be, you may want to consider using your Lotsa Community to coordinate carpooling to appointments.


Organizing Your Schedule

The first thing you need to do, before you can delegate driving and coordinate carpooling is organize your schedule. Get your calendar out and write down (or add to your online calendar) every appointment and meeting you have to attend. Make sure you include weekly, monthly, and other standing appointments. Get a good idea of what upcoming tasks will look like including times and locations. Which are your busiest days? Are there any days that you are double or even triple booked? Are there any appointments that you know you won’t be able to drive to? Prioritize your driving. Which appointments do you need to be at and which appointments can others help with?


Reapplying Your Time

Once you know which appointments you can delegate to others, consider what else you want or need to do during that time. Is there a specific class or event that you have given up because of standing appointments? Are there other appointments you could attend or could you use a nap? Request help with appointments that allow you to use your personal time efficiently and enjoyably.


Discovering Who Can Help

Don’t shy away from asking for help because you are unsure who might be available. An appointment might be near someone’s favorite grocery store, along their way to the post office, or another regular stop. When you add carpooling to appointments to your Help Calendar in your Lotsa Community, make sure to include the address and time frame. Also, include a note about whether you need the driver to stay with your loved one at the appointment or if they are welcome to run another errand during the appointment. This will help friends and family analyze their own calendars and discover whether or not they can help. Also, remember you can choose to make your Lotsa Community private so that only friends and family will be able to see the calendar, appointments, and locations.


Eager Drivers

Never underestimate the value of an eager driver. Carpooling and ridesharing is a great option for college students, new drivers, and others who want to help and may not have a car of their own. If the person you are caring for has a car in addition to your own you may find yourself with more vehicles than drivers. If your loved one can no longer drive or can’t drive temporarily, carpooling is a great way to keep the car in use and avoid a dead battery or other problems. If there are friends and family in your life that you know might want to help in this way, you may want to direct them to your Lotsa Community and encourage them to volunteer for this help.



Getting It Scheduled

The logistics of getting carpooling scheduled are simple. Go to your Lotsa Community help calendar. Enter a name or description of your task, such as “Carpooling to doctor’s appointment.” You can also give specific instructions. Choose the time and date that you need a carpool and choose whether this tasks repeats weekly, monthly, etc. or even not at all.  You can also have the task repeat multiple times after entering the details the first time. When a friend or family member goes to the calendar, eager and willing to volunteer, they will see days that still need volunteers highlighted in green. They can click on those days and tasks and sign up to be your driver or to carpool. When they return to the site at a later time, they will see a little icon, shaped like a person, designating that they have signed up for that day.

If you only want to give certain friends and family members information about carpooling and the ability to volunteer to help, you can set up a Carpooling Group in your Lotsa Community. Choose specific members to be in that particular group then designate that task for that group only.


Save More than Time

The AARP reminds readers that carpooling can be a great way to save money. As you are scheduling carpooling, you may want to up the driver responsibilities, so that everyone involved contributes to gas costs. If you have friends or family who have appointments in the same location, you can take turns driving everyone to that appointment. It also allows for efficient use of gas, by incorporating various errands into one drive, thereby limiting the number of times you have to drive into town or to a certain area.


Put Someone in Charge

Caregivers find themselves balancing a great number of tasks and responsibilities. One of the benefits of your Lotsa Community is the ability to designate specific individuals as coordinators of very specific tasks. For instance, you can designate someone as your “Rides Coordinator” or “Carpooling Coordinator.” Their name and title will be listed on your page and you can include contact information such as phone numbers. When friends and family want to help with carpooling they can contact that person specifically for information about ride needs.

Carpooling saves time and money and can give the caregiver some flexibility in their schedule. Adding this task to your Lotsa Community Task Calendar gives friends and family an opportunity to volunteer. In fact, when people ask, “How can I help?” this is an easy answer because friends and family are accustomed to running errands and driving to appointments anyway. Your community will be happy to discover this task on your calendar!