Planning Ahead: Transportation Options for When One No Longer Drives 0
Posted on 3, July 2018
in Category Senior Choice
One of the most challenging things for older adults is to give up their car keys. They are not just losing their ability to drive. They can feel as if they are losing their ability to be an active member of the community, see their friends when and if they want to, go shopping when they need to and schedule appointments with their doctors when they have to.
Many of you may have dealt with their angst at needing to let go of that sense of freedom and independence and have felt their anguish. They experience a deep sense of loss at having to be dependent on others for all those tasks that they did so naturally their entire adult life.
Maintaining one’s ability to stay safely behind the wheel is a top priority, especially for those who do not use public transportation such as buses, taxis and rapid transit (i.e., subway systems). There is no arbitrary cutoff as to when someone should stop driving; everyone ages differently. However, older adults are more likely to receive traffic citations and get into accidents than younger drivers. Factors such as decreased vision, impaired hearing, slowed motor reflexes, and worsening health conditions can become a challenge. Aging might limit and result in a reduction of strength, coordination, and flexibility, which can have an impact on one’s ability to control a car. (source: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/how-aging-affects-driving.htm)
So, what happens when it is time to hand in the car keys and become the passenger?
This may be a difficult situation to adjust to at first, however if one keeps an open mind and positive attitude, it may not be as bad as it may seem. Here are a few ways that one can adjust to this new situation:
- Services such as Uber and Lyft, which are peer-to-peer ridesharing and taxicab transportation networks, can be a great solution. Once an account is set up on a computer, tablet or smartphone, the individual can summon a driver who will provide them with point-to-point transportation. Riders are quoted the fare that they will pay before requesting the ride. At the end of the ride, payment is made based on the rider’s pre-selected preferences, which could be a credit card on file. The rider also has the option to provide a gratuity to the driver, which is also billed to the rider’s payment method. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uber#How_it_works).
- While Uber and Lyft are primarily smartphone-accessed, there are companies that can schedule rides for someone if they do not own the latest technology or do not feel comfortable using it to schedule their rides. Companies such as Go Go Grandparent (855-464-6872 (GOGO-USA)) make this process easy and affordable for seniors. With just a few easy steps, you simply call their phone number and they set up an Uber or Lyft ride within seconds.
- Local public transportation services such as the Norwalk Transit District can also help seniors with their transportation needs. For example, in Westport, Door-to-Door transportation service with the Town of Westport is available to seniors who are at least 65 years of age and as well as people with disabilities.
- Home care agencies such as Friedman Home Care can provide one-on-one transportation services with professional, trained caregivers
- Family members and/or friends who live nearby may be able to help. Similarly, if someone is a member of a local religious group such as a church or synagogue, a volunteer member(s) of that group may also be able to drive the person at times.
Having conversations with one’s healthcare providers and family members about their safety, including but not limited to the elimination of driving, is crucial and should be a priority.
Senior Choice at Home, the Continuing Care at Home program of Jewish Senior Services, also helps its members with transportation needs, whether temporary or permanent. Transportation to medically necessary appointments, for as long as long its needed, is among the many lifetime benefits that the program provides for its members. Additionally, when a member is receiving care from an aide or companion at their home, they will be driven to wherever they need to go, such as a lunch date with friends, grocery shopping and religious services, while receiving hands-on stabilization assistance if necessary.
Although not being able to drive may be an inconvenience at times, it is something that one may be able to be overcome with patience and an open mind, especially if one wants to remain living as independently as possible for as long as possible…Think of it as your own personal chauffeur service.