For older adults and their families, few decisions are more difficult than when to stop driving. The conversation about hanging up the car keys can be uncomfortable for families, but it can be downright frustrating for older adults. After all, driving signifies independence, and surrendering the car keys can translate to sacrificing a privilege you've been granted for nearly your whole life.
But surrendering your keys doesn't necessarily mean a lack of independence or sudden isolation. One of the best ways to make the adjustment from driver to passenger easier is to know your alternatives to driving.
The more alternatives you have to driving, the easier the adjustment will likely be. Here, we've listed a few common transportation alternatives for older adults.
Ride Sharing: If your children approached you about surrendering your keys, they may be prepared to fill the transportation void with their services. Other family members, friends and neighbors can be great resources for ride sharing, too. You can return the favor by offering to share the costs of gas or by picking up the cost of lunch or a movie.
Public Transit: Public transit (buses, subways, even trains) is readily available in urban areas. Most public transit services even offer reduced prices for older adults.
Walking/Cycling: If your destination isn't too far and your health permits, walking and cycling are efficient ways to get around while getting exercise. Before deciding on this option, make sure your route has safe sidewalks and all intersections have marked crosswalks with working pedestrian lights. Also, avoid walking or cycling during the hottest part of the day, noon until early evening (about 5 p.m.).
Taxis or Hired Drivers: Calling a taxi is a great option for quick trips that are short distances away. You can also look into hiring a chauffeur or private driver a few days a week for running errands.
Medical/Church Shuttles: If you have a medical appointment at the hospital, check to see if it offers any shuttle services. Churches, too, often have transit options for members. Your local community may also have a shuttle service available, especially for medical appointments.
Kendal at Home provides transportation services for members, most of which are included in your monthly fee. To request more information about Kendal at Home, or its affiliates Kendal at Oberlin and Senior Independence, contact us today.