In our previous post, we discussed self-assessment and setting limitations, if necessary. If self-assessment reveals dangerous driving habits, or a medical condition is impairing your ability to drive safely, then it may be time to give up the keys.
Hanging Up the Keys
Adjusting to life without a car may be challenging. Most likely you’ve been driving your whole life and it feels like quite a shock. It’s normal to be frustrated, angry, or irritable. You might even feel ashamed or worry that you are losing your independence. However, it takes a lot of courage to stop driving and put the safety of yourself and others first. You may also find there are many benefits to living without a car that you may not have considered.
- Save money on the cost of car ownership, including car insurance, maintenance, registration, and gasoline. These savings can pay for alternative transportation if necessary.
- Improve your health. Giving up the car keys often means walking or cycling more, which can have a hugely beneficial effect on your health. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s good for your mind, mood, and memory.
- Expand your social circle. While many seniors have difficulty accepting ride offers from others, this can be a good time to reach out and connect to new people. Find a way of accepting rides that makes you comfortable. For example, you can offer a friend money for gas, or trade off on other chores, such as cooking a meal in return for your friend driving.
- Appreciate the change of pace. For many, stopping driving means slowing down. While that may not sound appealing to everyone, many older adults find that they actually enjoy life far more when they live it at a slower pace.
The more alternatives you have to driving, the easier the adjustment will be. You want to make sure that you can get out not only for essentials like doctor’s appointments, but also social visits and enrichment. Feeling housebound can quickly lead to depression.
- Public transportation. Check your local public transportation options and ask about reduced prices for older adults.
- Ride sharing. Family members, friends, and neighbors may be a resource for ride sharing. Offer to share the costs or to return the favor in a different way, such as cooking a meal or helping with yard work.
- Community shuttles/senior transit. Your local community may have shuttle service available, especially for medical appointments. Your local place of worship may also offer transit options.
- Taxis, Uber or private drivers. Taxis may be a good option for quick trips without a lot of prior scheduling. You can also look into using Uber, if available in your area, or hiring a chauffeur or private driver.
- Walking/cycling. If health permits, walking or cycling when you can is a great way to not only get around but also get some exercise.
- Motorized wheelchairs. Motorized wheelchairs can be a good way to get around if you live in an area with easily accessible stores and well-paved streets.
Next Week: For Families – Tactfully Taking the Keys.
This is an excerpt from an original post at www.caseydevoti.com.