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Getting around when you're getting older

Nothing quite beats the feeling of freedom and opportunity you have when you first get your driver’s license as a teen (or maybe later!). The ability to go anywhere you want, whenever you want, feels like a rebirth, an awakening to a whole new world of possibility. For our entire adult lives, we take for granted the ability to just get in a car and drive, to the store, to the movies, to anywhere we want. It’s no wonder then that elder driving is such a contentious issue.

It is of course a reality that as we get older, we lose some of our fine motor skills and reaction time, just by virtue of aging. It may also be more difficult to see clearly enough to drive safely and navigate the increasingly complex traffic situations in our towns and cities. These factors often sadly culminate in an elder person losing their ability to drive safely, thus barring them from the freedom of transportation that a car provides. But even more tragic than the loss of a car and the ability to drive, is the feeling of connectedness and social interaction that driving yourself around town can provide. For someone who has been transporting themselves around for decades, being unable to do so can be stifling and depressing.

But transportation does not have to be limited to solely driving. There are many other ways in which elders can get around town and retain some of that feeling of independence and freedom. One of the most common is of course Public Transportation, whether it be taking the bus or using one of the elder-centric transportation services provided by many municipalities. Some of these services include daily runs to the grocery store, or the mall, or a myriad of different destinations and opportunities for elders to get out of the house. For a more specific destination, using a car service, a taxi, or a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft can provide quick, safe transportation as well.

One of the things that Geriatric Care Managers provide as part of a comprehensive assessment is a look at transportation options and weekly activities. Just because an elder is unable to drive themselves anymore doesn’t mean they are permanently trapped to only traveling within walking distance. Things like doctor’s appointments, grocery store trips, even things like bingo are still options for elders. A geriatric care manager can coordinate and in many cases personally provide transportation to these locations and events. Coordinating with an elder for their transport needs is one of the critical roles of a Geriatric Care Manager.

If you have questions about an elder relative or friend, and the changes that come to their life when they can no longer drive themselves, please don’t hesitate to give Senior Steps a call for a free consultation!

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