Did you know Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is the first week of every December? While the annual driver safety event often only gains national attention for a week, a major consideration remains: How do Older Americans, especially our Florida seniors, stay mobile when it’s no longer safe for them to drive?
Each of us, no matter what our age, knows that handing over the keys can cause a profound sense of lost independence. Even if an older loved one understands it’s for his or her own good, it does not necessarily make the decision any easier. Further, a greater concern may be that seniors can be essentially confined to their homes unless reliable transportation alternatives are secured.
We know the challenges that you and your loved ones are facing. Let us us share several ways older adults can meet their mobility needs without driving that you can review for yourself or share with your aging family members, friends, and neighbors.
1. Family and Friends. Riding with family, friends or neighbors to the grocery store or a medical appointment can be both convenient and cost-effective. Creating a regular transportation schedule with trusted loved ones can be optimal, together with creating back-ups to the primary driver. Technology-friendly seniors can also utilize online carpooling apps, or consider keeping their cars and hiring a home-caregiver to drive them around.
2. Public Transportation. When available, buses, shuttles, trams, and other forms of public transit are excellent mobility resources. Many cater to seniors with discounted rates and preferred seating. Adult children may need to accompany senior parents at first to help build confidence.
3. STPs. Supplemental Transportation Programs, or STPs, are local programs designed to help seniors who can’t afford to rely solely on taxis, or are unable to physically walk to a bus stop and climb into a bus or shuttle. STPs are low-cost, community-based services that are usually staffed by friendly volunteers. You may learn more on the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website by clicking this link.
4. Private Rides. Taxis and ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft can be great options for healthy seniors who leave their homes occasionally, require minimal physical assistance, or live in areas without easily accessible public transportation. Costs can add up, however, but the convenience may be well worth it and you may want to discuss it as a family.
5. ParaTransit. Disabled seniors often struggle with traditional forms of transportation, as mass transit and private taxis aren’t always amenable to their needs. Paratransit services in Lee County are specifically intended to serve these vulnerable populations, and they often may do so to great effect.
We know just how difficult it can be to discuss driving concerns on your own and with your loved ones. This is a conversation that we can help you navigate now, or any time throughout the year.. Do not wait to contact our law firm at any time to schedule a meeting with Amy McGarry.