It’s all about independence, self-esteem, and connection.
Baby boomers are one of the most auto-centric generations in U.S. history. According to studies by University of Texas Professor Sandra Rosenbloom, older adults between the age of 65 and 84, make 90% of their trips by car; and those over 85 years old use a car for 80% of their trips. Seniors most often drive to either take care of basic needs or stay involved in the community. With such a big reliance on a car, its important to figure out how you can safely keep driving.
Five common outings include:
- Medical Appointments for doctor’s visits, medical tests and treatments, therapy sessions, and exercise classes.
- Shopping Errands for groceries, toiletries, supplies, clothing, gifts, and other essentials.
- Community Functions at churches, libraries, recreation centers, and volunteer locations.
- Entertainment and Cultural Events in theaters, museums, sports arenas, and restaurants.
- Celebrations and Social Gatherings with family and friends.
Because over 75% of adults over the age of 65 live in auto-dependent rural and suburban locations, having a license and car, or access to someone to who can give seniors a ride, is a must. Further studies have shown that giving up driving increases mortality, a move to a senior living facility, and isolation and depression. This makes sense considering:
- 54% of non-driving seniors opt to stay at home on a given day versus only 9% of senior drivers;
- 65% passed on trips for social, family, or religious activities; and
- Non-drivers made 15% fewer trips to medical appointments.
With this in mind it’s critical that caregivers and their loved ones take every opportunity to extend their driving ability and develop a plan to use viable transportation options once it’s time to stop driving.
“Our Infrastructure Fails Seniors Who Don’t Drive, And That’s A Problem For Everyone,” Charlie Sorrell, 04-19-16, https://www.fastcompany.com/3058785/our-infrastructure-fails-seniors-who-dont-drive-and-thats-a-problem-for-everyone
“Better Options for Older Adults,” Helen Kerschner and Joan Harris,https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/07mar/03.cfm
“Meeting Transportation Needs in n Aging-Friendly Community,” Sandra Rosenbloom, Journal of the American Society on Aging, https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/livable-communities/old-learn/transportation/meeting-transportation-needs-in-an-aging-friendly-community-aarp.pdf