The Best Ways for the Elderly to Avoid Driving
When it comes to the need to transport oneself, being older can make doing this difficult, dangerous, and expensive.
We live in a country that fell in love with automobile ownership many years ago, but when this happened, times were different. Cars and gasoline cost less, people didn’t drive as much, and driving was safer because there was much less congestion on our roads.
Furthermore, maintenance, insurance, and similar issues were much less expensive.
Finally, those who were younger then are now old, which makes driving under current conditions increasingly unsafe for them and those who share their roads.
Aging Causes Problems
There is no getting around the fact that as we age our abilities to function diminishes—in some people more quickly than others. We also suffer from ailments that require medications, some of which affect our ability to drive safely.
For this reason, the elderly need to be realistic about their situations and try to find ways of dealing with transportation issues without having the need to any longer own automobiles.
The questions older people need to address regarding this issue depend on how old they are, the medications they take, their ailments and their geographical locations. To ignore them is to create unexpected problems that can land them in nursing homes or worse.
What to Do
Those who are reasonable realize at some point that driving has become more of an expense and chore than a pleasure.
Nonetheless, they must find some way of transporting themselves that they can afford, are able to do and will replace the need for owning an automobile.
Fortunately, there are a number of choices available right now, with more on the way as time goes on.
For many years now retailers of all sorts have offered the option of direct shipping. They make returns easy and inexpensive, and for those who shop online, it is easy to make choices and compare pricing.
No need to drive anywhere if you use services like these.
In some instances, transport can be replaced by using delivery services that were not previously available.
For example, big retailers such as Wal-Mart and Amazon that already have excellent options for shipping products have recently added options for delivering groceries as well. There is a charge for this type of service, but it is much less expensive, safer, and more convenient than having to drive to the store to make such purchases. It’s a simple matter of picking up the phone and placing an order.
More important is the fact that grocery chains that never delivered to people before now must do so as well if they wish to compete, so it’s a win-win for the consumers!
Many pharmacies now offer delivery services as well.
The only caveat here is that the new laws require people to pick up narcotics personally with a prescription from their doctor in hand.
However, those who no longer drive can make special arrangements to have a designated person to pick these drugs up for them, or ask a neighbor, family member or friend to drive them to the pharmacy as needed.
Meals on Wheels
Those who are too ill to be able to prepare food for themselves can use the services of an organization called Meals on Wheels. Each day, for a small fee, a large meal is delivered directly to the elderly person's home. There is usually enough food for two sittings, and while the food is simple in nature, it is nutritious and frees the sick person from the worries of shopping, driving, and cooking.
Some restaurants recently have started delivery services as well, which means that people who don’t drive can still enjoy their food without ever having to leave the house.
In fact, there are now companies that will ship previously cooked meals or their components (with directions for preparation included) right to your door!
So, as you can see, many of the day to day things people need or want to purchase can be provided easily and at a reasonable cost.
These services make daily living much easier and safer for the elderly and also provide a level of independence they could not otherwise have.
Many elderly live alone, so when they get sick, transporting themselves can be impossible.
In emergencies, they can go to the hospital by ambulance, but not every situation requires this type of help.
Fortunately, many facilities offer free or low cost pick up and drop off services for visits to doctors and hospitals which allow older people the convenience of making appointments without having to depend on others to transport them.
All of the things mentioned in the delivery services section of this article are choices people can use if they don’t want or need to physically go to places where they do business.
These can be used in conjunction with public transportation that may be available in their locations such as bus service, monorails or trains.
These types of services are good for those who ambulate well because they are the least costly ways of getting from one place to another. However, they are somewhat inconvenient and can be uncomfortable to use.
Those who have enough money to do so can use car transport services such as taxi cabs, Uber and Lyft.
Despite their costs, these services have become very popular because they are so convenient and easy to use.
If you want to get an idea of what it costs to use them, you can find this information on the Uber website by using their cost calculator
People who are trying to decide whether it will cost less to use these types of services than to own and drive their own automobiles need to have some way to compare the two. This chart put out by Kelly Blue Book can help.
Each situation is different, so while using car services may actually cost less in the long run for some people, it may not work for others.
Much depends on where you live, the type of car you own or is provided by the service, how often you use the service and similar factors.
Cost Is Just One Issue to Consider
While the expenses that are involved in making either choice matter greatly, people must also consider issues such as safety, convenience and the overall effects that these choices can have on them as they age.
Driving always creates risk. Aging increases the possibility of accidents. For these reasons, the elderly must decide whether continuing to own and drive their own cars is the best way for them to maintain their independence, or if using some combination of delivery services and other forms of transportation would be best.
Taking the time to look at the charts I’ve included in this article will help people to decide, but obviously this is a difficult choice for those who have enjoyed the freedom and independence involved in driving themselves from place to place.
One More Option
For those who simply cannot decide, there still is one option out there that will soon be available to many: self-driving vehicles.
Right now these cars are still being tested, but before long they’ll become available to the general public and may well resolve this entire issue for those who will be able to afford them.
How wonderful it would be for the elderly to simply get into a car, turn it on and tell it where to go!
They would be able to maintain their independence, drive safely and continue to function as before.
Many, like me, can’t wait for these autonomous automobiles to be made available. They’ll be well worth every penny!
Do you think the above options are preferable to an elderly person owning and driving a car?
© 2018 Sondra Rochelle