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Aging & Transportation

Aging has a number of benefits.  Hindsight, wisdom, peace, quiet, and a slower pace of life.  Along with the benefits come a series of challenges, though.  Mobility, vision, dexterity & finances can often be compromised as we age.  There are a number of reasons why transportation on a daily basis becomes difficult, but all of them cause the same issue.  Getting from one place to another with ease is harder than it used to be. Often, we just put up with the inconvenience, instead of addressing the problem & trying to fix it.  If you’re ready to tackle it, however, here are a few ways that people solve their transportation problems.

  1. Walkers or canes. If you live in an area where many things that you need are within walking distance (very uncommon in the greater U.S.) & you can still walk with ease, this may be the only aid that you need.  Some people are resistant to this because they feel that doing so will be admitting that they are getting frail.  The reality is quite to the contrary, though.  If you are out walking on a daily basis, your bone density is improving.  Bringing a cane or a walker for support should not bring shame.  Hikers nationwide use  support poles, too!
  2. Three wheeled bicycles. These bikes provide great mobility without having to walk!  They are often made with the aging body in mind.  They’re easy to mount, and have smoothly operating pedals & ample cushioning on the seats.  They also contain basket space for belongings.
  3. Motorized chairs. If you would love to walk or bike longer distances, but your legs or back will no longer allow it, consider a motorized chair.  This will allow you a great deal of freedom, does not require a license, & still allows you to be out of doors on a regular basis.  Another benefit is that it does have a basket where you can carry your belongings or stow the items you’ve purchased on your shopping excursions.
  4. If you live in or near a small town, many offer shuttle services from your home to various shoppes around town at very little charge.  You just need to arrange pick up times with the driver & you’re on your way!  A great benefit is that you do not need to keep up with maintenance on your own vehicle or the licensure & tabs.  If there are many people using the service, you may find times when the timing is inconvenient, but the trade-offs may be worth it!
  5. Bus systems. If you live in a much larger city, you will probably have access to a public bus system.  If you’ve driven your own automobile for your entire life, this may seem daunting, but do not let it scare you.  Bus lines often provide senior discounts & seating near the front for those who need it.  If you’re still a bit timid about going alone, consider asking a friend who has used the system to go with you a few times until you get the hang of it.  Before you know it, you’ll be traveling all around & quite possibly making new acquaintances along the way.
  6. Phone family or a friend. I know, I know.  Most people will bend over backwards before they do this last suggestion because they hate to inconvenience anyone.   But, really, if you need a ride somewhere, there is no reason not to call and see if someone is going your way.  Those whom you care about want to help you in any way that they can and, if they are able, will do so.  Perhaps you can offer to cover gasoline expense or to buy them lunch for their trouble, but it is not strictly necessary.  Often people are really wanting to help, but do not want to imply that you might need help so they refrain.  In asking them, you give them the chance to see that you’re aware of when you need others & are not too proud to ask.  It will also give you time to catch up with one another’s lives & keep you closer!

You may have noticed that none of these suggestions include driving yourself.  That’s because in this article I wanted to address transportation needs that would be helpful even after you’ve deemed that it’s no longer safe to drive yourself.  We’ve all heard of those people who are unwilling to admit that they can no longer see the signs on the road, or that their anxiety while driving in traffic is incredibly great.  We’ve also seen those who are unaware that they are driving sporadically or weaving all over the road endangering the very people that they are afraid to inconvenience by asking for a ride.  Our bodies fail us.  We all age.   Let’s age with grace & dignity! 

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