Driving today can be fraught with stress. It seems everyone is in a rush to get somewhere, road rage is increasing and the cost for gas is skyrocketing. Serious accidents can occur because of texting, distractedness, sleepiness, intoxication or excessive speed.
For many Americans, driving is part of their identity. Their vehicles are more than a means of transportation; they are a symbol of success and freedom. But that freedom comes at a cost, quite literally as gas, oil, insurance, vehicle maintenance and repairs, registration and car payments are expensive.
Seniors contemplating living in retirement homes should consider the pros and cons of choosing not to drive, not just whether they are still capable of driving. According to AAA, “seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7-10 years and for the first time in history we must plan for our ‘driving retirement’ just as we plan for our financial retirement.”
Senior drivers “often reduce their risk of injury by wearing safety belts, not drinking and driving and by observing speed limits; however, seniors are more likely to be injured or killed in a crash due to age-related fragility. With the exception of teenagers, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile driven,” AAA reported.
As we age, our reaction times increase, our vision and hearing begins to deteriorate, side effects from medication can interfere with our driving ability, and sometimes memory and cognitive issues arise. In many states, licensing restrictions are placed on older drivers. In Maryland, for instance, drivers over the age of 40 must submit a vision certification from a doctor when renewing their license, and new drivers over the age of 70 must submit a health certification from their primary care physician. Both Pennsylvania and Maryland require medical conditions to be reported and provide medical review processes to ensure drivers meet eligibility requirements to drive safely.
Deciding when it is time to stop driving can be an emotional issue for many seniors. Older drivers concerned about driving safely while aging gracefully can check out this self-assessment from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. For tips on how families can have this tough talk with a loved one, take our driving quiz.
Whether by choice or necessity, seniors who give up driving need a “driving retirement” plan. While seniors living in cities can often rely on public transportation, suburban and rural residents cannot. However, there are options, including:
- Rides from friends and family
- Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft
- Dial-a-ride programs
- Volunteer driver programs
Transportation for residents of retirement homes
Residents of retirement homes or senior living communities like Country Meadows Retirement Communities can take advantage of scheduled transportation to doctor’s appointments, shopping, cultural events, banks, church/temple, special events and more.
Retirement homes offer an even greater advantage for seniors that choose not to drive: many of the places people typically drive to are conveniently located within walking distance right on campus. At Country Meadows, seniors have access to:
- Fitness centers where residents can participate in exercise classes, use fitness equipment and/or receive one-on-one training from a fitness professional
- Dining rooms and bistros for neighbors to meet for meals and snacks
- Entertainment in common areas, including musical performances, educational lectures, games, movies and learning opportunities
- Chapels for religious services and studies and on-site chaplains to provide counseling services
- Social events such as daily happy hours before dinner, special holiday celebrations and other gatherings of friends
Country Meadows has nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus in Frederick, Maryland. Our retirement homes offer a wide range of options including independent living, personal care, assisted living, memory support and restorative care. If you would like more information about what to look for in a retirement community, information on our services or how we can support you or a loved one, please contact us today.