Personal transportation plan could ease car conundrum
A recent column described the difficult choices faced by older people who can no longer drive safely. This is an important issue that has been largely overlooked, leading to danger on our roads (if our elders continue to drive past their time of competence) and mental stress (for elders who give up their cars and those who take on the burden of transporting them).
Many of us have watched the heartbreaking process when our older loved ones have faced this conundrum. But there are alternatives. First, everyone over a certain age should develop a personal transportation plan. This should be as important as a financial plan and a health care plan. An individualized transportation plan can be flexible, changing with a person’s circumstances. It has the important advantage of begin self-initiated and not imposed from an outside entity, keeping the feeling of independence.
As a start, I suggest exploring the option of walking to errands, social events, etc. Then there is the option of public transit. People facing the eventuality of carelessness should start early to become familiar with the bus/train lines: their frequency, routes, and costs. Those with a comfortable late-life income could also budget a certain number of taxi or Uber rides per month. Agencies such as the AARP and the Erie County Department of Senior Services could provide guidelines and workshops to assist.
Hopefully, some day the loss of a car later in life will not be fraught with the uncertainty and despair that we see today.