5274 Scotts Valley Dr., #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 831-430-0616 www.VisitingAngels.com/CentralCoast 229 Reindollar Ave., Suite E Marina, CA 93933 831-392-0876
Behind the Wheel Helping Seniors Stay Independent
E very year, I have the pleasure of meeting with hundreds of seniors. I get the opportunity to hear their stories, learn about their struggles, and help them discover resources that will help. In my experience, the most difficult thing that can happen in a senior’s life, besides fighting an illness, is giving up driving. There are many reasons why seniors might not feel safe behind the wheel anymore. Some people struggle with diminishing eyesight or find that their reactions aren’t as quick as they used to be. Other seniors have memory issues. I’ve heard many frightening stories over the years about seniors who were in the middle of driving when they forgot where they were going. For family members, it can be scary to think about Grandma or Grandpa being behind the wheel of a car. No one wants to answer the phone and learn their loved one has been hurt in an accident. My grandmother gave up driving at age 85 after she got into an accident. She was turning left at a light, the sun was in her eyes, and she couldn’t see the other car coming. She ran right into them and totaled her beloved Volvo. My grandmother was bruised up, but she recovered. Fortunately, the other driver wasn’t hurt, but my grandmother decided right then and there that she wasn’t going to drive anymore. She didn’t want to be a danger on the roads. At the time, my grandfather was still able to safely drive, so he could take my grandmother around town after she gave up her license. But few seniors are as fortunate. Many don’t live near their family members, and those who do don’t often reach out for rides because they don’t want to be a bother.
“There are many reasons why seniors might not feel safe behind the wheel anymore.”
Today, there are various transportation options to help seniors get around, but these can be difficult to use for a number of reasons. Visiting Angels can help in a lot of ways. Our Angels can find maps of public transit, help fill out applications for shared-ride programs, or teach seniors how to use ride-share apps like Uber or Lyft. They can even provide seniors transportation to and from appointments if these trips are made during their visiting hours. We can’t keep seniors’ lives from changing when they give up driving, however, I am grateful that our Visiting Angels can help with transportation, making things a little bit easier. We know that independence is often a crucial component to happiness. We want to help seniors maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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