Nearly everyone looks forward to retirement. We plan and save and occasionally even dream about it, but rarely do we consider how we will manage our lives when our health begins to fail. A primary example of this is driving. How will you handle being unable to drive? Who will provide your transportation?
With 62 being the average age of retirement, many retirees can spend two or three decades (or more) in retirement. Unfortunately, it is highly likely that at least some of those years will involve significant health challenges which may limit the ability to drive safely.
According to a recent report by John Daley of National Public Radio titled: “It‘s Never Too Soon To Plan Your Driving Retirement”, a lack of transportation is a huge issue that most people refuse to address. Moreover, the inability to drive can contribute to isolation, depression and poor health care outcomes. Dr. Emmy Betz, an emergency medicine specialist quoted in the NPR report recommends that families plan ahead and map out transportation alternatives. “It’s sort of the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, but it’s an issue that is coming for most of us and our family members and so denial isn’t probably the most helpful of options,” she says.
As seniors face the inevitable health challenges, planning ahead is the safest and most effective way to address issues like driving. Our Secretary of State has a free resource titled: “Michigan’s Guide for Aging Drivers and Their Families” which offers information and resources to help maintain safe driving. Ignoring the problem often leads to family arguments, hurt feelings, hiding car keys or even worse; car accidents and serious injuries. While no one wants to report an unsafe driver, in some cases it can be the only way to handle a dangerous situation – particularly if the driver has refused to acknowledge the problem.
In today’s society, driving is an important part of maintaining independence. No one looks forward to the day when they have to rely upon others for transportation. However, by planning ahead, a person can improve their chances of driving longer while minimizing risks to themselves and others.