After They Retire from Senior Driving: Stage 5 - You Can Preserve Your Parents' Independence

After senior driving there is still work to do. Your goal is to help your senior parents maintain their freedom and independence after they retire from driving. If this is not provided for, experience has shown, there is a strong link between not driving, isolation, depression and a host of other concerns. There is also a definite link between independence and joy.

The Creator of the Independent Transportation Network, Katherine Freund said it this way,

“I think of mobility as something essential, like oxygen. This is going to sound hokey, but there are two kingdoms -- plants are rooted, and animals are not. We need to be able to move. It’s fundamental to have mobility and to feel free. When the only way people can really get around is a car and then you take that away from them, they fight. It’s that basic.

“People are aging normally, but the transportation system is broken. By creating an alternative that is truly acceptable, I wanted to make it possible for people to make good decisions and feel good about themselves.”

Create a Transportation Freedom Plan

Question 1. Where does your Mom or Dad need/want/like to go?

Make a complete list of everywhere that your parent would normally need to travel on a weekly basis. The card club, the hair dresser, grocery, lunch group, church. Then consider the places where they have irregular appointments, doctor appointments, banking, and the like. Finally, where do they like to go for fun? You can make alternate arrangements so these are not out of reach after senior driving.

Question 2. Who can help?

List every informal resource that is already available to your parents after senior driving: family in the area (don’t forget teen grand children that are safe drivers), close neighbors, friends that attend the same functions, rides offered through the church.

Question 3. What will really work?

Pair up the informal resource that’s available, how often they could COMMIT to doing it (reliability is essential for your parent). And then notice the gaps.

Question 4. What else could we choose?

What public transportation options are available and acceptable in your area. You need to check how the pick up happens, what the schedule is and wait times. How close does the route comes to your parent’s destination? How much does it costs? (and how do they pay for it? You don’t want an option that requires your parent to carry a large amount of cash.)

Question 5. Where are the gaps?

You want to make sure that the plan you make is realistic and workable. Don't just put it on paper. Try out the route with your parent to see how far the walk is, or if there are steps or other issues that would present a barrier. Are there other creative choices in our community? There may still be some alternatives that you had not previously known about.

The goal is to recreate a customized transportation system so that your mother or father can keep participating in the things that bring them, life, vitality and some joy.

Other forms of transportation after senior driving

You have charted informal help from family, friends and neighbors. Next you checked available public and private transportation options like shuttles or taxi services. But there may still be other options. Look for STP’s or ITN’s in your community.

An STP is the Supplemental Transportation Network. It’s a network that extends across the country in all 50 states, (and Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.) but is organized community by community. Their purpose is to provide alternative transportation to elders after senior driving, or perhaps who can drive only under limited circumstances (e.g. evening rides for those that can’t drive at night).

STP’s are designed to be more flexible than other forms of transportation. Taxi’s, for instance, are not available in all communities. The driver does not help you from door to door, or inside. It can be expensive.

Supplemental Transportation Networks are committed to service for the elderly. They can tailor what they offer to the specific needs of your parent. No need to walk to a bus stop, or even to the curb if they are unable to do that. They even have an option called “door-thru-door” meaning they would escort your parent from inside their house to inside their location to see that they got there safely. They don’t have a specific route or schedule that they are bound to, and they can make several stops if your parent needed to combine a doctors appointment with a couple of errands along the way.

Some of these programs use paid drivers, others use volunteers with their own cars. But all of the STP drivers are screened and trained to meet the specialized needs of the, often frail, elderly. These are excellent services after senior driving.

The Independent Transportation Network (ITN)

"ITN provides rides with door-to-door, arm-through-arm service to thousands of seniors nationwide. It's a truly innovative solution with unique programs that allow older people to trade their own cars to pay for rides, and enable volunteer drivers to store transportation credits for their own future transportation needs. ITN's Road Scholarship Program converts volunteer credits into a fund for low-income riders, and the gift certificate program helps adult children support their parents' transportation needs from across the street or across the nation."

The ITN combines not only creative transportation alternatives for senior citizens, but coordinates volunteers, community services and agency connections to do it. They use a customized software program to pool a data base and match drivers and cars with an elderly rider’s needs and schedule.

Resources That You Can Turn To After Senior Driving:

(Each link opens in a new window.)

Call the Area Agencies on Aging The federal government has provided a community network of Area Agencies on Aging to coordinate local senior services. Each AAA will be able to tell you want specialized transportation services are available to your senior parent after senior driving.

AAA Supplemental Transportation Programs (STP's) The Supplemental Transportation Programs can be found in every state. You can check their list to get the contact information for the closest service to your parent to help them after senior driving.

Independent Transportation Network Affiliates

These community networks are currently available for people after senior driving in the cities listed below. The national organization also has resources if you would like to organize an ITN Affiliate in your own community.

ITN Bluegrass
436 Georgetown St, Lexington, KY 40508

ITN Central CT
100 Riverview Center, Suite 202, Middletown, CT 06457

ITN Charleston Trident
6296 Rivers Ave, Suite 303, North Charleston, SC 29406

ITN Chicago
Copernicus Center, 3160 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

ITN Greater LA
11901 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite #431, Los Angeles, CA 90025

ITN North Central Connecticut
P.O. Box 448, 99 Main Street, Suite 8, East Windsor, CT 06088

ITN Orlando
988 Woodcock Road, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32803

ITNPortland (Maine)
90 Bridge St, Westbrook, ME 04092

ITN QuadCities
1035 West Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA 52806

ITN SanDiego
4305 University Avenue, Ste. 110, San Diego, CA 92105

ITN Sarasota

1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Suite 300, Sarasota, FL 34236

To Understand the 5 Stages of The Driving Conversation, check the links to the pages below:

Return to Senior Drivers Overview Page

Click Here to Read Stage 1 - The Driving Conversations
Ideally you begin this conversation before any issues have presented themselves. Establish your concern for the future and align yourself with being on the same team as your aging parent.

Click Here to Read Stage 2 - The First Signs of Change
What to look for as early signs of change in driving habits. Self-assessment tools offered. Providing support to preserve maximum freedom.

Click Here to Read Stage 3 - The Warning Signs
Learn the signals that there are more serious concerns. What professional medical assessments could be suggested. Referrals to Driving Rehabilitation Specialists and adaptive devices for the car are discussed.

Click Here to Read Stage 4 - When It's Time to Retire From Driving
Critical questions to know when it's time to hang up the keys. Methods to ease the transition are discussed. Alternative approaches if driving cessation will not be voluntary.

From Senior Driving to Talk Early Talk Often With Aging Parents Home Page

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