"Driving retirement” is similar to retirement from work or any other life transition. Change is always hard, and each change brings with it its own set of not only challenges, but also rewards.
Boston area seniors who are in the process of retiring from driving truly can be offered a message of hope: you have done this before, and you do have options. Making any transition smoothly is just a matter of planning, preparation, and learning new skills to fill the gaps.
Ideally, driving retirement is expected, gradual, and planned for. However, in other cases, it might be unexpected, sudden, and potentially devastating.
Sometimes the change is permanent; some retiring drivers must accept that driving is no longer an option. In other cases, the need to find alternatives to driving might be temporary, such as with a stroke or a broken leg.
Sometimes, driving retirement is sudden, such as with a car accident or unexpected change in health. Other times, the process is gradual, as with vision loss, decreased mobility and/or flexibility, or cognitive changes.
We often cut back on our own driving voluntarily, in stages and over time. The process of driving retirement can take a decade or more!
We begin by cutting back on certain kinds of trips. For example, we might stop driving at night, driving in poor weather, driving on interstates, or driving in unfamiliar areas. Some drivers become more and more affected by the stress, financial burden, and physical strain of driving, parking, fueling up and maintaining a car, and so on.
Many people believe that driving represents independence, control, and freedom. But if driving is your only way of getting around, then cutting back or stopping driving can trap you and lead to isolation. Our question, therefore, is whether driving might also represent dependence, limitation, and confinement?
All seniors have their own stories and make this transition in their own way. Our program, TRIPPS, is so valuable and unique because we take an individual approach to supporting seniors who are planning for their own driving retirement.
Studies have shown that we are predicted to outlive our ability to drive by 7-10 years. Many of the seniors we work with find themselves looking down the path toward driving retirement and wisely begin to prepare. While they are still young and still driving, they begin to add tools to their toolkit. They wisely diversify their transportation portfolio, making sure they'll never never left without familiar, dependable options for getting where they want to go. The earlier you connect with our volunteer transit advisors, the more we can do to help you.
Our goal at TRIPPS is that when driving is not an option, you can still get where you want to go.
To learn more about the process of driving retirement, planning and preparing, and your options as a senior, come to our two free panel discussions at the Brookline Senior Center on Tuesday, May 17th and Thursday, June 16th, 2016, both from 6-8 pm.
Call the TRIPPS line today at 617-730-2644 if you'd like more information!