NY.gov Portal State Agency Listing
New York State Banner
Skip to Content | Skip to Navigation    


When You Are Concerned - A guide for families, friends and caregivers concerned about the safety of an older driver

(When You Are Concerned is also available as a PDF)

Chapter 8

MOBILITY FOR LIFE

"Both of my folks outlived their ability to drive. Fortunately, they lived in a perfect location: within walking distance of most of the things they needed to stay independent. It worked fine for them. With family genetics what they are, it has occurred to me that I too, may outlive my ability to drive. That very notion has suddenly given new meaning to that old real estate mantra about what to look for in a house: Location. Location. Location."

Like the older person you are concerned about today, some day you too, may be in the same situation. You may outlive your ability to drive. What then? Will you be like the couple in the above vignette? Will you be fortunate enough to live within walking distance of the things you need to stay independent? If not, what will you do? How will you get to the grocery store or the doctor's office?

You might be thinking you've got lots of time to plan because your golden years are still to come. Hopefully you are correct. But if the truth be known, your driving privileges can be soundly trumped well before your golden years. In fact, you can find yourself ineligible for a license at almost any age.

Sure, you know about points for moving violations, DWIs, crashes and the resulting license suspensions and revocations. But did you know there are a number of medical, physical and emotional conditions, which can also separate you from your driver's license? Some at a moment's notice? The list below identifies conditions, which can put an end to your driving privileges, literally overnight!

MOBILITY PLANNING

You've read the list. What if you woke up tomorrow with one of those conditions and were precluded from driving? You might be able to get rides for a few days, but after that, what would you do? How would you get to the grocery store, work, religious and medical services? What kind of transportation would allow you to do the important things in your now car-less life? What kind of transportation service should be available, at the very minimum? What would be especially helpful now?

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

RELOCATING TO IMPROVE MOBILITY

Moving close to transportation is a common solution for maintaining mobility. It can involve moving to housing near transportation services, moving in (home sharing) with someone who drives, or making that move to an in-law apartment or a retirement living community where you might be able to park the car for the duration.

Home sharing or living with someone unrelated is often overlooked as a solution for both housing and transportation needs. But, if you had a good experience as a student living with another person, home sharing can be an especially helpful solution to finding affordable housing AND convenient transportation. The "retirement and best places" guides (check bookstores, public library and the Internet) can also pinpoint locations where you don't have to rely totally on a car. Some of the latest guides give detailed transportation information.

Interestingly, more and more municipalities are coming to understand just how important non-automobile based mobility is for their residents and local economy. Businesses benefit when people have mobility options. As a result, many localities are beginning to develop their own local shuttle and jitney services. These are the communities where you may be able to permanently park the Buick or Honda. If relocation is in your plans, check the following:

Keep in mind the coming demographic tidal wave of retirements and relocations will fuel the economies of many areas much the way a large corporation does when it relocates into an area. Some communities have already planned to capitalize on the shift. Their jurisdictions have begun vying for "seniors" by encouraging the development of recreation, health and, of course, non-automobile based transportation services for their residents.

The Internet is one way of finding information about communities and the services within their boundaries. At some point, you ought to be able to find on-line maps and transportation data for almost any locality

.

And if you can't get out, the Internet will give you mobility of a different sort. While not a substitute for the real thing, it will be a way of accessing groceries, meals, banking services, medicine, medical information and perhaps even companionship when you can't get beyond your doorstep.

"Mobility for life" is really about access. Access can mean many things: good public or volunteer transportation; being within walking distance of the necessities of life; being around family and friends who will take care of those necessities when you can no longer do so, or being able to obtain what you need from a computer or TV screen.

FINAL THOUGHTS

You are not going to be able to drive your car to the cemetery, hand over the keys and step down into the box! More likely, you'll be fortunate enough to live a long life and in the process simply outlive your ability to drive. Not a bad deal when you consider the alternative!

If you haven't done any mobility planning, you aren't going to feel very fortunate about your gift of time. But if you have done some planning for your mobility needs, your story can have a nice end. Now you know. The rest is up to you. Good luck!

Suggested Citation:

LePore, P.R (2000). When You are Concerned - A handbook for families, friends and caregivers worried about the safety of an aging driver. Albany: New York State Office for the Aging.

For Additional Information:

New York State Office for the Aging
2 Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1251
Help Line:
1 (800) 342-9871

Web Site:
www.aging.state.ny.us

2000 NYSOFA

This handbook was developed by the
Older Driver Family Assistance Project of the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA).
The Project was funded by the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee
under Grant #CP-9914013 and by the Allstate Insurance Foundation.
The Project was supported by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles,
New York State Police and New York State Department of Health.

"When You Are Concerned"

A handbook for families, friends and caregivers worried about the safety of an aging driver.
Published in 2000
Philip LePore, Project Director

Project Committee
Erle Daniels, Director of Safety, NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
Barry Gell, John Fuhrman, Injury Control Program, NYS Department of Health
Assistant Police Chief William Georges, City of Albany Police Department
Rose Golden, Josephine Herrick, Commissioner, Albany County Department for the Aging
Marvin LeRoy, Executive Director, Karen Drumm, Alzheimer's Association of NY
Susan Leventer, Ph.D., Renee Pekmezaris, Ph.D., Parker Jewish Geriatric Institute
Sgt. Jon Lupo, Sgt. Dennis Jones, Traffic Services Unit, NY State Police
Ann McCartt, Ph.D., Mark Hammer, Ph.D., Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research
Carey Roessel, General Manager, Capitol District Transit Authority/Access Transit Services Inc., Colonie, NY
Joyce Dominick-Schaefer, Service Coordinator, Raymond Watkins Apartments, Saratoga Springs, NY
Philip McCallion, Ph.D., Sheldon R. Tobin, Ph.D., Ringel Institute, University at Albany
Kathleen Williams, Social Service Coordinator, The King's Apartments, Pawling, NY S
Sandy Hawver, LPN, Kingston Housing Authority, Kingston, NY
Dr. Laurence and Catherine Roth, Batavia, NY, Prevention Committee, Medical Society of New York State
Donna Stressel, OTR/CDRS, Sunnyview Hospital Driver Program, Schenectady, NY
Henry Wenzel, New York State Coordinator, AARP 55 Drive Alive Program
Paul Tazbir, Deputy Director, NYS Office for the Aging
Nicholas Rogone, PDI Bureau Director, NYS Office for the Aging
Richard Killian, Director, Caregiver & Respite Programs, NYS Office for the Aging
Special Thanks
Kenneth H. Carpenter, Executive Director, New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC)
Sandy Foster, Allan Field, Anthony Mingione, GTSC
Honorable Richard E. Jackson, Jr., Commissioner, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Robert M. Dingman, Assistant Commissioner, DMV
Honorable James W. McMahon, Superintendent, New York State Police
Susan Hardman, Director, Bureau of Injury Prevention, New York State Department of Health
Sheila Breeding, Jody Mack, Joseph Hernandez, Allstate Insurance Company
John Eberhard, Ph.D., National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Washington, D.C.
Ronnie Stearns, Ph.D., Harvey Stearns, Ph.D., Lifespan Inc., Akron, Ohio Audrey Straight, Esq.,
Public Policy Institute, AARP
Barry S. Reiss, Ph.D., Chairman, Department of Pharmaceutics, Albany College of Pharmacy
Lynn Fuchs, President, A Woman's Way Driving School, Valley Stream, NY
Honorable Walter G. Hoefer, Director, New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA)
Patricia P. Pine, Ph.D., Executive Deputy Director, NYSOFA
Patricia Feeser, Tom Gallagher, Public Information Office, NYSOFA
Linda Hosmer, Resident Advisor Program, NYSOFA