Do you have an elderly parent that still drives? Check out these AAA resources for older drivers

Transportation is one of the most requested Village services nationwide—in particular, transportation to night events, during bad weather, and when heavy traffic or freeway driving is the only option.   What this suggests—and is confirmed by this report from AAA—is that many older adults who still drive voluntarily avoid high-risk driving situations:

“Helping to dispel the all-too-common myth that seniors are dangerous drivers, AAA’s survey  indicates that motorists age 65 and older often “self-police” their driving or avoid driving situations that put them at greater risk of a crash. In fact, 80 percent of senior drivers voluntarily avoid one or more high-risk driving situations. More than half (61 percent) of these drivers avoid driving in bad weather; 50 percent avoid night driving; 42 percent avert trips in heavy traffic and 37 percent avoid unfamiliar roads.”

Obviously, this is a good thing.  But how do you know when that’s not enough and it’s time to give up the car altogether?  Apparently AAA has some online resources and educational programs that can help with making that decision:

AAA offers helpful resources for older adults and their families—working to support them as they tackle the challenge of balancing safety and mobility. SeniorDriving.AAA.com provides convenient, online access to a wealth of interactive material and AAA’s Senior Driver Safety Expos offer a local hands-on opportunity to sample AAA’s suite of free tools and programs including:

· AAA Roadwise Review – A computer-based screening tool that allows older drivers to measure changes in their functional abilities scientifically linked to crash risk.

· CarFit – A community-based program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them for maximum comfort and safety.

· Smart Features for Mature Drivers – A guide to help identify vehicle features that can assist drivers with the visual, physical and mental changes that are frequently encountered as they age.”

via Do you have an elderly parent that still drives? AAA just released a new report and advice that I think is worth a read…. | LinkedIn.

When the time to give up driving finally comes, I think being a member of a Village can make all the difference in how much of a hardship this turns out to be.

Why? Because, unless you’re on a major transportation line or a live in a highly walkable neighborhood with all the amenities close by, fear of losing mobility can make you hold onto the car keys longer than you should.   But if you’re a member of a Village, the Village office will not only know all the free/low-cost transportation options available and be able to help you access them, they will also have village transportation volunteers to help fill the gaps and ensure you can get where you need to go. So less stress, less hardship, less loss.

A Picture Worth 1,000 Arguments for More Walkable Streets

The link to this photo was sent to me by a friend who no longer drives.  It comes from The Walkable and Livable Cities Institute, who posted it on Facebook yesterday, with this caption:

“Most of us will outlive our ability to drive. If we want to be able to stay in our neighborhoods, in our homes, beyond our driving years, we need streets that support us in walking. This neighborhood street in Smithtown, NY, could really use at least a sidewalk.”

The same–if not more–could be said about all the undeveloped streets in my part of SE Portland.

via A Picture Worth 1,000 Arguments for More Walkable Streets – Neighborhoods – The Atlantic Cities.

Most Americans Want a Walkable Neighborhood, Not a Big House

“The symbol of American success often involves having the biggest house possible, but our outsized fantasies seem to be shifting. According to a new survey, more than three quarters of us consider having sidewalks and places to take a walk one of our top priorities when deciding where to live. Six in 10 people also said they would sacrifice a bigger house to live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk.”

via Most Americans Want a Walkable Neighborhood, Not a Big House – Lifestyle – GOOD.

Does this mean the end of the suburbs and 7000 sq ft McMansions?  Or at least re-purposing them?  One of my realtor friends has a dream of turning the McMansions in a suburb of Portland into a kind of senior co-housing.  But I am not clear how that would address the proximity to stores and other walkability issues.

For those of us who are already thinking about aging-in-place villages in urban neighborhoods, these findings make perfect sense.  Being in a resource-rich community you can get around in without a car is good planning, since as we age many of us will reach the point where driving is no longer an option.  Not to mention, who wants to clean 7000 sq. ft?