Creating a plan to your parent’s independence when they can no longer drive

July 22, 2013

Getting your license when you’re a senior in high school is the first right of passage to adulthood and independence. Losing your license when you are a senior—in life—feels like everything is being taken away. It is difficult because it feels like you can’t just pick up and go whenever you’d like. However making a plan of action and learning about the available resources around you will help make the transition seem less overwhelming and allow you to still maintain a high level of independence. We can go through all the available resources in San Diego for free and affordable transportation options and how to have that conversation with your parent.

As you get older, your driving may be impaired because your eyesight is weaker. Your mind may not be as agile, which slows down your reaction time on the road. Seniors can have stiff muscles or joints, which reduces their neck mobility or prevents them from pressing on the correct pedal.

In the state of California there isn’t a cut off to driving at a certain age, but at age 70 and older you must renew your license in person, not by the mail or internet. You may also be required to take a supplemental driving test if you fail your vision exam.

The plan

  1. If you learn about your options to come up with a plan you may be surprised at how much freedom is possible.
  2. If you are concerned about a loved one and think they should not be driving, talk to them. However, bring them ideas and resources so they can see other options for their independence. They will more likely hear you out if they see other choices.

Transportation resources in San Diego

  1. Home Care is one of the best options for individuals who cannot drive any longer. Home Care is non-medical services in the home that provide grooming, bathing, meal preparation, transportation services and more. It is affordable for those who don’t have very much money. For about $20 an hour, they can take you to your doctor’s appointment, go grocery shopping for you while you are at the doctors, take you back home and cook your dinner with the groceries they just got for you. It’s important to choose a home care agency that doesn’t have a minimum hour requirement. Many will require at least four hours of service. Mission Home Care does not require a minimum amount of hours.
  2. MTS Access is door to door transportation for those who can’t take the city bus or sit and wait at the bus stop. The wheelchair lift-equipped bus comes to your home and it costs $4.50 each way and someone can ride with you for free. However, you must be certified to use MTS Access services and there may be long wait times on the bus because there may be others on your route. To learn more and apply for certification please call 1-877-232-7433.
  3. FACT—Facilitation Access to Coordinated Transportation runs a volunteer shuttle service and is a referral source for other local volunteer transportation programs.  The transportation is free or low cost and can be arranged in advance. For more information please call 1-888-924-3228.
  4. Driving courses at adult day centers for seniors are available if you are concerned about your driving or failing the renewal test. For class schedules call the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla at 1-858-457-3030 or Senior Service Council in Escondido at 1-760-480-0611. 

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