Boston Senior Housing: Driving Edition.
“Don’t take my car away,” he pleaded. “Without my car I don’t have a life.”
That quote from an intriguing and personal look at aging issues in the New York Times sounds like it belongs in an article about senior driving. But really it’s about senior housing. And it ties in with a critical Boston senior housing issue that Best Life deals with every day.
For most aging adults, there comes a time when they should no longer drive. This happens, and you should plan for it. An inability to drive too often leaves seniors stranded at home, however.
Being stranded at home causes social isolation and erodes personal capacity. In one day, an adult who could shop, and see friends, and visit family, and go to the hardware store becomes unable to get past the mailbox.
Don’t take the keys away without providing a backup plan unless you want to severely reduce your loved one’s ability to be a fully realized human being. Explore public transit, senior shuttles, family chauffeurs, car-share apps, or anything else that is available in your community. In the Boston area, your town’s Council on Aging can direct you to local resources.
But you should also look at this as a housing issue. In central Boston senior housing is often close to many transportation options and basic shops. As soon as you slip into the suburbs, this becomes less true. So on your next visit with your loved one, long before you need to take away the keys, take a look around. How will your loved one get around their neighborhood?
If the answer looks grim, maybe it’s time to look for a new neighborhood.