If you have recently handed in your car keys, adjustment to life without a car can be challenging at first. You have probably driven most of your life, and this new change might cause you to feel frustrate, angry, or irritable. You could feel ashamed or worry that you are losing your independence. However, it takes a lot of courage to put the safety first and decide to stop driving.
There are many benefits to living without a car. So let’s take a look at the bright side of not driving:
- Save money: You can save money by not owning a car anymore and thus avoiding insurance payments, maintenance, registration, and gas costs. You might want to use this saved money to pay for alternative means of transportation.
- Improve Health: Without a car you can walk or cycle more. Exercise is very important for senior citizens. You may find that the additional walking or cycling could help boost energy, improve your mood, or make you sleep better.
- Expand Your Social Circle: Accepting rides from other can be a good way to reach out and connect with new people. You can always offer a friend gas money or cook them a meal in exchange for a ride.
- Appreciate the Change of Pace: Typically when you stop driving it means you will be slowing down. While that may not seem great to everyone, many seniors find they do enjoy life more at this slower pace.
Having a good mindset and positive attitude about not driving is critical to your enjoyment of life from here on out. Now let’s examine some of the alternatives to driving. There will be times you need to make sure you can get to doctor’s appointments, social visits, and important activities. Feeling too housebound can quickly lead to depression. If you live in an area with limited transportation selections, it might be a good time to evaluate living arrangements and maybe consider senior living options. Here are some great alternative means of transportation:
- Public Transportation: Check your local public transit options. Many buses or trains might have reduced prices for older adults. Certain areas have better public transit options than others.
- Ride Share: Check with your family members, friends, and neighbors about transporting you to events or appointments. Look for ways to return the favor and trade services.
- Shuttles and Senior Transit: Many local communities have shuttle services available for seniors, especially for medical appointments. Check with your local church or community center to see what options might be available.
- Taxis and Private Drivers: Taxis could be a good option for quick short trips. You could also consider hiring a private driver to get you around town and where you need to go.
- Walking and Cycling: If your health permits, walking or cycling is a great way to get around and get exercise. Exercising regularly can help lower your risk for many conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia, colon cancer, and high blood pressure.
- Motorize Wheelchairs: A motorized wheelchair can be a good way to get around if you live in an area with well paved roads, many sidewalks, and easily accessible stores. Make sure you check your local laws about use of motorized wheelchairs on roads and sidewalks.
Giving up your keys does not mean giving up your independence. With a little extra time and effort you can easily remain mobile and make sure you don’t miss out on anything.