Our sprawling cities that give us a quiet life in the suburbs become a problem if you couldn’t drive tomorrow. What would that look like – if you broke your leg, got a concussion, had a stroke or heart attack? Do you have a plan if you couldn’t drive tomorrow?
I work with older adults who often reach a cross road when they lose their license. Sometimes they’ve lost their license due to old age, failing eye sight or a medical event. Often they are surprised how limited they become immediately, never realizing how reliant they were on their car.
As our cities sprawl into large urban suburbs, we are creating a barrier for active aging. You see, I live in the suburbs of Edmonton, but I know the minute my kids are gone from home, I’ll be moving into the center of the city. I plan to live somewhere walkable – where I can get groceries, get to Doctors and all services I need, within a walk or easy transit.
We have to actively plan for when we lose our license – and it’s not just those in their 80s that lose their license. There are many medical reasons you may lose your license for a short time or permanently much earlier in life. For most, losing their license is an unexpected loss of independence, but it doesn’t have to be!
6 Things You Can Do Today to Prepare For When You Can’t Drive
1. Learn what is in walkable distance in your neighborhood?
2. If you ride a bike, learn about bike lanes, add a basket or carrier to your bike and see what is in your range to access
3. Learn to use Edmonton Transit Services and LRT services to get around the city
4. Can you move some services closer to your home such as pharmacy, doctor office, hair stylist, etc
5. Research driving services and costs to get to the places you need to that transit can’t take you
6. Evaluate if your current home really is in the best neighborhood if you couldn’t drive anymore
To actively age, we need to take ownership for our future needs and make choices that support independence in many different ways. We can choose where we live and what that neighborhood can give us.
I get it, no one willingly wants to change where they live. Our home is our comfort. In order to actively age, in our 50s and 60s we need to actively plan the house we live in, the neighborhood we live in and the way we choose to take care of ourselves. The bit of planning, and discomfort of having to move, will make sure you truly get to age in your home as long as you want. But the planning starts now…