John had been driving since he was 16. Like most teenagers, getting his driver’s license was a monumental part of his early years. It was a sign of independence, autonomy. He was able to take a job, visit with friends, and even go to the mall or to a party as long as he had permission without waiting for mom or dad to give him a ride. Now that he is 86, the idea of losing his license is still stressful.
Many people associate independence and autonomy with a driver’s license. While people living in more urban environments might tend to rely on
public transportation instead, there is this idea that being able to get around on your own, whether it’s riding a bus or driving your car, is incredibly important.
And, it is. To some degree, at least. It does give people a sense of independence. No longer does that person have to rely on somebody else to get to a store, to visit the park, to go and play golf or do whatever else they enjoy.
For an aging senior who spent most of their adult life driving without issues for the most part, the idea of no longer being you to do that can be stressful. It can cause incredible anxiety.
This is exacerbated when family can’t offer transportation as often as the senior needs.
Sometimes, a family member, like an adult child or spouse, might discourage an aging individual from certain activities because they see them as potentially dangerous rather than beneficial.
If they see this potential activity as dangerous, they aren’t going to give this senior a ride to do it. For example, if an elderly person wants to go to the park and spend the afternoon in relative warmth, tossing some birdseed around to the birds, watching the squirrels, and just enjoying a day out, but the family member doesn’t want to spend hours waiting for them to be done, and they don’t want to leave them alone because they see risk rather than reward, they might not offer that opportunity.
But a home care aide might. A home care aide can help aging clients get to doctors’ appointments, visit with friends, go to the store, and participate in activities that are still important to him or her.
For somebody like John who is about to lose his license to drive, a home care provider could be the best solution that helps to maintain a higher quality of life.