As we get older, the prospect of not being able to drive a car anymore gets closer and closer. It’s kind of sad in a way, because, I know for myself, that driving gives me a lot of freedom. I am not dependent on others to go and do what I want to. However, we are not totally stuck at home once we give up our driver’s license. There are a lot of resources out there for getting around town. So here is my transportation advice for retirees. Hope you fund it useful!
Why Driving May No Longer Be An Option
There are several health factors that one should consider when determining when it’s time to give up the driver’s license.
1. Eyesight. “Approximately one person in three has some form of vision-reducing eye disease by the age of 65. The most common causes of vision loss among the elderly are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.” From American Family Physician
2. Dementia. “The older you are, the more likely you are to be affected by dementia. Approximately 1 in 70 people aged 65-69 have dementia. Nearly 1 in 4 people aged 85-89 have dementia. It is rare for someone under 65 to have dementia, but it does occur at younger ages and we call this ‘younger onset dementia’.” From Your Brain Matters
3. Slower reaction time. “Older drivers typically experience slower reflexes and reaction times as well as reduced vision, particularly at night. Medications can leave people less alert, drowsy or disoriented.” From Forbes
State’s Driver Age Restrictions
You will want to do a Google Search on your state’s driver age restrictions. The search I did for Coloardo’s restrictions was “elderly age restrictions for renewing driver’s license”.
Here are Colorado’s age restrictions:
- requires drivers age 61 and older to renew their licenses every five years
- prohibits drivers age 66 and older from renewing online
- requires vision tests for drivers ages 66 and older, and
- accepts written reports about potentially unsafe drivers from law enforcement, courts, physicians and close relatives.
Written test: May be required if there are indications of driver impairment, based on a report by law enforcement, a court, a physician or optometrist, or a family member.
Road test: May be required if there are indications of driver impairment, based on a report by law enforcement, a court, a physician or optometrist, or a family member.
The Colorado DMV can place restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver license after administering a driving test and discussing possible restrictions with him or her.
The most common restriction for older drivers is to require glasses or corrective contact lenses.
Other common requirements the DMV may impose on older drivers include:
- no freeway driving
- an additional right side mirror on a vehicle
- no nighttime driving, and
- time of day restrictions—for example, no driving during rush hour traffic.
AARP Driver Safety Program: I found this program for Summit County seniors. It is offered quarterly and designed to meet the needs and challenges of older motorists. A nominal fee is charged and paid to AARP. Check with your local senior center or AARP chapter for details and availability in your area.
Alternatives to driving
Uber: One of the best ways to get around for very little money is to download the Uber app to your phone. It’s so easy! When you need a ride someplace, just send an order through the Uber app, and someone will come pick you up and take you where you need to go. Everything from payment to tips are handled through the app, so there is no need to carry cash. I don’t have the Uber app on my phone, because I live in rural Colorado. However, when I went to Boston with my kids, we used Uber to get around the city. Even if you have special needs, Uber can help you. We were 4 adults and a baby with a stroller, and they were able to accommodate us.
Local Senior Shuttle: I live in Grand County in Colorado, and I looked up their senior shuttle program. I found it under Mountain Family Center, and it looks like a great program. They do rides on a suggested donation basis. They will not refuse you a ride even if you can’t afford the suggested amount. They provide a variety of trips, and even go to Denver, Summit County, and Steamboat Springs. Do a search for a senior shuttle in your locality.
Public Transportation: I know that Summit County’s bus system, The Summit County Stage, is free to use. They go pretty much everywhere in Summit County, so you can go from town to town if you need to. I know that public transport isn’t available everywhere, and in some areas, there are costs involved. So, do a search in your area and find out what is available.
Church Groups: Some religious organizations have organized transportation for the elderly, and not just for back and forth to church services. Again, check your local listings.
Senior Centers: I checked with Summit County Senior Center, and it looks like they use the same Mountain Family Center that Grand County uses for transportation. Contact your local senior center for information in your area.
Nursing Homes or Assisted Living Organizations: Many home organizations for the elderly have a shuttle bus of their own that transports its residents wherever they need to go. When you are looking for advanced nursing care or assisted living arrangements, look into their programs to see if transportation is provided.
Family and Friends: I am willing to bet that you would be able to find a teenage driver that is willing to drive you around. Teenagers love to drive and are looking for any excuse to get behind the wheel. Check with the parents first, for sure. And if I had elderly relatives around, I would certainly love to take them places. You can always find someone. Be sure to offer money for gas, or buy them a meal for their troubles.
The trend these days in building living spaces for people, to create walkable neighborhoods. This is where city planners put housing and retail and jobs together in an area where all can be accessed by walking. You don’t even need to own a car when you live in one of these developments. So, when you are looking at senior housing, be sure to check for walkability and transportation access.
Reduce to One Car
My sister and her husband are retired. For years, they had two cars, one for each of them. That’s because they were both working and going different directions all the time. Now that they are retired, they decided they no longer need two cars. They like going shopping and other things together, so they decided one car is enough. They reduced their car payments, insurance costs, and maintenance bills. I think it’s a great idea to get rid of one of your cars when you retire.
Walking and Biking
Of course these are great ways to save money on transportation, and to stay healthy and fit. However, this is not an option for everyone ready to retire. So walk or bike if you can. If not, take advantage of what the community offers for your transportation.
We are all most likely to get old and lose some of our faculties at some point. It helps to accept that the day will come that we need to rely on others for our transportation needs. So before you need it, it helps to have a plan in place. Long before you find it necessary, do some research and try out the methods to find out what will work best for you. Then, when you find you just can’t drive yourself anymore, you will already know what to do. It will take some of the anxiety of the situation away.
Where Do I Get Extra Money For Transportation?
So you have likely been asking yourself, how do I pay for all of this? And if you have been reading my blog, you will know what my position is. I advocate for having a back up plan that can help you pay for a car, and later all those Uber trips, transport donations, gas money, and bus fares. Become an affiliate marketer with Wealthy Affiliate. Earn the extra money that you will need to be prepared for retirement. Please see my articles here:
There are lots of ways to get around. Just by doing a little research and experimentation and planning, you will find a transportation method that suits you and your budget. The key is to make it easy on yourself, so when the time comes that you become dependent on others, you can make a quick and painless transition.
Please leave your questions and comments below, and thank you for reading!