Has Your Senior Loved One Given Up Driving? Here's How You Can Help Keep Them Connected With Social Activities

If you've got an elderly loved one who has recently had to give up driving, it's probably been a rough transition for them. Many people tend to take the ability to drive for granted until they can't do it anymore, and the inability to come and go as you please has the potential to put a serious dent in anyone's quality of life. Even if you're able to help your senior loved one out with occasional rides to the grocery store, it's likely that the loss of their primary transportation causes serious issues in their lives. 

Unfortunately, social activities are usually the first to hit the chopping block when transportation options become limited — and social isolation can lead to health risks in seniors, including depression, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline. If you're like most people with senior loved ones in your life, you're in the prime of your own life and are probably extremely busy with employment and family obligations of your own and have little time to help ensure that your senior has access to activities that provide social interaction. This doesn't mean your senior loved one is doomed to sitting home alone all the time, though. The following are four strategies designed to ensure that your senior still gets to enjoy his or her favorite social activities as often as possible. 

Check With Your Senior's Place of Worship About Transportation Options

If your senior attends worship services at a local church, synagogue, or temple, a sudden loss of transportation can mean missing out on this important part of their lives. Some places of worship, however, provide van transportation to those who are unable to drive. Even if yours doesn't, check with them to see if there's an option — it's likely that there's someone in the congregation who'd be more than happy to give your senior loved one a lift to services. 

Check With Your Local Senior Center About Transportation

Senior centers also often have vans that they use to provide rides to and from their facility to those who no longer drive. If not, they may have volunteers that perform these services. If all else fails, senior centers are almost always located within easy distance of public transportation stops. 

Consider Public Transportation 

Good public transportation can make all the difference in the life of someone who is no longer able to drive a car. Seniors sometimes hesitate to use it, especially if they've been driving for their entire lives — and it's true that learning the routes is often perplexing, and it's possible that your senior may become overwhelmed when trying to use public transportation. If you have the time to accompany your senior loved one on a few excursions on public transportation, however, he or she should get the hang of it. As an added bonus, many municipalities provide reduced and even free fares for senior citizens. 

Hire an In-Home Caregiver 

If your senior has had to give up driving, it's highly likely that he or she is facing difficulties with other aspects of daily living as well. This might be the natural time to hire an in-home caregiver. These services help make it possible for seniors to enjoy a good quality of life while aging in place. They can help with rides to social activities as well as housework, shopping, and personal care. They can also provide a friendly face and someone to talk with on an ongoing basis.  Most seniors are generally able to adjust quite well to not driving their car anymore as long as they've got plenty of options for getting to where they need and want to be. 

Contact a provider of elder care services to learn more.