How home care can support seniors who have given up driving
Studies show that giving up driving can have a major effect on an older person’s wellbeing and lead to depression in some cases – but the good news is that there are options to help bridge the mobility gap.
Many older drivers hand in their keys due to declining health, but in some cases, they are then at risk of social isolation when they have difficulty getting out into their local community and continue doing the activities they are used to. This is particularly true for those living in regional areas.
An option for those who have given up driving is to access social support and transport services through a home care provider to do activities that are meaningful to them in the wider community.
This can take a variety of forms, including going to group activities, enjoying lunch at a café, going on a walk or help with the shopping. For Envigor Home Care client Cecil Collins, who lives at Seasons Caloundra, his social support means going on drives around his local area.
Driving has always been a big part of Cecil’s life. His daughter Glenda says she has fond memories of her dad taking the family on drives around Sydney when she was younger.
“I grew up with a 100 Miles Around Sydney book and we went every direction. We didn’t have much of a car – we only had a truck sometimes – but we would go out as a family, have a picnic and investigate 100 miles from Sydney,” says Glenda.
It was these childhood memories of her dad’s love of exploring the countryside that prompted Glenda to mention it as part of her care plan discussion with Envigor.
“When we were talking about outings for Dad, I mentioned the driving as it’s so important for Dad to go out and see new things because that’s what he did with us kids – he took us out.”
Cecil’s social support visits have helped stop him from feeling isolated and gets him out and about.
“Since I’ve been living here, I’ve given up my car. I had a Subaru Forester and I used to take myself all over the place,” says Cecil.
“I get one morning a week, every Monday, and I go out for coffee. I think we’ve been to most of the little cafes around the area.”
Glenda says that the simple act of going for a drive and stopping for a coffee gives her dad so much more than you might think.
“He’s able to go out, see all the new things that weren’t around when he first moved up – all the development, the roads, the shops, the hospitals. He likes to see whatever’s happening, even just to go to a building site to see how the buildings are built today, they’re different to when he built so it’s all interesting.
That’s the gem of the outings – to go somewhere.”
“He’s happy, which makes me happy. He is doing what he did for others. He’s getting it back – which is great! I see the result of that, which is lovely for me.”