Elderly Drivers

Help for Elderly Drivers

Some people may feel offended by this article, but my intention is by no means to offend. I believe there is genuine cause for concern for our elderly drivers who have no choice but to continue driving. This is what I see. There are 1,000s of elderly drivers who drive because they must. Tell me, have you ever seen a car stop and after waiting for seems like eternity an elderly person slowly, very slowly, opens the door and gets out? (This is not meant to be funny.) Upon getting out of the car the driver slowly moves - sometimes with a support apparatus, other times bent over - towards the intended target. And then you said to yourself, How did he/she drive that car? Who's around to help him/her? The truth is - we are here to help them. Hence the compulsion I feel to share this view.

I am convinced that many of our elderly drivers would be willing to quit the wheel if they had someone who would take it from them. The fact is, some our elders live in some kind of community home where transportation is provided; some live with relatives who care for them; but there are many others who live alone with no one to run an errand for them. These are the elders I am most concerned about. They have to drive themselves.

If they need a loaf of bread, need to get a haircut, need to stop at the bank, they are forced in many cases to "jump" into their cars and go. Go, they must. Yet, we all know that going may be dangerous for them and for others on the road.

Would we agree that something should be done to help these aging drivers? Hey, we will get to that stage in life too and will need help.

I must concede that some people are already helping. There are many church groups that pick up the elderly for services. There are many neighbors who look out for their elderly neighbors. You can go anywhere in the US and around world and you will find childen, young adults and older adults lending a helping hand to our elders. There are also local and state government efforts currently in place to provide a well needed means of transportation for our elders. I know that my county government, HenryCounty, Georgia, offers such a program. Anyone may reserve a ride to the doctor, supermarket, bank, etc. for as little as $2 per stop (60 and older). This is really great, but can we do more?

I would like more of us to get involved. The simplest and most economical way is for all of us to look around for the elderly drivers near us and offer to run an errand for them or drive them somewhere. But there is more. Sometimes it takes a little more - time, sweat, money, sacrifice - to make a lasting difference. Here I want to talk to you, yes YOU.

This is my suggestion to YOU. How about starting a movement in your community that calls people to commit to giving $1 per week to drive our elders - Driving Our Elders Fund? The way I envision it is that if we work to get 5,000 people in each community giving $1/week which is enough to purchase 2 or 3 minivans, pay some drivers and buy the gas to drive several elders to their errands each month. Think about it - $4 x 5,000 is $20,000 per month. That is enough to start with 1 or 2 minivans and hire 3 drivers. My initial thought is that we will not charge the elders anything, but we will give those who can afford it a chance to contribute to their trips.

There you have it. I think we can do this all over this country and the world. Let me know what you think. Better yet, let me know that you are ready to start the movement in your community. Remember - you must start by establishing trust.

What joy it will be to drive Miss. Daisy and Uncle Fred! You will most certainly enjoy a sense of fulfillment for reaching out and touching a segment of our population that needs some tender care.

May God prosper your efforts. Happy driving!

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