Cary Tennis on Salon.com has a reader looking for advice on what to do when mom won’t give up the keys…
Now the issue at hand is getting Mom to give up her car. She has macular degeneration with very impaired vision, but apparently not crossing the line into legal blindness. But there’s no doubt she’s a menace on the road, and she often forgets how to work her car, e.g., how to turn on the windshield wipers. She sees our pressing her to stop driving as yet another instance of our cruelty and desire to take away her freedom. She says she doesn’t care if she dies in a car accident, and when we point out that she might hurt others, she sniffs that that’s unlikely to happen.
I come up against this situation often. It’s not even only elderly– there are a lot of people whose physical condition makes driving a challenge. I work on finding alternative transportation, but there are not enough good options.
I talk to people who are much more able and flexible in their thinking than the lady in the Salon column, and we look at what’s out there for getting to errands and doctor’s appointments. Often it’s much more than inconvenience. Unless you live in Greater Providence, the bus service is thin and infrequent. RIDE picks up some of the slack, but it’s true that a car is more than a symbol of independence– it’s a means. Being car-less can be isolating.
As our state population ages, there’s increase on the demand side, which will eventually affect the supply side. Right now, we’re stalled out.
To get up to speed, we have to steer our General Assembly toward tuning up our public transit. Check out Save RIPTA for more.
Public transit– the life you save may be your own.