For residents of Southern California, the ability to drive is a necessity. Driving has been a part of our lives for so long that it naturally seems like a skill that would remain with us forever. However, as we age, physical and cognitive changes begin to impede our ability to drive safely. Additionally, asking our friends and families to drive us may be difficult as we do not want to impose or feel dependent on others. Although the idea of giving up our car keys can be stressful, the loss of our driving ability does not have to be a frightening thought. Rather, it can be viewed as a way to explore affordable and healthier alternatives to transportation while retaining our independence and control over our daily routines.
Relying on alternative transportation does not have to replace driving entirely, but instead can supplement it. Knowing about other transportation options will allow you to still have the freedom to get to places, on your own terms.
Like all other planning that involves one’s future, you should compare and try multiple options to see which best fits your needs. Each form of alternative transportation has its pros and cons, but certainly one or more can become a part of your daily routine. You do not have to implement all these changes immediately—try out these options in different situations. For example, take a walk to your local grocery store. Once you have bought all your groceries, use a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft to lighten the load of carrying your groceries back home; you could also use the local bus to return home as well!
It is important begin to trying out some of these alternative options in our everyday lives now while we are still in good health, so that we become well-acquainted and comfortable with making changes later on in life. The sooner we learn and explore our options, the sooner we can build our confidence in being able to remain healthy and independent even when we can no longer drive.
Instead of spending time sitting in a car, try walking. Walking can help with not only weight loss, but also balance, coordination, alertness, and overall wellness (Botkin, 2013). Among other benefits, increased walking activity can decrease blood glucose levels, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, reduce high cholesterol, and increase flexibility (Nicenet.ca, n.d.).
Walking does not have to be done alone either. Form a walking group with friends or neighbors to make exercise more enjoyable! Have one designated individual be the group leader and set a regular meeting time and place. Each member could even take turns creating different routes for your group to take on different days to change up your routine. Maybe even set up activities for your group to do afterwards such as heading to the grocery store together or even cooking a meal for all to share afterwards!
Wear a pedometer, smart watch, or other fitness tracker to count the number of steps you’ve taken daily. Set step goals to achieve before you embark on each walk! The average sedentary (or inactive) North American accumulates approximately 3,500 – 5,000 steps each day, but research suggests that the average North American should increase their daily walking activity to approximately 7,000 – 10,000 per day. The guide below will help determine an individual’s current activity level based on their daily walking activity (Nicenet.ca, n.d.).
If total daily steps amount to:
At the end of each week, compare how many steps each of your walking mates have done. Who has the most, and why? How have they made adjustments on a day-to-day basis to incorporate more walking into their life? Ask each other for advice on how to make fitness an integral part of your life.
For more information on fitness trackers, visit: https://bestforseniors.online/best-fitness-trackers-for-seniors/
Carpooling is sharing a ride with others to the same destination. It is a great alternative to driving because you can reduce transportation costs (e.g. splitting the cost of gas) and take turns driving so no one person is burdened. Furthermore, carpooling is better for the environment because fewer vehicles on the road means less pollution (Seniordriving.aaa.com, n.d.).
For example, you can get a car full of your friends and carpool to an obon festival. Often times, temples have limited parking. If you carpool, not only does everyone save themselves the trouble of searching for their own transportation, but also you lessen traffic congestion and make the travel experience more pleasant for everyone. Carpooling is a great way to travel to social events because you already have your friend group with you and can catch up on the way to and from the event.
All you need is one other carpool partner to get started. Try it out with a friend or neighbor first, and then ask others. Have your walking mates ask their friends too!
Utilizing the railway and bus system can help a great deal in alleviating congestion in busy areas. Travel within Los Angeles County has become much more convenient due to the expansion of LA Metro. Within LA Metro’s service area you can travel to over 15,000 bus stops (Metro Bus) and 93 rail stations (Metro Rail), making even the furthest of destinations accessible.
Photo Courtesy: taptogo.net
Remember to regularly check your TAP balance, especially if you often use the Metro. You can reload your TAP Card by visiting Metro vendors or Metro vending machines.
Trips can easily be planned using Google Maps or the LA Metro trip planner on www.metro.net. Next time you need to head out to your local community center for a group meeting, event, or exercise class, use one of these trip planners to look up the route that would best work for you!
For more information on how to get started with LA Metro, please visit: https://www.metro.net/riding/getting-started/
CityRide is a curb-to-curb transportation assistance program for individuals aged 65+ in the City of Los Angeles and other areas within Los Angeles County (Ladottransit.com, n.d.). You must apply to use the CityRide program. Once you are approved, CityRide will establish an account for you. Afterwards, you will receive your CityRide card in the mail with $42.00 pre-loaded in fare value, and your approval letter. You may use the pre-loaded CityRide card to pay for your fares.
Your CityRide card’s initial value of $42.00 is provided at no cost to you. If you wish to reload your CityRide card, you may do so by mailing a check or money order to CityRide once per quarter and within specified dates (see below for mailing address). These are the dates you may reload your CityRide card:
You are only able to reload your CityRide card $42.00 at a time. CityRide cards can hold a maximum fare value of $168.00—any additional checks/money orders sent to CityRide will be returned.
Your CityRide card should be kept safe as it has your CityRide number, which is used to order CityRide Dial-A-Ride trips.
Your CityRide Dial-A-Ride driver should arrive within a 30-minute window from your scheduled pick-up time, so it is important to be ready to leave when your ride comes. Drivers are only able to wait three minutes for passengers. Furthermore, CityRide drivers are able to accommodate and assist you with most accessibility needs.
If you would like more information on the CityRide program, please visit: www.ladottransit.com/other/cityride/
*If you are a resident of Orange County, consider OCTA’s Senior Mobility Program (SMP) which offers transportation alternatives for older adults in addition to buses or ACCESS services. Individuals interested in finding out more about the SMP in their area are encouraged to call their city directly. To see if your city participates, click this link.
*If you are a resident of Ventura County, consider Ventura’s Dial-A-Ride services. To see services in your city, click here.
*If you are a resident of Beach Cities, consider The WAVE, a senior and disabled curb-to-curb Dial-A-Ride service. For more information, click here.
*If you are a resident of Palos Verdes Peninsula, consider looking into the Palos Verdes Peninsula Transportation Authority’s (PVPTA) website for lists of local transit as well as a trip planner. To view PVPTA’s website, click here.
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft require a smartphone for users to order on-demand curb-to-curb rides. Ridesharing is unlike taxi-hailing, however, as drivers use their own personal cars (which vary in make and model) and there is usually always a driver available to pick you up on short notice. All you need to do is create a user profile and you will be able to order rides within minutes of your desired pick-up time. These services do not involve cash transactions either, as the services charge you for your rides using your pre-selected preferred form of electronic payment automatically upon completing your trip.
Being able to call on-demand transportation can improve quality of life by 90% for older adults (Iadvanceseniorcare.com, 2018). By using a ridesharing application, you no longer have to miss important appointments due to a lack of accessible transportation. You can maintain your everyday activities without sacrificing self-sufficiency.
For more information on ridesharing services, please visit:
Ridesharing has enabled people to be more mobile than ever before. If you are interested in ridesharing but do not have a smartphone, you can consider using GoGoGrandparent instead. GoGoGrandparent is a service that works with on-demand transportation companies (such as Uber and Lyft) and allows older adults the ability to order rides whenever desired.
To use GoGoGrandparent’s services, you must first register online and create a GoGoGrandparent account (which you can do so by clicking this link). When you register online, GoGoGrandparent will ask you for your preferred method of electronic payment, which will be used to automatically pay for your ride’s fare.
Since GoGoGrandparent partners with Uber and Lyft, your driver may be working with one of those companies. Be prepared and on the lookout for your driver’s vehicle upon finishing your call. Uber and Lyft drivers should have a sticker on both the front and back of their vehicle denoting they are a rideshare driver. Remember that Uber and Lyft are curb-to-curb services, so drivers may not be able to stop in your driveway and may have to stop on busy streets.
For more information, view GoGoGrandparent’s website: https://gogograndparent.com/
Botkin, C. (2013). 8 Benefits of Using Alternative Transportation | Connect4Climate. [online]Connect4Climate. Available at: https://www.connect4climate.org/article/8-benefits-using-alternative-transportation [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019].
Seniordriving.aaa.com. (n.d.). Carpooling – AAA Senior Driving. [online] Available at: https://seniordriving.aaa.com/maintain-mobility-independence/other-ways-get-around/carpooling/
[Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
Ladottransit.com. (n.d.). Cityride – LADOT Transit. [online] Available at:
https://www.ladottransit.com/other/cityride/ [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Iadvanceseniorcare.com. (2018). Data highlights the benefit of free ride sharing programs for seniors | I Advance Senior Care. [online] Available at: https://www.iadvanceseniorcare.com/article/data-highlights-benefit-free-ride-sharing-programs-seniors [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Nicenet.ca. (n.d.). OAWH: Older Adults and Walking for Health. [online] Available at: http://www.nicenet.ca/tools-oawh-older-adults-and-walking-for-health [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019].
Walkandrollpeel.ca. (n.d.a). Walking Tips for Seniors. [online] Available at: http://www.walkandrollpeel.ca/walking/seniors.htm [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
Walkandrollpeel.ca. (n.d.b). Walking Tips for Seniors. [online] Available at: http://www.walkandrollpeel.ca/walking/safe.html [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
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