driving on highway

When Driving is No Longer an Option

By Lisa J. Santos, BA

A caring, professional service can help seniors to adapt and thrive when faced with a loss of independence.

Working with older adults continues to teach me just how amazing our senior citizens are. Many have dedicated their lives to raising families, building careers, and contributing to their communities either through work or by volunteering. In addition to living full lives, with much sacrifice along the way, our elders have mastered the art of adaptability.

I’ve pondered this quite a bit as I’ve reflected on the many stories my clients have shared with me. Some grew up in homes with just a radio and, if lucky, a gramophone for entertainment.  Going to the movies was a big deal and most relied on friends dropping by to play cards or board games. I remember my Nana telling me how friends would just drop in without calling and how she always had something baked and coffee or tea at the ready just in case. Days were less full and the passage of time seemed to be slower. Compare this with life today, where technology reigns and most of us struggle to find time for fun, friends, and family, let alone doing absolutely nothing.

These days life is fast and somehow our seniors have managed to keep up. Many of the clients we serve use email and most have cell phones. These are people in their late seventies, eighties, and nineties. Imagine adapting from radios or the first televisions and the fortitude it would take to keep up with the pace of the post-modern world we now inhabit. Seniors are incredible people and their life stories are often fascinating.

With aging, what lies ahead for many Young woman assistant old lady out of careseniors after enjoying fulfilling lives is often a future accompanied by much loss. Losing the ability to drive can often be the most difficult to accept because it means the beginning of the loss of independence. Once this happens, seniors lose a tremendous amount of freedom as they are suddenly dependent on others. They can no longer just pick up and go. The spontaneous trip to the mall or visiting a friend is suddenly impossible. Family members often live far away and even if they are nearby, every outing has to be planned. With busy lives, adult children can find this situation very challenging.

This new life circumstance can create stress for all parties. Having someone to alleviate that stress can be invaluable, as being able to get out into the community is crucial to prevent boredom and social isolation, which can lead to depression. A professional service can provide meaningful companionship while keeping seniors safe. The benefits from a change of scene and a bit of fun can be long lasting, whether it’s a trip to the doctor’s office, church, shopping for groceries, or out for lunch and a drive. Going out with the same, caring companion who is knowledgeable in the challenges the elderly face, including dementia care, ensures a relaxed, friendly, and enjoyable experience. 

An additional benefit is the relationship that builds between us and the client. We become a trusted and reliable friend because we love what we do and the people we do it for.

Lisa Santos, BA, owns and operates Driving Miss Daisy of the Central Okanagan, Kelowna. With her designation as a Certified Professional Consultant on Aging and a BA in sociology, she is passionate about improving the quality of life for seniors, special needs, and those with limited mobility. Lisa and her team are experienced in dementia care and her mandate is to provide unlimited opportunity to clients to preserve their independence and prevent social isolation when driving is no longer an option. She is grateful to be doing work that she enjoys while accompanying her clients to a fuller life. Visit www.drivingmissdaisy.ca or call 250-860-3272.

*Reprint from our Summer 2016 issue

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