Friday, August 16, 2013

Letting Go

It's never easy to turn in one's keys.
Without a doubt, losing the ability to drive is an incredibly difficult process.  The National Caregivers Library explains that the majority of older adults experience emotional, mobility, monetary, psychological, and social loss as they make the transition from a driving to non-driving lifestyle.  The Caregivers Library also reports that age-related changes associated with driving often occur in a predictable sequence over a number of years and cause a gradual narrowing the individual’s social world. This progression includes the following steps:
  1. Physical and mental changes
  2. Age-related functional declines or skill loss lead to less driving
  3. Less driving leads to less overall mobility
  4. Less overall mobility leads to increased isolation and other quality of life changes
Furthermore, as these changes take place, seniors often feel guilty about asking friends and family for transportation.  They dislike feeling like a “burden” as they concurrently struggle with their decreased independence and socialization.

We understand that our program is not the be-all/end-all solution to the challenges faced by seniors adjusting to their new limitations.  However, our volunteers offer support and empathy to older adults who’ve found themselves in this frustrating situation. 

Hyde Shuttle and Volunteer Transportation client Shelby D. submitted a note that explains how the programs have impacted her life: “…I truly appreciate your efforts to make the lives of seniors a little less stressful…You provide a much needed services for those of us who have an impairment of some sort that limits our ability to accomplish something as important as medical care. I compliment your drivers on being some of the nicest and kindest people I have met in many years. They are reliable, cheerful, and, most of all, patient. The drivers and office staff go out of their way to make my life a little more pleasant.”

Shelby and other clients will never have all of their problems solved through our transportation programs alone.  Yet, in the context of so many difficult transitions and adjustments, we are happy to improve the safety and independence of non-driving King County seniors-- as well as make their lives just a “little more pleasant.”


About Me

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“Behind the Wheel” offers stories, reflections, news and updates about Sound Generations’ (formerly Senior Services') Transportation Program. Throughout King County, our inspiring volunteers provide needed mobility to local seniors, supporting them in their efforts to remain independent, healthy, and happy. Please drop by to read more about the unique experiences of our volunteers, clients and staff!
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