Baby, You Can Drive My Car

elderly hands on steering wheel

Baby You Can Drive My Car – a song about getting a driver as a hopeful rising star dreams of a different life. It can also be a way of planning ahead for a time when you may need a little extra help.

None of us want to think about a day when we can’t drive. For many, driving means independence – the ability to go where you want, when you want. Some of us may be able to continue to drive safely by adjusting our driving habits or our car to accommodate us as we lose some of our functional capabilities. But others of us may need to stop driving if, or when, it is no longer possible to do so safely. And the tricky part is, we can’t predict when we might need to make a change in our driving habits.

The key is to plan ahead and learn about the other transportation options in your community. Alternative transportation may include a local bus, train, or other public transit service. It can include rideshare and taxi services. It may, depending on your neighborhood, needs, and capabilities include walking, bicycling, or other micro-mobility options. Medicaid and Medicare may cover some of your transportation for medical appointments and your community may also offer transportation services through your senior center or other community services programs.

While no one looks forward to the possibility of retiring our car keys, the idea of doing so is much easier if you plan ahead and are ready to continue to live your best life whether driving or not. The ChORUS My State Info page has information about services and supports available across the country that you can use to find options where you live, where you are visiting, or where a loved one is living in another state. Here are some things I’ve done to get started with alternate transportation for use now and in the future.

  1. Learned how to use rideshare apps so that I can get a ride when and where I want.
  2. Learned the local train schedule and used it for trips to get me from my house into the city for visits with my family and other events.
  3. Learned how to use local bus, subway, metro, and other transportation systems.
    1. I now know about routes and schedules that can meet my daily needs.
    2. I’ve started using these services from time to time so that if there is a time when I need to rely on them, I am familiar with how to access them.
  4. For trains and local buses, I’ve also learned about the senior discounts that I can use to reduce costs.
  5. Visited the senior center and learned about how to use the transportation services they offer for free.
  6. Checked my insurance coverage so I know what transportation costs are covered and how to access them.

Hopefully this list will help some of you. If you find that you don’t have a lot of options in your community, now could be the perfect time to help fill the gaps. Talk with your local house of worship to see about setting up some transportation services for older adults. Talk with your local senior center, community center, or city staff to explore programs that can be started where you live. In addition to the information you can find on the ChORUS My State Info page, the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center offers innovations in alternate transportation that can serve as models for your community. 

So, when I talk with my son about my transportation plan, I remind him that, baby, you can drive my car to help me with errands or join me for activities. If I ever need to retire the keys, baby, you might not only drive my car but perhaps you can have it.