To drive or not to drive?


Statistics show that many people will outlive their ability to drive by seven to 10 years. As part of the Coming of Age program, the Jewish Social Service Agency and the Jewish Council for the Aging’s Connect-A-Ride program have taken action on this, with their To Drive or Not to Drive program, which helps seniors prepare for a future without driving.
“These are one-on-one sessions with older adults still currently driving,” says Beth Shapiro, JSSA clinical social worker. “The purpose of the session is primarily to start a conversation about planning for a time in the future when someone may need to retire from driving.”
Shapiro says most of her clients have reduced their driving time on their own, and the goal of the sessions is to eventually have a written plan for the future. Whether it’s based on the client’s opinion, or the opinion of a doctor or family member, Shapiro opens the window for the client to have the conversation. “I’m not here to assess anyone’s ability to drive,” Shapiro says. “I try to start that conversation.”
The clients who participate in the program first give Shapiro their basic driving history, followed by any close calls they may have had or concerns they’ve gotten from friends and family. Shapiro also implements a research-based tool, asking them about their emotional readiness and how stressed they are from the idea of driving retirement. One a scale of one to 10, most give her an 11 or 12 she says, a number she hopes is brought down to three or four with the help of the program.
After meeting with the client, Shapiro says she and the client will get on speaker phone with JCA, who will mail them a letter listing community resources that are appropriate for them. Shapiro also gives them a written plan, which includes JCA recommendations.

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here