Seniors and driving: when it’s time to hang up the car keys
For many seniors, driving is not the pleasure it used to be. Busy roads, fast traffic, and inaccessible car parks in town all erode the joy of driving. Then add in the extra hazards of snow and ice over the winter, including the need to constantly clear driveways of snow just to get onto the roads. For others, driving may no longer an option due to restricted mobility, changes in their health, or cognitive impairment.
Owning a car but not driving it often can quickly become expensive too. Even just sitting on the driveway, your car could cost you hundreds of dollars a year in insurance, repairs and maintenance alone.
No wonder there comes a time for many seniors when hanging up their car keys for the last time is actually a relief!
Independence without your car
Giving up driving certainly doesn’t mean giving up travelling or loss of independence! There are various options for Calgary transport that ensure seniors and those with disabilities can still get out and about – and without worries over accessible parking, gas prices or rush-hour traffic!
At Vytality at Home, we recognise the importance of keeping active, as well as the practical requirements of travelling to hospital appointments and social events alike. So, we can arrange transport for you, AND accompany you on your journey if you wish. Here’s how it works.
Taxis and Übers
Our team can arrange for a taxi or über (private taxi) to pick you up, take you to your appointment, and collect you afterwards. This can be a regular vehicle or one adapted to the needs of those with disabilities (subject to availability). If you required a modified taxi, please ensure you give us as much notice as possible.
If you want to travel on your own, that’s fine! If you would feel happier to have someone accompany you, that’s also fine. One of our experienced caregivers would be delighted to accompany you and help you throughout your visit, from holding shopping to pushing a wheelchair (please specify at time of booking how much help you will need.) Book us for a minimum of two hours, or for as long as you need, subject to availability.
The Calgary Transit system is designed to be accessible for those with mobility issues or disabilities (more details below). If you find using public transport difficult, you can use Access Calgary, a special door-to-door bus service for people who cannot access regular transit facilities due to their disability.
Book a trip at a specific time and place, and a driver will help you into a specially adapted bus for a shared ride to your destination. (Sometimes your ride might be a taxi instead.) After you’ve enjoyed a day out or your appointments are finished, the bus (or taxi) will collect you again and take you home!
If you’d like one of our team to accompany you on your journey, we’re happy to do so. Our team member can travel as your companion for a normal Calgary Transit fare. If you cannot access the vehicle by stairs or tailgate ramp by yourself, or need extra help at your destination/s, you will need a personal care attendant (PCA). Our team can act as your PCA, as the drivers are only allowed to escort you to and from the external doors off your drop-off and pick-up locations.
Hand-over to caregiver service
If you need a caregiver present at their your destination or when you return home, you need to inform Access Calgary when you register. The driver will be aware and will ensure a smooth hand-over from his care to your caregiver, so you are not left unattended.
Your caregiver does need to be waiting for you wither at your destination or a home, or you membership might get suspended. At Vytality at Home, we can ensure a caregiver is present in your home when you return, ready to settle you back home with a smile and a cup of coffee!
Book your trip with us
To book your ride, you don’t need to work out how to use the Access Calgary app, or ring the busy booking line. Simply call us with the details, and we’ll book it on your behalf, no problem! We must book your trip before 12 noon the previous day, at a minimum, and the more notice you can give us, the better.
Registering with Access Calgary
To join Access Calgary, you need to fill in an application form. You’ll also invited for an interview to:
“Review your application with you and determine if you meet eligibility requirements. These requirements are based on your physical and/or cognitive ability to use regular Calgary Transit services.”
Again, one of our carers can accompany you on the journey to this interview if required, or arrange a taxi to and from any of the interview locations.
Public transport in Calgary
We’re lucky that here in Calgary we have an effective and efficient public transport system of buses and trains. Calgary Transit is a welcoming service for any traveller with mobility issues and/or disabilities.
- CT buses have ramps that can be lowered to make it easier for those with mobility issues to get on board. If it’s not clear you need a ramp, just as the driver and they will lower it for you. Low floor buses serve every route, but not every bus stop is accessible. If so, and you’re already on the bus, you can ask the driver to drop you at a safe and accessible point instead.
- CTrain stations have elevators, ramps or are ground level accessible. To get onto a CTrain using a ramp, you’ll need to enter by the middle doors. Press the blue accessible button to lower the ramp.
CT travel training
If you want to use public transport but are not sure how you’ll manage, Calgary Transit offers “Travel Training”. This is special one-to-one training for seniors and those with disabilities on how to use Calgary Transit services safely and independently. You’ll receive three to five one-on-one training sessions based on your own needs and abilities. It’s particularly useful if you’ve recently retired to Calgary, or have just given up driving.
Looking for reliable and friendly home care in Calgary?
You’ll find it here at Vytality at Home! We are passionate about providing exceptional home care experiences in Calgary. Call or email us to schedule a free personal consultation / assessment in the privacy of your own home.