Winter is coming, and as the snow hits the ground, many people choose not to drive. For others, it is a slower, more steady road to the realization that driving is or has come to an end.
The moment you stop driving, a new form of isolation can set in. There are questions about how you can reliably get your groceries in. Maybe the plan is that a family member will help. That is helpful, and it’s in these times that we need to draw on our family support systems. However, we all know that people can get busy and caught up in their own lives, or go away from time to time. Then what? In Outreach, we hear stories of isolated seniors paying a neighbour $100 or more to bring them their shopping. At that cost, that doesn’t seem very neighbourly!
Here are our best resources when it comes to food security:
- Store-to-Door with Meals on Wheels. This service is for moderate to low income housebound and disabled individuals. The cost is just $7 per shop (which needs to be at least $40). The added benefit is that the security checked volunteer will bring the groceries into your home and put it away for you! Call 780-429-2020.
Of course, always remember our frozen soups from the Cafe and the frozen dinners in the freezer at receptions available for purchase at low cost; and that you don’t need to be a member to enjoy lunch in our Cafe!
If you’re not driving, here are some options to help you stay as independent as possible:
- If you’re willing to take the bus, you can always call 311 and ask the City to plan your trip for you. The Seniors Bus pass costs only $15.50 a month, or $136.50 for the annual pass. If you’re a lower income senior, you may qualify for the $59.25 annual pass.
- There are 2 organizations who offer a membership-based ‘ride-ticket’ service for seniors with volunteer drivers. You become a member, and then buy ride tickets. Each ride ticket is good for a period of time (e.g. 90 minutes). Call Drive Happiness at 780-424-5438. Call the Society of Seniors Caring About Seniors at (780) 465-0311.
To Drive Or Not To Drive
You may be undecided to continue to drive. If so, the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) has a number of very helpful resources, which you can find here https://ama.ab.ca/2015/09/07/alberta-driving-resources-senior-drivers.
Their Seniors Driver In-vehicle Evaluation is a completely confidential and voluntary one-on-one assessment of your driving skills with an AMA driving instructor. No family members or doctors will ever be notified. It is for you and you alone. This is an excellent resource for you to check where your current driving skill is at, fine-tune and update your skill, and gain some positive and helpful tips! Call the Edmonton West branch Driver Education section at (780) 474-8620.
Finally, pick up the Guide to Mobility and Independence at the ‘Seniors Transportation Hub’ – the tall, black, rotating stand at our front reception area – for a lot more information on staying independent if you’re mobility reduces. Of course, you’re always welcome to make an appointment with our Community Outreach and Social Wellness department.