Giving up the keys doesn’t have to mean giving up your independence

By Annette Sandler • JFCS Aging Services Director

After her doctor told her she can no longer drive because of declining vision and slowing reflexes, Sandy called JFCS Senior Services in distress. “Now I feel like a captive in my own home,” she said. “My daughter is amazing and helps so me much, but she works full-time and is not around to help me run errands.”

Her daughter was using vacation time to take Sandy to the doctor, but didn’t have enough time available to help her with everything. “Plus, I feel guilty,” Sandy said. “She needs a break, and I don’t want her to use all of her vacation just to help me.” 

Annette Sandler

JFCS’ Senior Services Intake Counselor told Sandy we had the perfect solution – Jacob Garber Transportation Services.  Garber Transportation is designed to help older adults like Sandy remain independent by providing rides to the doctor, grocery store, or even a friend’s house to play cards. Sandy could not believe what she was hearing – she said it was the answer to her prayers.

Garber Transportation provides rides five days a week from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Our clients get to know the drivers well because we only have four staff drivers and a few volunteer drivers, which makes our clients feel safe and comfortable. Clients also love that the pick-up window for rides is only 15 minutes, and that they only need to make the reservation one business day in advance. The cost in affordable, based on a sliding-fee scale. 

Sandy was so excited, she signed up right away. Her daughter called a couple weeks later to say her mom is a new person, who feels less isolated. Now, when the two of them are together, it’s not always about how much work they can get done in a short time period – it is about enjoying each other’s company.

For older adults, driving represents independence. There are numerous reasons why individuals need to give up the keys. However, just because you have to stop driving does not need to mean you have to give up your life. There are alternatives to owning a car and driving by yourself, including Uber, Lyft, Metro Mobility, and more. But for people who live in our service area, JFCS’ Garber Transportation is the best option. 

Click here to take a self-exam from the Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers. If you have checked any of the boxes, your safety may be at risk. Please talk to your doctor about ways to improve your safety when you drive, or look for alternatives to driving a car.

We can help – just call JFCS at 952-546-0616.