Many older drivers hand in their keys due to declining health, but in some cases, they are then at risk of social isolation when they have difficulty getting out into their local community and continue doing the activities they are used to.
An option for those who have given up driving is to access social support and transport services to do activities that are meaningful to them in the wider community.
This can take a variety of forms, including going to group activities, enjoying lunch at a café, going on a walk or help with the shopping. For Seasons Caloundra resident Cecil his social support, through his care package with Envigor, means going on drives around his local area.
Driving has always been a big part of Cecil’s life. His daughter Glenda says she has fond memories of her dad taking the family on drives around Sydney when she was younger.
“I grew up with a 100 Miles Around Sydney book and we went every direction. We didn’t have much of a car – we only had a truck sometimes – but we would go out as a family, have a picnic and investigate 100 miles from Sydney,” says Glenda.
It was these childhood memories of her dad’s love of exploring the countryside that prompted Glenda to mention it as part of her care plan discussion with Envigor.
“When we were talking about outings for Dad, I mentioned the driving as it’s so important for Dad to go out and see new things because that’s what he did with us kids – he took us out.”
Cecil’s social support visits have helped stop him from feeling isolated and gets him out and about exploring the Sunshine Coast.
“Since I’ve been living here, I’ve given up my car. I had a Subaru Forester and I used to take myself all over the place,” says Cecil.
“I get one morning a week, every Monday, and I go out for coffee. I think we’ve been to most of the little cafes in this area.”
Glenda says that the simple act of going for a drive and stopping for a coffee gives her dad so much more than you might think.
“He’s able to go out, see all the new things that weren’t around when he first moved up – all the development, the roads, the shops, the hospitals. The coast has just grown so much from the 80s when Dad was here. So, he likes to see whatever’s happening, even just to go to a building site to see how the buildings are built today, they’re different to when he built so it’s all interesting. That’s the gem of the outings – to go somewhere.”
“He’s happy, which makes me happy. He is doing what he did for others. He’s getting it back – which is great! I see the result of that, which is lovely for me.”
Cecil says he’s happy to relax now and enjoy his surrounds.
“I’m just happy to go along with each day and take it easy,” says Cecil.