When it comes to caring for our aging loved ones, there are a variety of lifestyle tweaks and home modifications that we can help them to make so that they can live safely in their own homes for longer. Since we know that a majority of seniors want to live in their own houses, we talk a lot about senior home safety and fall prevention. After all, not only does creating a safe living space for our parents and grandparents allow them to age in place happily, it also gives us peace of mind in knowing they are living in a safe environment. Unfortunately, we can’t control the world outside of our aging loved one’s home, and there exists a place that presents a constant danger for most seniors over the age of 75—the road.
We’ve talked before about senior drivers and the importance of having a conversation with elders who should not be on the road any more. It’s not an easy one to have, and most of us dread the day we have to sit down with an older loved one and tell them they need to modify their driving habits or even stop driving all together. They may not be aware of the shift in their driving abilities, or they may agree with you and decide to put the car keys down once and for all. Regardless of how it happens, when a senior can no longer drive to the grocery store or to the pet groomers, their sense of independence is greatly affected.
The real problem this issue has created is that a senior who is healthy and able to live safely in his or her own home, may not be safe on the road, making it virtually impossible to live independently without some type of assistance. For seniors that don’t live close to family or friends, being unable to drive could ultimately put them in an assisted living facility long before they truly need to be there. So, how do we keep seniors without the ability to drive, in their homes? Enter, ShareCare of Leelanau County, Michigan; one company, dedicated to supporting independent living for seniors, that is improving the lives of it’s aging community one car ride at a time.
What is ShareCare?
ShareCare, created in 1992 is a Michigan born non-profit agency that has dedicated itself to supporting seniors in Leelanau County, Michigan in their goals of living independently, in their own homes. With the collaborative efforts of a diverse Board of Directors, a registered nurse Care Coordinator, and a number of dedicated volunteers, ShareCare is able to offer a variety of unique services ranging from home assessments to professional health care coordination, to promote the health and well-being of aging citizens living in Leelanau County.
One of the services ShareCare provides for its members, is a driving service that helps seniors run errands and get to and from appointments. All a senior member needs to do is call the ShareCare number (during office hours), and a ShareCare staff member will work with them to facilitate their request. With the help of local volunteers, ShareCare has made great strides in improving the lives of seniors who are perfectly capable of living safely at home, but require a little help getting around town. Whether it’s an appointment to the doctor, a trip to the post office, or a ride to the local grocery store, this service assists seniors in achieving their goals of living mostly independent and healthy lifestyles.
Hope for the future
The idea of offering rides to seniors may seem simple, but the potential impact services like this could have on keeping our loved ones safe and living at home is huge. It’s huge because while ShareCare may be available in only one area, their concept is easily duplicated, meaning that seniors across the country have the potential to thrive so long as there are communities and organizations like ShareCare who are willing and able to lend a helping hand—or a ride.
For more information on ShareCare and the services they offer, click here.