“Esther” has lived on this earth for 83 years. She is active in church, enjoys gardening and participating in senior community programs.
Recently, Esther has begun to have difficulty driving herself around in the community. After discussing her driving abilities with her family and doctor, Esther decided to stop driving. This decision was very hard to make, leaving Esther feeling isolated and depressed. She wondered how she would continue to participate in all the community activities she liked, especially social activities.
Community mobility or transportation is essential for independence and access to engagement in everyday life activities, which leads to improved health and quality of life. Orange County offers a variety of transportation options to assist individuals in connecting with the senior community, staying active and receiving nutritional lunches, thus enabling individuals the opportunity to remain mobile in their community even after they decide to reduce or stop driving.
In addition, there are a number of transportation options available to assist individuals with transportation to medical appointments. Chapel Hill Transit operates a fixed route “Senior Shuttle,” which transports Seniors age 60-plus to the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center (Chapel Hill), and Orange County Public Transportation operates the same service for seniors living outside Chapel Hill to provide transportation to Central Orange County Senior Center (Hillsborough).
Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) and Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) have partnered to provide a public route, TTA route #420, between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, N.C. In addition, Orange Public Transportation (OPT) provides a mid-day “Hill to Hill” service. The public route serves downtown Hillsborough, Triangle SportsPlex, Chapel Hill North Shopping Center, downtown Chapel Hill, and UNC Hospitals. Not all stops are noted on the route maps so be sure to contact the GoTriangle Regional Transit Information Center at (919)485-7433(RIDE) or visit gotriangle.org for more information.
Start thinking about alternate transportation now… The transition to the passenger seat usually occurs over a number of years. Consider supplementing your driving alternatives during this time by exploring transportation options in your community! If you are looking for a refresher on driving and education on how to “fit” your vehicle for safety and comfort, check out the Orange County Department on Aging Transportation Resource Fair on Friday Oct. 3. We will be presenting the wonderfully successful program, CarFit, an educational program created by the American Society on Aging, and in collaboration with AARP, AAA, and the .American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA. CarFit will be offered at two locations:
Call 919-245-2015 (Central Orange Senior Center) or 919-968-2070 (Seymour Center) to make an appointment for your customized CarFit session. If you can’t make it to the CarFit sessions on Oct. 3, be sure to visit one of our senior centers to pick up a transportation resource packet.
When seniors are able to maintain their “mobility” in the community, they are able to stay independent longer. This often means they can “age in place,” having a healthy and comfortable life at home, as well as access to community services.
For more information on how to maintain your community mobility, contact me at 919-717-1853 or email@example.com
Eileen Apicella is the Orange County Department on Aging’s mobility manager.