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PERSPECTIVE: When It’s Time to Hang Up the Keys

As we age, our abilities change. One area where this becomes particularly noticeable is driving.

Consider Bart Starr, the iconic Green Bay Packers quarterback. He knew when it was time to step away from the game. Starr achieved great things during his career, including multiple Super Bowl victories. His decision to retire came after he suffered injuries and recognized that he needed to prioritize his health. Realizing that it’s time to retire from driving can be a similar decision.

Here are some warning signs that it might be time to hang up the keys: 

• Decreased reaction time. 

• Difficulty with night driving/night vision.

• Increased forgetfulness, especially if you’re forgetting familiar routes or getting lost in familiar areas.

• Health issues, including physical conditions or medications that impair your coordination or alertness. 

• Near misses or accidents. 

Retiring from driving doesn’t mean losing independence. Like Bart Starr, who remained involved in football, taking on coaching roles and staying connected with the Packers, older adults can stay independent while ensuring their safety and the safety of others on the road.

We have robust transportation options in Door County. For example, Door 2 Door Rides is a shared-ride taxi service that’s open to anyone and available throughout the entire county. Rides are affordable, starting at just $2. To schedule one, call 920.746.6948 or 888.337.9485, or visit tinyurl.com/4h3kee3t for more information.

If you need to travel after Door 2 Door’s regular hours or go further than the county border, check out Door-Tran. This non-profit is dedicated to connecting people to transportation services that are affordable, available and accessible. Their network of volunteer drivers serve all Door County residents, helping them find transportation options and plan trips. For more information, visit door-tran.org.

As you age, it’s important to stay engaged in activities that keep you physically and mentally fit, so knowing you have options to stay independent is critical. To ensure a smooth transition, take the time to talk with family members and friends about your concerns as you explore alternative modes of transportation.

Drawing inspiration from Bart Starr, be honest with yourself. Recognize the signs that it’s time to retire from driving and prioritize your own safety and well-being.

With a career spanning from nursing home administration to education, Do Good Door County founder and CEO Cynthia Germain has a wealth of experience in enhancing the lives of seniors. She’s dedicated to fostering a vibrant Door County community where older adults thrive, drawing on her passion for elder care and her extensive background in nonprofit leadership to do so.

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