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The Daily Need

Report: Is Grandma hitchhiking again?

This is a big year for the nation’s Baby Boomers. It’s the year they begin turning 65.

A new report, “Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options,” out from Transportation for America, a group that advocates for improved public transportation, says the country’s boomers are going to have a hard time getting around as they get older, if their kids take away the keys, that is.

“By 2015,” according to the report, “more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or nonexistent. That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation ‘ages in place’ in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive.”

The Center for Neighborhood Technology, a related group that advocates for livable and sustainable urban communities, ranked transportation access in the country’s metropolitan areas for the report.

The worst: metro Atlanta. In just four years, findings show that 90 percent of seniors there will live in neighborhoods with poor access to transportation other than driving. In metro areas with populations over 3 million, Atlanta is followed by the Riverside-San Bernardino, California, metro area, along with Houston, Detroit and Dallas.

Click here to see if your city made the list.

In January, the Blueprint America team reported from snowy Roseville, Minnesota, one of the oldest suburbs in the country in terms of the age of residents (almost 1 in 4 are seniors).

Roseville is a city where the parents of boomers have aged in place. The story is a look into the near-future for boomers – what it’s like to grow old without a car.

As your parents – or, you for that matter – age, what transportation options other than driving are there where you live?

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  • Amanda Penguini Wolfe

    My parents don’t live in any of those areas, and yet my mom cannot drive anymore (Alzheimer’s) and my Dad may be giving up his own license soon. They’re stuck in a part of the SF/Bay Area where the public transit system is beyond abominable for regular, active folks, let alone seniors. It’s a major problem. One I wish people would take more seriously.

  • JK

    Ask a bunch of people what they think of the bus and you’ll get a bunch of upturned noses. 

    People will take it seriously once they stop viewing public transportation as a “low class” form of getting around that should only be limited to the work commute. 

    … and once the majority of the country can’t (or shouldn’t) drive anymore. 

  • Va Lady

    I find the notion of viable public transportation to be quite…unviable.  I’m not quite 62, a walker (generally log 5-7 miles a day) and live in an area blessed with excellent public transportation.  I can get INTO a bus if it stops close enough to the curb to give me that 4-5 inch boost. Climbing down, particularly to dirt level, as I must do at the stop closest to my home, is another matter altogether:  have to have at it, crabwise, so I can hold onto the door.

    What do you do if you have a cane?  A walker?  An O2 tank?  You’re sunk, once you give up your car. 

  • KPierson

    I’m facing this issue with my parents right now.  They live in an area
    without public transportation options and neither of them can or should be driving.  My brother and I are currently providing for all of their needs and taking FMLA time to do so.  I don’t know what we will do when this is no longer an option for us.  We have promised to keep them in their home but the stress is overwhelming.  I wish there was an easy and cost effective way to provide transportation in rural areas that would allow seniors to maintain a sense of independence.