"Today there are more than 35 million people over the age of 65 in the United States. By 2030, less than 30 years away, the number of people 65 and older will have doubled to 70 million. Sixty-five and older is the fastest growing segment of our population — and 85 and older is the fastest growing subset of that population. The increasing proportion of older persons in the general population is going to change how we look at the needs of older people." [Source: www.ctaa.org]
These facts will affect communities as families, caregivers, and drivers will turn to them for help with issues such as public transportation, local aging driver resources, education, and other requests for assistance.
Many community organizations — both public and nongovernmental — provide information and education about options for older driver safety. Families and community groups look to these organizations to answer questions about driving wellness. Service providers for older adults can act as focal points for driving wellness activities, such as coordinating communication and disseminating information. They also can help identify unsafe drivers who attend programs and receive services from their organizations.
Staff members of community organizations can work with the older adults and their families to help the older motorists stay safe behind the wheel. By offering programs that emphasize maintaining driving longevity rather than driving cessation, these agencies develop trusting relationships with all parties and can encourage and assist the older driver to continue driving safely by:
- Developing opportunities to assess the driving environment;
- Creating or providing referrals to driving programs that assess capability and provide on- and off-road training programs;
- Providing assessments for driving function;
- Distributing information on safe driving and self-assessment;
- Creating supportive options for older drivers who must reduce driving or retire from the wheel; and
- Collaborating with transportation and service providers to ensure that transportation options are available for drivers who reduce or stop driving.
Although you might be more familiar with different terms, i.e., “complete streets”, “livable communities” or even “Communities for a Lifetime” we are all working towards the same goal, to successfully prepare our communities so citizens of every age can enjoy and have safe access to all the different modes of transportation.
Florida's Safe Mobility for Life Coalition is using the term, "Aging in Place" and it has been identified as an emphasis area in our Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan. We established the following objectives to help us reach the overall goal, "to promote and encourage practices that support and enhance aging in place.
To increase the number of livable communities in Florida.
To improve the transportation environment to better accommodate the safety, access, and mobility of aging road users.
The AARP has developed a Livable Community website that is a great resource to help you make your community a great place for all ages. Explore their site to discover case studies, best practice examples, planning documents, and funding information to help communities learn, plan, and act for successfully aging in place. To see a listing of Florida communities, visit: ?
The Department of Elder Affairs' (DOEA) Communities for a Lifetime is a statewide initiative that assists Florida cities, towns and counties in planning and implementing improvements that benefit their residents, both youth and elder. This initiative has five areas of focus, Elder Housing, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Volunteer and Community Services, Senior Employment, and Transportation. You can find the latest listing of communities or Communities for a Life events on the DOEA website.
The Community Transportation Association (CTAA) is a public and community transportation advocate and offers a senior transportation toolkit on their website.
AARP's Office of Public Policy's "Policy Options to Improve Specialized Transportation" report describes specialized transportation; highlights promising practices; and offers policy options for improving these services. This report recommends that policymakers take steps to strengthen coordinated planning, increase support for mobility management, and improve data collection and reporting on these services. This report can be accessed at this link:
A toolkit for local government to help plan and prepare for their aging populations called Aging in Place is available.
View the Aging In Place Initiative Report on developing a livable community for all ages.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has developed a website that contains valuable information about how Florida residents and visitors to the state can prepare for disasters and how citizens can become more involved in the community and public involvement.
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs has specific information to assist elderly residents to be prepared.
Emergency preparation for seniors can be found on the CTAA's website.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report that assesses the challenges and barriers state and local officials face in integrating the transportation of disadvantaged populations into their disaster planning efforts. This report can be accessed at this link: U.S. Government Accountability Office Report.
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) often have programs for local communities.
The N4A's Older Driver Safety Project has a community approach component to promoting older driver safety.
The Florida Roundabout Guide was developed by the Florida Department of Transportation to assist district offices and local agencies in identifying appropriate sites for roundabouts and determining their preferred configuration and operational features. Access to this guide and more information on roundabouts are on our Roadway page.
View a PDF on Rural transportation options for seniors.
On October 8, 2008 Governor Charlie Crist enacted Florida’s “Silver Alert” program. Silver Alerts will help local
law enforcement find elders with dementia or other cognitive impairment and return them safely home.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, More than 4.3 million Florida residents are age 60 and older, and there are about 501,000 probable Alzheimer’s cases. While 95 percent of our seniors live independently, the Silver Alert program will help prevent tragedy among one of Florida’s largest potentially vulnerable groups. The Silver Alert is a standardized and coordinated effort between local law enforcement, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) to share information with the public to help improve the chances of a safe recovery.
In June 2009, a Silver Alert Support Committee was established consisting of members from FDLE, FDOT, FHP, DHSMV, DOEA, AARP, ADI Advisory Council, and representatives from local law enforcement. The Committee is working together to advance and support the Florida Silver Alert program through effective and efficient practices and eliminate tragic outcomes associated with cognitively impaired drivers.
More information, including public service announcements and frequently asked questions can be found on the Silver Alert Website.
The Florida Transportation Technology Transfer (T²) Center is an umbrella organization housing various programs that provide training and technical assistance to Florida's transportation and public works professionals.