Habits are hard to break. Picking up a landline phone to talk to someone, reading a newspaper and even watching TV is something that is part of the daily routine of most Seniors over the age of 70. These are habits and routines that have been built up over a lifetime and are not easy to change as newer technology and trends appear. Whereas most younger people would have no problems sharing a car ride with someone or participating in some crowd sourced event, these are behaviors that are not only un-adopted by Seniors, they are actively resisted.
In a recent talk given in May 2016 at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), Ai-Jen Poo (Director of the Non profit “Caring Across Generations”) talked about the need for a new way to think about care for the elderly that would embrace innovations. Instead of just relying on the traditional Care Givers to provide care she proposed a new architecture of care. The new architecture would be based on created a grid of care or care force that would include family members, care givers and other institutions working together to help the elderly “age in place” and help them embrace new innovations that would make their life better.
One of the key pieces of this new architecture would be a Senior transportation grid that would be flexible and affordable enough to provide transportation that would be different than what is currently available. Public transportation is good but typically hard to access. Taxi transportation is accessible but not affordable. Newer transportation options such as Lyft/Uber offer affordable service but lack the door-to-door care that is needed for Seniors. The best solution lies with a combination of these services AND also with a robust way for neighbors, family and friends to participate as part of this new Care Grid. San Diego has recently been recognized through the work of SANDAG as one of the leading cities in the Nation embracing new and novel ways to think about Senior Transportation.
It might be that habits are hard to break for Seniors but family members and the Care Grid can offer innovations as a new and better way for Seniors to live while respecting their familiarity with old behaviors.
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