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Senior Housing Help

Can You Bring Your Car Into Assisted Living? – Ask After55.com

Aging Baby Boomers are no longer sitting at home when they retire. Many are working on a second career or prefer to spend their time traveling and staying active. Those in assisted living are no different. Even if they want help with some daily living activities, they might not be quite ready to give up their car.

senior woman driving car, to illustrate having a car in assisted living

The vast majority of residential-care facilities provide parking for residents.

The good news is that assisted living facilities are prepared to help seniors get around, whether they are behind the wheel or not:

-Many senior housing communities are located on or near public transportation routes. (Tip: When looking at communities on After55.com, check the Walk Score map or “What’s Nearby” link to see close public-transit routes.)

-Most all independent living, assisted living and continuing care retirement communities have private vehicles to chauffeur residents to shopping, appointments and activities.

-And don’t forget ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, which are targeting seniors with new initiatives.

This begs the question:

Should you bring a car with you when moving into assisted living?

Read on, as the answer depends on where you live, your health, and your lifestyle.

The Automobile Generation Wants Its Keys

Baby Boomers were born as suburbs exploded and driving your own car became the way to get around. Boomers started driving in their teens and continued to live behind the wheel as adults.

This is why, for many older adults, driving and independence go hand-in-hand. Being able to get into your car and drive yourself to the store, a medical appointment, or even to the park helps you stay connected to the world. Even as we age, giving up driving is a hard decision.

So if continuing to drive is important to you, you should look for a senior community that not only allows you to bring a vehicle, but provides you a reserved parking space as well.

Assisted Living Accommodates Cars – With Caveats

cars in parking lot

You may have to pay for parking, worry about parking spaces, and abide by parking rules.

Senior communities want you to feel at home, so most do their best to accommodate parking for residents. Many assisted living facilities allow residents to own cars if they are still able to drive. In fact, in a 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, 88% of residential-care facilities said they provided space for residents to park cars.

However, there are several factors that affect driving and parking at a senior community:

Parking spaces: The number of parking spaces in a senior community correlates to the number of units and to available shuttle or chauffeur services. However, experience has shown that as residents age, the parking demand decreases.

Cost: While every senior community is different, there is usually a monthly fee to reserve your parking space. Additional fees may include snow and ice removal, as well as upkeep.

Proof of safety: If bringing a car into assisted living, you may be required to show proof that you can drive safely. You may have to provide a copy of your driver’s license and car insurance.

Parking rules: The rules will vary depending on where you want to live. If you live in single-unit housing, you may not be allowed to park in your yard or on the street for extended periods of time. If you live in an apartment complex, you will probably be assigned a parking space. However, if visitor parking is sparse, don’t be surprised if you find a strange car in your spot.

Before You Move Into Assisted Living With a Car

So we know that you generally can bring a car into assisted living. The next question is: Should you? Before moving in with a vehicle, consider these steps:

Have your driving skills assessed by the Automobile Association of America (AAA), the state department of motor vehicles, or your automobile insurance company.

Get a checkup including a physical and regular eye exam. Make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications could hinder your driving abilities.

Have your car inspected to make sure it is in good working order. This includes brakes, tires, headlights, and wiper blades. Watch for pedal and carpet wear that could cause your brake or accelerator to stick.

Learn about alternative transportation, such as shuttles, buses, light rail, taxicabs, or Uber. You may need this if your car breaks down or if you are unable to drive for other reasons.

shuttle service sign, to illustrate the need or not for a car in assisted living

Many senior-living communities will have shuttles to help you get around.

What Are Your Senior Living Questions?

Ask After55 is a monthly feature of After55.com by correspondent Mary Beth Adomaitis. Submit your questions for consideration in one of two ways:

– Comment below on this article. (Your question will be displayed publicly, so we suggest that you don’t include personally identifying information.)

Fill out this form. (Your question will be sent to us privately to be considered for a future Ask After55.com article. Note, however, that we are not able to respond to submitted questions personally, especially on individual situations.)

Related articles:

When and Why Senior Citizens Should Quit or Curb Driving

The New Senior Transportation: Uber and Lyft Ride-Sharing

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  • Mary Beth Adomaitis

    About Mary Beth Adomaitis:

    Mary Beth Adomaitis a freelance writer living in Southern California. She has written about senior topics for several senior living websites. She also has a blog, Unwrinkled Hearts, which was started after her mother-in-law passed away in 2015. It focuses on elderly living in the 21st century. Mary Beth has been a writer/journalist for more than 25 years, lending her talents to companies such as The Los Angeles Times, where she also served as a copy editor and graphic designer.

    Comments

    1. Linda Bolton says:

      Hello,

      My parents will be soon approaching 62 and i would like to know what is the best place to get an apartment application in Queens and Brooklyn. They are both very low income in live in seperate household.

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