For most of us, getting our driver's license was like the first taste of freedom. So now imagine someone taking that away from you. Seniors face that reality everyday and it is not easy. But, it's important for all of us to face the fact that we may have to do it one day. Remember, it's even tougher for the senior drivers realizing they will no longer be able to drive anymore.
At the age of 92, Mrs. Sadie Carr still loves driving. She lights up as she shares stories about being "the" driver for her family and friends - taking everyone around town and across country. "Well, we did take a trip every year and I drove. I would just get in my car and take off," explained Sadie Carr.
She drove until she was 86. She stopped only because she totaled her car and 4 others with it. "Actually it was my fault. I was turning and I didn't see her . That scared me because I could've been killed. She could've been killed too, " added Carr.
But Mrs. Carr admits she didn't give up her keys easily. "I was miserable. I would find myself at the door and no car."
Carr was angry with her daughter, Patti Lyons, feeling she conspired with the eye doctor to get him to tell Carr that her eyesight was too bad for her to drive any longer. Lyons says she brought in a third party so that she could protect their relationship. That helped take the pressure off them. So she wasn't the bad guy. Lyons uses her own experience to help counsel other families at the Senior Citizens Center. Vision was her mom's problem, but sometimes it can be hearing loss or reaction time. Doctors can still help. "You know having someone else like a doctor to challenge them to pass another driving test even though it is not required. Just say mom if you pass the driver's test then it's all right for me that you are driving and you know they won't pass, but it takes the pressure off that interpersonal relationship and then you just kind of hunker down and wait for the storm to pass," explained Patti Lyons.
That storm could take quite a while. "I was angry. It was hard not to be able to go out and get my car take off and drive. It was something that I felt like I would never get over," said Carr. It took nearly a year for Mrs. Carr to get through the depression of not being able to drive any more. But with the help of family, friends and resources in her Tennessee hometown, Mrs. Carr was able to get around and live the fullest life even though she's no longer in the driver's seat.
Since moving to Savannah, she, like so many other seniors, have a wonderful support system. But there are a lot who don't. There is help. Senior Citizens, Incorporated offers a free service to seniors called "Silver Ride", but they don't have enough volunteers to meet the need. You can make a tremendous difference by giving an hour of your time.