I Gave Up Driving, Now What?

Last updated: December 2022

During the pandemic, I decided that I would give up my car. I considered all the events unfolding at the time. The COVID-19 virus news reports were not looking good. Masks were in short supply. The economy was collapsing. In addition, I was newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I understood that it was a progressive illness, not only with movement, but it can affect memory and cognitive abilities as well.

I self-quarantined at this time out of caution. Every day I would look out my window at my car. My doctor told me that this pandemic would last over a year or so. My car was financed. Every month, I made my car payments without being able to use the car.

The benefits of selling my car

My wife, who was working full time, was driving our other car. Therefore, I figured that one car would be enough for us to travel to doctor’s appointments, buy groceries, and go to the drug store. I realized some adjustments had to be made, but I chose to sell my car. It sold immediately due to the pandemic which caused an automobile shortage nationwide.

In addition to not having a car payment, I saved money by not having to pay for gas, maintenance, car insurance, registration, and financial interest, and incidentals.

Missing my freedom

I was now homebound and without a car. I missed the freedom and independence of getting into my car and being able to get out of the house. By having my independence compromised, I looked for other transportation options.

What are my options?

I knew that I could call Uber or Lyft in my area of Florida. I also found that by calling my local government office, paratransit services are available for the handicapped (I use a walker.) I dialed 2-1-1 and they connected me to the Area Agency on Aging in Palm Beach County Florida. They informed me that people with Parkinson's qualify for PalmTran, a community transportation service, at a reduced fare.

How it works

They send a van to your home to pick you up and drop you off at your destination. Afterwards, they return you to your house. They also charge reduced fares for traveling on public transport.

Simply, I call up to 3 days in advance to book my itinerary, give them my security code, and they promptly arrive at my home. They do not accept same-day requests for travel. Most cities have an agency for the aging or a paratransit system.

The freedom of not being home alone

Being alone day in and day out with no one to talk to or interact with is socially isolating and not especially stimulating. One can only watch so much television before that too becomes boring.

I can now go independently to grocery stores, banks, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, parks, and beaches. I can be part of family gatherings and celebrations. I can visit my friends and I can see my grandchildren perform in their school plays and extracurricular activities.

Furthermore, I can take paratransit transportation door-to-door for $3.50 each way to the airport or subway. I have the convenience of not seeking a parking space or carrying my suitcases to the check-in desk. In addition, airports have people to help you push your wheelchairs from the check-in gate to the terminal where your plane is waiting for you.

The social and emotional benefit that I achieved is amazing! I feel good, like my old self again. My mood is better and my depression levels have decreased. My self-worth has increased!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ParkinsonsDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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