Group to discuss ways to cope without a car

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Reaching the stage in life when you are no longer able to drive does not mean your life is over.

That’s the message from the Dunedin-based Visual Impairment Charitable Trust Aotearoa NZ (Victa) group, which will host a panel discussion next week on the hot topic of “coping without a car”.

Victa group co-founder Lynley Hood will chair the panel discussion, to be held next Wednesday, February 26, from 1.30pm in the Dunningham Suite, fourth floor, Dunedin Public Library. All are welcome.

“We always like to start the year with a topical panel discussion, and this is an important issue for a lot of people,” Ms Hood said.

“Being unable to drive is something that people dread, and sometimes they put it off and carry on driving when they shouldn’t.”

How to know when you were no longer safe to drive and when to give up were important topics.

“For many people, it’s when their kids won’t let the grandchildren ride in the car with them,” Ms Hood said.

The panel will be made up of active Dunedin people who don’t drive.

“We will be asking our panellists to talk about what their expectations were when they decided to stop driving, and the strategies they came up with to keep active and engaged.

“It will be interesting to hear the differences between what people thought it would be like, and what it actually is.”

Neither Ms Hood nor panellist Anne Marie Parsons drive these days, and both have found other ways to get around taking buses, taxis and calling on friends and family.

“It can be an emotional thing if you ring someone for help and it doesn’t suit them, it can be devastating,” Ms Parsons said.

“However, there are always ways to deal with it.”

Ms Hood said pedestrian-friendly streets were vital for people who did not drive.

“Walking to and from the bus and the library are OK, so long as there are pedestrian crossings and some seats to rest in along the way,” she said.