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Getting Around in Retirement

By: John Beith - Updated: 28 Apr 2015 | comments*Discuss
Motability Mobility Retirement

As you get older it's sometimes it can become a little more difficult to get around. This doesn't mean that you should stop going out because of a lack of mobility, there are plenty of ways and means available for the elderly to still enjoy the freedom of venturing out anytime they like.


If you have a vehicle but suffer from a lack of mobility then you may be able to get help, to make your journey easier. There are certain options available for people who may have difficulty in getting in and out of a car that will make your driving experience more comfortable and safer. You may be able to get help in adapting your vehicle-Hand controls can be fitted if you have a lower body disability, devices for helping getting in and out of the vehicle, like hoists, or rotating seats can be fitted. Specially adapted set belts or harnesses, mirrors, and steering wheels with knobs (if you have arthritis) to make controlling the vehicle easier can all be fitted.

Another adaptation that can be made to your car is automatic transmission. Having no clutch or gears to worry about and the only foot controls being an accelerator and brake can make driving easier and less uncomfortable. You can also apply to your local authority to have a dropped kerb put in outside your home. This makes getting into and out of the car a lot easier, especially when you have no option but to park on the road outside your home.

If you have trouble walking any distance you may be able to apply for a disabled parking badge. Having a badge can make things like shopping a lot easier, as most supermarkets and retail parks have specially designated disabled parking spaces available in close proximity to the entrances to stores.

You can apply for membership of the blue badge parking scheme, operated throughout the UK, which provides a varied assortment of parking benefits for disabled people whom suffer with severe walking difficulties or other disabilities, who travel either as drivers or as passengers. The concessions available in the scheme apply to on street parking and include free use of parking bays in pay-and -display car parks, as well as free use of parking meters. You may also be able to park in areas where there are time restrictions on parking, or in areas designated for loading and unloading. You may be able to qualify for the scheme if you have:

  • Permanent or substantial disability that affects your ability to walk.
  • Are receiving a War Pensioner's Mobility Supplement.
  • Are registered as blind.

Door to Door Transport

Some local authorities and public transport companies offer a door to door transport service. Many operate an "Access Bus Scheme" catering for people who have problems getting out and about. There is no restriction on the age of people who can use this scheme, as long as you have a genuine mobility problem that falls into certain categories like problems with walking, being a wheelchair user, blindness, deafness, breathing problems, or have difficulty getting to your local bus stop because of any health problems, then you can qualify for the scheme.

You will need to register to qualify for the scheme as it is run for members only and a nominal annual membership payment (usually about £1.00) is charged. You will be issued with a membership card which has a telephone number where you are able to make your booking for your journey. Bookings are normally available no sooner than 10 days before your journey. Passengers in the scheme can also be accompanied by an escort or helper, these can be family members or friends and they do not need to be members of the scheme to accompany you on trips.

To see if your council offers such a service, contact them directly, or contact an organisation like Age Concern who will provide information of any such services available in your area.

Motability Schemes

If you receive the High Rate Mobility Component of your Disability Living Allowance or the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement you can qualify for the scheme. The scheme lets you buy or lease a powerchair or mobility scooter without even paying a deposit. Part of your disability allowance will be used to pay for the scooter and the payments include insurance repairs and annual service for your machine. There are a lot of different types of scooter available with an average cost usually around the £300 mark. They can be of great benefit to people, especially if in relative close proximity to local amenities.

Don't forget that most transport operators of both trains and busses offer senior citizen discounts and travel passes that entitle you to cheap travel usually at off-peak times during the day.

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