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One of the many benefits found at a life plan community like East Ridge at Cutler Bay is community transportation services, allowing residents to ease into leaving their keys behind gradually.

For active seniors interested in getting out and doing things, the hardest news to take is when it comes time for them to hand over the car keys. To vital, independent people, losing the freedom and mobility of their own transportation can be life-changing, and not in a good way.

The signs that this time has come can build up slowly over time, such as the driver being easily distracted, having difficulty staying in their lane, driving too slow or too fast, or frequently hitting curbs. There may be unexplained dents or scrapes in the car’s paint.

To help residents and our Cutler Bay neighbors with tips on safe driving, East Ridge is offering the AARP Safe Drivers’ Course on August 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please call instructor Jeanette Tullis at 305-620-9250 to register before August 28.

When it comes to stopping driving, children need to begin the discussion early, so the bad news doesn’t hit their parents suddenly, out of nowhere. Explain that it’s not just about them — the safety of others is at stake as well. Let them take a test at the DMV so that the results will be coming from an official source they can’t ignore. The most important thing is to assure them that there are alternatives, recommends Mary Scott Russell, director of marketing for East Ridge.

“We offer the perfect solution for our residents. Transportation services take residents to regularly scheduled grocery shopping, entertainment venues, banking, local malls and religious services. At East Ridge, a private car and driver is available at a nominal fee for special trips to the airport, hospitals or doctors’ appointments.”

Each month, activities offer scheduled transportation services so residents are able to enjoy the theater, concerts, opera performances and shows and attend these as a group. There are outings to local restaurants and attractions. In addition to the convenience of not needing to find a parking space or walking distances door-to-door, there’s the advantage of companionship.

“That is a pretty special benefit being able to have friends to share these experiences,” she said.

Some East Ridge residents have been using ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft. These services can bridge the gap between the community’s transportation and provide another solution enabling seniors to maintain a busy social calendar. If managing smartphone apps is difficult, they can take advantage of GoGoGrandparent, which acts as an intermediary between them and the ride-sharing services, using telephone commands instead of requiring computer or smartphone savvy.

“We want our residents to feel living at East Ridge helps them maintain their independence,” added Russell.

To learn more about the services available East Ridge or attend the AARP Safe Driving Course, please call 305-256-3564.