Margaret Walker, a life-long resident of Los Lunas, knows the day will come when she will have to give up her car keys but she doesn’t want her inability to drive to prevent her from having a fulfilling life.
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Walker was one of 30 people that attended a special forum on transportation sponsored by AARP New Mexico Nov. 2 at the Los Lunas Village of Los Lunas Transportation Center Auditorium. The forum consisted of a panel of local transportation providers discussing what options are available and what is still needed.
“Three years ago I tripped and feel and hurt my arm. I couldn’t drive for a year and that changed my whole life,” Walker said. “It woke me up.”
“Right now my health is good and I have good reflexes but I know my age. Anything can happen. I want to be prepared,” she said.
Many people who participated in a recent AARP New Mexico survey on transportation seemed to recognize that the day will come when they can no longer drive but they seemed to think that friends or family would be on hand to get them where they needed to go.
Walker already knows this won’t be the case as her children work and have lives of their own.
After attending the forum, Walker now realizes she’ll have options out in the community to get where she needs to go.
“I’m preparing for the future. I’m really glad I came,” she said.
AARP New Mexico State Director Stan Cooper said it is important that as people age they stay engaged in their community.
“AARP’s research shows that the more people stay connected with other people – whether that be through their church, or visiting with family or friends – the healthier they stay both mentally and physically,” Cooper said
“You don’t want someone becoming isolated and stuck in their home just because they can no longer drive. So what we’re doing here today is letting people know they have alternatives to driving,” he said.
Utilizing public transportation will be even more important as the older population is expected to increase. Cooper said U.S. Census figures predict that by 2030, New Mexico will be fourth in the nation with the largest number of persons 65 and older.
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