Title

Older adults' experiences of community mobility following driving retirement: An occupational justice perspective

Start Time

5-10-2012 9:45 AM

End Time

5-10-2012 10:15 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Objectives:

  1. Increase understanding of the implications of the loss of the occupation of driving on the ability to engage in other important and desired occupations.
  2. Discuss the occupational justice issues associated with currently available community mobility options.
  3. Raise awareness of broader contextual issues that influence older adults’ ability to access public transportation options.

Study Purpose: Driving retirement, particularly when not chosen or planned, results in negative consequences for an older adult, including limitations to or loss of participation in important occupations as a result of the inability to be mobile in his/her community. The purpose of this inductive study was to explicate the barriers in transitioning to community mobility options by older adults who had recently retired from driving and who were expected to rely on public transportation as their primary means of mobility and participation. The conclusions drawn from this work are interpreted from an occupational justice perspective and shed light on taken for granted issues required to participate in new or unfamiliar occupations.

Methods: Three focus groups were held to elicit the experiences of 14 older adults who had to adopt public transportation in a medium-sized, Canadian city. Data were analyzed by researchers using an iterative process to identify constraints in using public transportation. Three stages of iterative analysis included an identification of initial themes through dialogic reflection, formal analysis of independent coding and final review of themes by a third team member who confirmed the analysis of themes.

Results: Key themes, that rendered constraints in transitions to public use and adoption of community mobility options, were: 1) personal experience of loss of the driver’s license, 2) barriers and enablers of public transportation use (personal, contextual, financial) and 3) strategies that enable public transportation use (personal, community, legislative). Barriers and enablers of public transportation use included: 1) lack of previous knowledge and confidence in using public transportation, 2) accessibility challenges due to cost and scheduling, and timing to get on/off bus, 3) the unanticipated influence of transit operators in hindering or enabling confidence, and 4) the unexpected physical environmental constraints such as the geographical landscape and climatic conditions such as a lack of snow removal that render mobility as impassible.

Importance to Occupational Science: Exploration of authentic experiences in using public transportation revealed key insights into potential injustices for seniors who no longer drive. Transitioning toward public transportation requires purposeful consideration of strategies beyond individual physical and cognitive capacity and point to broader societal issues of geographical location, climate, transit operators’ awareness of needs of seniors and availability of community supports such as coaching and mentoring.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Community mobility is a right. What does this assumption mean to older adults with limited access to a private vehicle?
  2. What are the capacity and resource assumptions that limit an older adult’s ability to transition to the use of public transportation and how do these contribute to occupational injustice?
  3. What is the influence of place on community mobility of older adults who no longer drive?
  4. What are the contributions of occupational science concepts to the development of sustainable community mobility strategies for older adults?

References

Eberhard, J., Stutts, J., Burkhardt, J., Finn, J., Hunt, L., Staplin, L., & et al. (2006). Strategies and tools to enable safe mobility for older adults. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 22, 3-17.

Marotoli, R., Mendes de Leon, C., Glass, T., Williams, C., Cooney, L., & Berkman, L. (2000). Consequences of driving cessation: decreased out-of-home activity levels. Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 55, S334-340. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/55.6.S334

Nilsson, I. & Townsend, E. (2010). Occupational justice – Bridging theory and practice. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 17, 57-63. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/11038120903287182

Turcotte, M. (2006). Seniors’ access to transportation. Canadian Social Trends. 82, 43-50. Retrieved from: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection-R/Statcan/11-008-XIE/11-008-XIE2006006.pdf

Vrkljan, B., & Miller Polgar, J. (2007). Linking occupational participation and occupational identity: An exploratory study of the transition from driving to driving cessation in older adulthood. Journal of Occupational Science, 14, 30-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2007.9686581

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Oct 5th, 9:45 AM Oct 5th, 10:15 AM

Older adults' experiences of community mobility following driving retirement: An occupational justice perspective

Objectives:

  1. Increase understanding of the implications of the loss of the occupation of driving on the ability to engage in other important and desired occupations.
  2. Discuss the occupational justice issues associated with currently available community mobility options.
  3. Raise awareness of broader contextual issues that influence older adults’ ability to access public transportation options.

Study Purpose: Driving retirement, particularly when not chosen or planned, results in negative consequences for an older adult, including limitations to or loss of participation in important occupations as a result of the inability to be mobile in his/her community. The purpose of this inductive study was to explicate the barriers in transitioning to community mobility options by older adults who had recently retired from driving and who were expected to rely on public transportation as their primary means of mobility and participation. The conclusions drawn from this work are interpreted from an occupational justice perspective and shed light on taken for granted issues required to participate in new or unfamiliar occupations.

Methods: Three focus groups were held to elicit the experiences of 14 older adults who had to adopt public transportation in a medium-sized, Canadian city. Data were analyzed by researchers using an iterative process to identify constraints in using public transportation. Three stages of iterative analysis included an identification of initial themes through dialogic reflection, formal analysis of independent coding and final review of themes by a third team member who confirmed the analysis of themes.

Results: Key themes, that rendered constraints in transitions to public use and adoption of community mobility options, were: 1) personal experience of loss of the driver’s license, 2) barriers and enablers of public transportation use (personal, contextual, financial) and 3) strategies that enable public transportation use (personal, community, legislative). Barriers and enablers of public transportation use included: 1) lack of previous knowledge and confidence in using public transportation, 2) accessibility challenges due to cost and scheduling, and timing to get on/off bus, 3) the unanticipated influence of transit operators in hindering or enabling confidence, and 4) the unexpected physical environmental constraints such as the geographical landscape and climatic conditions such as a lack of snow removal that render mobility as impassible.

Importance to Occupational Science: Exploration of authentic experiences in using public transportation revealed key insights into potential injustices for seniors who no longer drive. Transitioning toward public transportation requires purposeful consideration of strategies beyond individual physical and cognitive capacity and point to broader societal issues of geographical location, climate, transit operators’ awareness of needs of seniors and availability of community supports such as coaching and mentoring.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Community mobility is a right. What does this assumption mean to older adults with limited access to a private vehicle?
  2. What are the capacity and resource assumptions that limit an older adult’s ability to transition to the use of public transportation and how do these contribute to occupational injustice?
  3. What is the influence of place on community mobility of older adults who no longer drive?
  4. What are the contributions of occupational science concepts to the development of sustainable community mobility strategies for older adults?