Poor transport 'trapping' older people
Published on 25 March 2013 11:30 AM
An increasing lack of suitable transport is leaving many older people 'trapped' in their own homes, according to a new report.
Compiled by the WRVS volunteering charity, the report says cuts to public transport services are having a 'devastating' impact on people's wellbeing. It says as many as a third of a million over-75s are now being unnecessarily socially excluded by poor transport links.
The report found that despite being eligible for free travel on public transport 17% of people aged over 75 don't use it as it isn't suitable for their disabilities.
9% of the older people questioned said not being able to get out and about had cost them their independence.
Threat of older people becoming isolated
WRVS chief executive David McCullough said the lack of access to suitable transport should not result in older people becoming isolated by being 'confined to their own homes'.
While getting out and about was a basic necessity that many of us take for granted it wasn't always so straightforward for some older people who may have mobility issues, he said. And that, he added, can have a 'devastating impact on wellbeing'.
Mr McCullough went on: 'Helping older people to stay active is vital for their good health and ensuring they remain connected is a really important factor in an inclusive society.'
Older people's mobility also affected by cold weather
The WRVS findings come as weather forecasts predict no let-up in the wintry conditions that have been making it even harder for older people and those with mobility issues to get out and about.
Hundreds of people have been left without power in Cumbria. And as the weekend's big freeze continued to cause disruption on Monday morning motorists and pedestrians were warned about the dangers of black ice.
Light flurries have now replaced the heavy snow of the last few days but forecasters are warning that the severe weather conditions could return on Good Friday. And that could leave many of us with our first white Easter for five years at the same time we put our clocks forward for British Summertime.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK Charity Director-General, commented, 'Access to accessible and affordable public transport can make the difference between an older person becoming isolated and lonely and someone who is able to visit friends and family, easily attend doctors' appointments and lead a fulfilling life.'
Copyright Press Association 2013