Uber and Yellow Cab- Get out and Get Going By: Lindsey Wadle

old-driver1

Introduction

A common stereotype of older adults is that they have a harder time getting around, whether it is walking or driving a car, compared to when they were in their youth.  This stereotype may or may not be 100 percent accurate but if there is some decline in a person’s ability to drive it is important that there are companies and technology put in place in order to make things easier them. Companies that already exist, such as Yellow Cab or Uber, have proved to be very useful to everyone in society. These companies come and pick a person up from one location and bring them to another. Often time younger adults use services like this if they are traveling, coming home from a night out, or they don’t have their own transportation. Yellow Cab is a taxi company that is just like any old taxi you would think of. One can call the number to come pick you up and the charge of the taxi will be unknown until one get to their destination. Or in some places, like New York, one could just grab a Yellow Cab off of the rode to bring one to their destination. Uber is like a taxi company but people can ‘call’ by going on to an app. People who work for Uber can sign in whenever it is convenient for them and start accepting rides. Such companies are useful to young people because of their convenience and safety in terms of driving under the influence.   Going off of the idea of Yellow Taxi and Uber, I think that helping older adults become more in tune with these companies could really give them freedom in their time of need. Older adults would benefit from having a car/driving company that they can use anytime, for example if they have surgery or if they legally aren’t allowed to drive.

Discussion

As people age they could start to see a decline in skills that could hinder their ability to drive themselves places, such as their reaction time might start to decrease or their eyes might start to get a little worse or their muscle mass could start to decline. If these declines do start to occur then it would be safer for these individuals to no longer drive. Companies like Uber and Yellow Taxi are great resources, not only for younger people but also older adults. There is research to support that there is a direct correlation between the amounts of time one drives and how healthy they are (Conlon, Rahaley, & Davis, 2017). There was a study conducted in order to discover the relationship between age-related illnesses and diseases and the attitude towards driving. 204 men and 195 women ages 48-91 participated in this study. This was a cross sectional study and all of the participants had a valid driver’s license and they recorded that they drove at least once a week. The research focused on driving confidence, driving difficulty and driving self-regulation (Conlon, Rahaley, & Davis, 2017). The participants attended a group meeting where they were given a questionnaire about their driving time and skills. This study suggested that women reported poorer driving confidence, greater driving difficulty and more driving self-regulation than men (Conlon, Rahaley, & Davis, 2017).  This study also suggests that older adults reported they have poorer driving skills, greater difficulty driving and greater driving self-regulation compared to the other group (Conlon, Rahaley, & Davis, 2017).

This study shows that older people do have a harder time with skills such as driving (Conlon, Rahaley, & Davis, 2017). Companies like Uber and Yellow Cab would eliminate the stress of driving for these adults. This would be extremely beneficial for older adults who are declining in health and don’t have people to take care of them. Often times older adults need transportation to doctor’s appointments, go to the grocery store, or go to the pharmacy this is a service that would be convenient for them and they wouldn’t have to bother any family or friends to help them. Also it can be stressful for older adults who live alone to not have a driver’s license in case something happens, Uber and Yellow Cab can give them rides places in a convenient and timely manner. Not being able to drive can also take away a lot of a person’s freedom and it can be become very lonely if they are confined to their house all day. These driving companies would be able to provide that freedom for them and get them out of the house. Getting out of the house can help older adults with their mental state and keep their brain functioning strong. It also keeps them young to do tasks on their own. This is important because once an older adult can’t do things for themselves anymore then their life could become very negative and they could start to decline in health.

There was another study that was conducted that looked at older adults and their driving ability. Between 2005 and 2011 there was a cross sectional study performed on 2749 older adults ages 65-100 years of age (Tyrovolas, et al., 2017). This study recorded information on their sociodemographic, medical conditions, and dietary and lifestyle. They also recorded information on the amount of car use which was recorded through a questionnaire. The information for this study was collected by a standard binary question using a quantitative questionnaire.  In terms of successful aging the study took into consideration their education level, financial status, physical activity level, BMI, psychological level, participation in social activities, CVD factors, and dietary habits (Tyrovolas, et al., 2017).  The study also modified some factors within the study such as smoking habits, coffee intake, and living alone and confirmed that the care use was positively related with older adults aging. The research suggests that older adults who had higher levels of successful aging used a car on a more regular basis than older adults who had more health problems (Tyrovolas, et al., 2017). These older adults also reported less prevalence of obesity and hypertension and they tend to be more physically active (Tyrovolas, et al., 2017). This correlates well with the idea of a driving service for older adults because if this population is struggling with aging and then they are less likely to drive a car so having someone else be there to drive them would be very beneficial.

Changes

Uber and Yellow Cab have been very successful in providing people with rides in a convenient and timely manner but there are things that need to be improved to make it easier for older adults. These services might not be known to older adults because the advertising is mostly targeted towards the younger population. Uber is solely used through an app which could potentially be challenging for older adults whom might not have a smart phone or who have one but don’t know how to use it. Yellow Cabs could potentially take a while after to you call them to get to your house. In order to make these services more useful and beneficial for older adults I think it would be better if there was a separate application specifically for older adults. This version of the app would just have a ‘request a ride’ button, which would use your phone location to track where you are and then once the driver got there you could explain where you are going. This would make it less confusing for older adults. Within this version I think that it would be very beneficial if the drivers that could potentially pick them up would be older adults who are still allowed to drive. This service could also pick up multiple older adults at one time that are all going to the same place which could also help socially. This would help older adults get a ride and they could potentially have a great social interaction with the driver and maybe even make a friend. There would also be a number that older adults could call to catch a ride so if they didn’t have to app or a smart phone they could still benefit from the same service.  Also since this version would just be for older adults the wait time would be decreased substantially.

Conclusion

Overall implementing a driving company in to an older adult’s life who can’t drive can be the freedom they have needed. They will no longer have to inconvenience family members or friends to drive them around. Uber and Yellow Cab are two companies that will help older adults get out of the house which can help with their emotional and social well-being. Conlon, Rahaley, and Davis (2017) suggested from research that older adults have greater difficulty driving. If someone isn’t good at something that they used to be good at it could be very frustrating and a company like Uber can eliminate some of that stress. Overall it would be at a great benefit to get older adults on board with some type of driving company in order to alleviate stress, help them with weekly tasks such as grocery shopping, and increase the safety of themselves and others.

References

Conlon, E. G., Rahaley, N., & Davis, J. (2017). The Influence of Age-Related Health Difficulties and Attitudes Toward Driving on Driving Self-Regulation in the Baby Boomer and Older Adults Generations. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 12-22.

Tyrovolas, S., Polychronopoulos, E., Morena, M., Mariolis, A., Piscopo, S., Valacchi, G., & Bountziouka, V. (2017). Is Car use Related with Successful aging of Older Adults? Results from the Multinational Mediterranean island study. Annals of Epidemiology, 225-229.

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