Access for Aging Shoppers
By New Leaf Market Board of Directors Demographics Committee
Last fall, the New Leaf Market Board created a committee to look at the demographics of the area served by the Co-op to further support the Ends Statement: “Tallahassee and surrounding communities have access to food and products from local, natural, organic, cooperative, and fair labor suppliers.” The committee’s goal was to learn more about the changing needs in our community. What is currently being provided and what needs will go unmet in the future?
In Leon County between 2000 and 2009, the largest percentage population increase occurred in the 55-64 age group—47.7 percent. According to The Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, “improvements in health care services and technology, nutritional status, lifestyle, and other areas affecting our health, have contributed to an unprecedented growth in our older adult population.” Americans over 65, the fastest growing segment of our population, will increase from 39.7 million in 2010 to 53.7 million in 2020.
As we turned our attention to this demographic we realized that there were confirmed transportation issues. More than 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 65 do not drive. Most of our elders outlive their decision to stop driving by more than a decade.
Here are some local transportation options/services for older drivers and non-drivers.
- The Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged—provides door-to door transportation for, “health care, shopping, education, employment, social activities and other life sustaining activities.” Call for eligibility information 1-800-983-2435, or contacting the Elder Helpline at 1-800-963-5337.
- Dial-A-Ride—services Leon County elderly and qualified individuals with a physician’s documentation of disability. The service is provided within 3/4 mile of Star Metro’s route and is wheelchair accessible. The fare is $2.50.
- AARP 55 Alive Driver Safety Program—a two-day, eight-hour driving course offered by AARP for $10. Completion may lower auto insurance premiums, call 1-888-227-7660.
- Coaching the Mature Driver—for more information, call 1-800-621-7619.
- The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Driving Improvement Course—insurance premium discounts offered as a benefit for attending. For more information, call 1-850-617- 2000.
We need to support our citizens for as long as they are capable to drive, and to offer as many options as possible when they are no longer able to drive.
We appreciate your feedback as New Leaf Market progresses as a cooperative that is responsive to its owners and shoppers. Find us on Facebook, or you can leave your comments with us at the Board portion of our website or the in-store comment box for the New Leaf Market Board.