Transportation Challenges for the “Sandwich Generation”

Transportation Challenges for the “Sandwich Generation”

The Sandwich Generation is classified as middle-aged people who have to care for their parents and their children. The middle generation between the younger and the older generations. For example, one may be classified as a part of the Sandwich Generation if they have an 18-year-old daughter and an 84-year-old mother.

My father recently gave up his license. This was tough for him as he cared for his children and used a vehicle most of his life to get to work and generate income to feed and house them. My mother still has her license, but of course at age 84, there are concerns about how long she can continue to drive safely.

My 18-year-old daughter now has her ‘G’ license, which in our province, means she has little restrictions on who and when she can drive. This is a privilege she has earned after 2 years of graduated licensing. My 16-year-old daughter now has her ‘G1’ license, a beginner’s permit which allows her to drive with a sober, licensed adult in the passenger seat.

Teens have 4 times more accidents than all other aged drive groups combined.

Being a part of the Sandwich Generation with young teens and elderly parents, I often worry about their safety when driving. Is my 18-year-old driving safe and under the speed limit? Is my 16-year-old getting enough time behind the wheel to make her a competent driver? Is my mother able to drive when she is tired as she is regularly caring for my father? At her age, her reflexes aren’t what they used to be and that worries me.

If you lose your teenage child, it will most often be due to an incident with a vehicle.

There are over 2.1 million Canadians that are 16 – 19 years of age. These young people are old enough to drive but often lack the experience to do so safely. There are 3.7 million Canadians that are 65 – 79 years old. A portion of this population is fine to drive but some are approaching the age where they should not be.

Next to teenagers, seniors have the greatest number of car accidents. It is estimated that people make 8 to 12 navigating decisions for every kilometre they drive. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, even small changes as a result of aging can affect your driving.

If you are part of the Sandwich Generation, have you thought about what you need to do for both your children and your parents to ensure their safety? Do you have a plan in place for a time when your son or daughter has consumed some alcohol and shouldn’t be behind the wheel? Is that part of your evening conversations over dinner? Do you have a solution for your mother or father who shouldn’t be driving, either at certain times or overall?

Planning for this is every bit as important as planning for your health check-ups, completing your financial plan and managing your other family plans. Ensuring you are prepared will improve the safety of not only your children and your parents, but for others in your community.

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