Vil­lage wheels add to re­tirees’ in­de­pen­dence

North Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - AMY BAKER

An­other car comes in handy for re­tiree Roy Fin­lay when his wife, Irene, is out vol­un­teer­ing at Hospice.

The Fin­lays are mak­ing the most of their re­tire­ment vil­lage’s three new cars, which are avail­able for per­sonal use by res­i­dents.

Metlife­care’s Green­wich Gar­dens Vil­lage in Auck­land’s Unsworth Heights has been of­fer­ing the car-shar­ing ser­vice as a pi­lot since Au­gust.

It is be­lieved to be an in­dus­try first.

Hav­ing down­sized to one car, be­ing able to book a vil­lage car when­ever needed meant one part­ner wouldn’t be ‘‘stuck’’ at home un­nec­es­sar­ily, the cou­ple said.

‘‘It’s made life for the both us of that much more plea­sur­able, be­cause one of us isn’t stranded in­side the house,’’ Roy said.

Metlife­care chief ex­ec­u­tive Glen Sowry said the pi­lot ser­vice meant res­i­dents could main­tain their in­de­pen­dence while avoid­ing the has­sle of own­ing a car.

‘‘For res­i­dents, car-shar­ing cuts those un­nec­es­sary costs as­so­ci­ated with own­ing a car in­clud­ing war­rant, reg­is­tra­tion and me­chanic bills.’’

Set­tlers Al­bany sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager Ros­alie Pearson said the car-shar­ing was ‘‘quite an in­no­va­tive’’ ini­tia­tive.

While it was not a ser­vice cur­rently of­fered at Set­tlers Al­bany – as most res­i­dents had their own cars and there was a bus stop right out­side – it might be con­sid­ered or brought up by the res­i­dents’ com­mit­tee if there was a need, she said.

Age Con­cern North Shore ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jan­ferie BryceChap­man said so­cial iso­la­tion was re­duced when peo­ple were able to get out and about.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion did not have statis­tics on car use or own­er­ship among older peo­ple, but had no­ticed the ‘‘up­take’’ in the use of free buses for those who were able, she said.

Se­nior cit­i­zens ride for free on trains and se­lected bus and ferry ser­vices in Auck­land with a Su­perGold pub­lic trans­port con­ces­sion.

Roy said while the bus was ac­ces­si­ble, the stop was around 10 min­utes’ walk away.

Irene said she thought the pi­lot showed con­cern for the wel­fare of older peo­ple.

‘‘It’s think­ing square,’’ she said. out­side the

The car-shar­ing pi­lot could be ex­panded if suc­cess­ful, Sowry said. More than 10 per cent of peo­ple in the Up­per Har­bour area are aged 65 years and over.

‘‘It's think­ing out­side the square.’’

AMY BAKER/STUFF

Ac­cess to a car has given them ex­tra free­dom, Roy and Irene Fin­lay say.

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