Village wheels add to retirees’ independence
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.’’
Access to a car has given them extra freedom, Roy and Irene Finlay say.