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Maintaining mobility throughout later life

Maintaining mobility throughout later life

Personal mobility generally declines with advanced age and this affects the level of independence that older people can enjoy. The NSW Ageing Strategy 2016-2020 is underpinned by a life stages approach that recognises people experience the ageing process in different ways, at different times. Building on this approach, the Older Persons Mobility Plan 2018-2022 uses these life stages to guide and inform actions that support the mobility of older people in NSW as they age.

Older people’s mobility can be understood as progressing through three broad life stages set out in the following table on page 8.

These stages can overlap and are not determined by chronological age. Rather, they show the continuum of changing needs as people age and the associated changes in patterns of use across public, community and private transport.

A life-stage approach to transport service delivery

Active ageing

Most commonly in the immediate pre and post retirement age when older people are relatively healthy and they are typically more active in the community.

People can generally travel independently, with majority driving, walking and/or using public transport without difficulty.

Active transport including walking and cycling are encouraged as transport options for active older people.

The focus of transport options includes maintaining active ageing as long as possible and not having mobility curtailed as a result of transport services and supporting infrastructure that do not reflect needs during this stage.

The “chauffeuring burden” of older people in this age group, transporting their parents who are frail or grandchildren, increases the car dependency of this age group.

Self- modified activity

Increased likelihood of disability, associated with injury or illness

which may require modification of daily activities.

From a transport perspective, people may take fewer trips, travel shorter distances, choose different travel modes and travel at certain times e.g. not at night. Older drivers aged 75 years and older are also subject to annual medical review to maintain a drivers licence.

Safe walking environments and clear signage become increasingly important during this phase.

Onset of dementia or cognitive impairment may become apparent for some older people during this stage.

People are relatively mobile even though they may have entered the Aged Care system and be receiving some assistance with daily living in their own homes.

Supported living

Many people will require some assistance with their mobility for specific activities, such as shopping or getting to and from medical appointments.

People who find the use of public transport difficult or are no longer driving may seek assisted transport services, such as community transport or taxis. There may also be additional transport support provided by family and friends.

Connection to transport continues to play an important part in supporting older people to remain engaged in their local community.

Six principles for Future Transport

The Future Transport 2056 Strategy is focused on six key principles for the future of mobility in the state, which together aim to positively impact the economy, communities and environment of NSW.

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