When you move into your comfortable Newcastle retirement village, everything is within driving distance. The entirety of Newcastle and its golden beaches are minutes away, and so are Maitland, Pokolbin and the fantastic Hunter Valley. To top it all off, if you want an exciting day trip with the grandkids, everything Sydney has to offer – like fantastic zoos and shopping opportunities – is an easy two hours south.
For anyone gracefully ageing in place, a car offers the opportunity to explore and live life to the fullest. However, as we grow older our bodies do start to stiffen up, our vision dims and other unpredictable quirks can arise. Not every car is appropriate, so what should you be looking for?
What will you need in a car?
With every release of a modern car they become easier to drive, cheaper to run and much safer. Here are some features you should consider when purchasing a new car.
If your vehicle is too high or too low, you may have difficulty climbing in and out of it. Also, two-door cars with large doors are heavier to open and wider in tight parking spaces. Consider a smaller, four-door car of moderate height. Four-door vehicles are better for transporting those grandkids around, too!
Fancy sports seats are no good for tired backs, no matter what the kids think. Make sure you invest in a soft, fully-adjustable seat with lumbar support. If you have lower back pain while driving, think about getting an automatic, as working a clutch can put strain on your lumbar discs.
If you have arthritis, consider thicker steering wheels, larger gear sticks or simpler controls as these will be easier for you to grip and manage when you're on the road. Also, large gauges on the dashboard are easier to see so you don't have to strain.
Although perhaps not what you're used to, many cars nowadays come with a keyless entry/start system. That means you just press a button to unlock the door, open the boot or start the car. It's much easier for arthritic hands, or if you're carrying the groceries.
Modern cars come with plenty of technology to help you drive, park and avoid accidents. Look for terms like 'Parking Assist', 'Lane Departure Warning' and 'Collision Detection' when purchasing. These systems, though complex, could make your life a lot easier (some of them even park your car for you)!