In the race to find technological solutions for an aging population, one senior living community is already out of the gate. Roland Park Place, a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Baltimore, Maryland, recently launched their own Zipcars, a unique car rental service where renters can share a car, or book the vehicle by the hour.
Keith Spillane, Roland Park Place’s VP of Finance, told RetirementHomes.com that there were a number of factors which caused them to bring on two Zipcars of their own, including a shortage of parking space on campus, environmental considerations, as well as increasing the ease and convenience for older people who don’t have their own vehicles. In addition, the Zipcars are helping the bottom line of Roland Park Place’s residents, Spillane said. “For those residents that use their car very infrequently, this could also be a cost savings option as well since insurance, gas, and maintenance are all included,” he said.
For many seniors without vehicles of their own, daily outdoor activities – even when living in a senior living community – can be trying, including going to the local coffee shop or restaurant, visiting friends and family, or even just going to the shopping mall.
Without a car, especially during the cold and snowy winter months, waiting outside for public transportation can be dangerous for older and vulnerable seniors, so the ability to rent a car, especially for a short time, can be a big help.
While Zipcars are available throughout Baltimore, and much of the United States and Canada, Roland Park Place physically houses two vehicles of their own – a Nissan Versa, and a Honda Fit – so residents are able to pick up the car without leaving the campus.
According to Jeremy Pomp, General Manager of Zipcar Baltimore, more seniors are using the vehicle sharing option, often for the financial savings. “For any age group – including seniors – owning a vehicle is both a hassle and expensive, especially when the vehicle sits idle most of the day or for multiple days,” he said. “Zipcar members report savings of up to $600 per month compared to car ownership.
Zipcar is a great option for seniors who want on-demand access to a car, but don’t want to deal maintenance and high-costs.” Beyond the financial savings for seniors, Pomp said that many seniors and older people are also attracted to the environmental benefits which come along with car sharing.
“Zipcar has been proven to reduce car ownership in cities like Baltimore,” he said. “Third-party research shows that each Zipcar eliminates the need for up to 15 personally owned vehicles – which will ultimately free up more parking and make roads less congested.”