According to the white paper the parents decision to stop driving usually coincides with the worsening of a medical condition and is what first alerts the Alpha Daughter to the fact that her parents need help and can no longer lead totally independent lives. According to Peter Kruger, author of the paper; In many cases the parent has been retired for ten or more years and has reorganised their social life around a seven day leisure week. They sometimes find it difficult to accept that the Alpha Daughter, who is still pursuing a career, cannot provide an on-demand travel service.
The paper highlights a parents hospital or GP appointment as the journey an Alpha Daughter finds most difficult to fit into a busy working day. According to Alphadaughters.com the management of healthcare services and transport of elderly patients are likely to converge and this will open up opportunities for IT vendors and companies who provide ehealth and online support services for Alpha Daughters who arrange both care and transport for their parents.
As the Alpha Daughter often makes use of third party transport services for their parents, Alphadaughters.com carried out research into a range of on-demand and volunteer transport schemes supported by local authorities. It was found that medical related journeys accounted for over 20% of journeys made by volunteer transport providers and that the demand for all transport services for the elderly was rising at rate of 5% per annum. The paper sees a question mark over whether local authorities can maintain this growth in the face of current spending caps.
Alphadaughters.com sees the possibility of the volunteer transport sector becoming self-sustaining, with respect to labour, during the next fifteen years as newly retired drivers use the revenue they earn from ex-drivers to fund their own motoring. Older drivers will also gain from this arrangement as they no longer have the costs associated with car ownership, says Kruger, who goes on to point out; If this type of arrangement becomes widespread, it could have a macro economic impact as there will be a flow of wealth from the leading edge to the tail of the baby boom generation and also a conversion of assets into revenue as elderly people sell their cars. The white paper points to opportunities for transport operators who may be able to rebrand volunteer transport schemes to make them look more like a car club or lift share scheme and less like a charity.
Car ownership means subtly different things to each generation, says Kruger. Most people see learning to drive and passing their test as an important milestone in their life giving them independence from their parents. They also regard their car as a status symbol or mobile advertisement of their prosperity. However the younger generation seem to find it easier to detach car ownership from car use. The paper suggests that the attitude to car ownership amongst the current generation of baby boomers could set the tone for the debate about what older people do when their driving careers are over. According to Kruger; Currently the fear of being forced to surrender their license is disproportionate to the likelihood of this happening to a baby boomer during the coming decade. A lot could happen during those ten years. Two things the baby boomer generation did during the sixties was to co-opt radical ideas and create consensus throughout society. If they co-opt the younger generations attitude to lift sharing and car clubs, we could see a radical shift in attitudes to car ownership. Kruger believes that such a shift would have a significant impact on the motor industry with a precipitous drop in sales after 2020.