Discussing Transportation Issues Early with Seniors Eases Their Transition into Not Driving

Talking to an elderly grandparent or parent about not driving before they are no longer able to drive is key for seniors who want to make a smooth transition from being a driver to being dependent on others for transportation.

Elin Schold Davis, a coordinator of the Older Driver Initiate at the American Occupational Therapy Association, says, “We talk about finances; we talk about housing; we have to talk about transportation.”

While many senior drivers stop driving on their own, Schold Davis points out that giving up driving can be emotional and create a loss of independence. However, at-risk seniors who give up driving are protecting others as well as themselves. Being in a car crash could render elderly drivers totally dependent on others for care. “That senior is much more vulnerable to have fractured ribs, fractured bones and to have their health status markedly diminished following that low speed crash,” Schold Davis says.

To ensure seniors’ safety on the road, several states have implemented new licensing requirements for elderly drivers. In Washington, D.C., for example, drivers over the age of 70 must appear in person, take an eye test, and get a doctor’s exam to renew their licenses.

“It’s not ageism,” Schold Davis says, “It is looking at who demonstrates functional impairment when they come in for their license renewal.”

Website Resource: As baby boomers age, driving becomes a concern, Paula Wilson, December 5, 2013

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