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Is Driving Cessation Really The Best Idea for Aging Seniors?

There are plenty of studies that list the reasons why older adults are no longer behind the wheel after 65 years of age, and drivers in the U.S. beyond 65 will represent about 25 percent of the population by 2025.

But according to a new study conducted by RAND (research and analysis company), the results of a number of studies based on data like miles traveled for various age groups, traffic accidents and causes and various age groups have shown to be inconclusive.

With the help of information released through the Fatal Accident Reporting System and more defined parameters, it’s been shown that seniors are really only 16 percent more likely to cause a car accident than adult drivers – compared to younger drivers who are 188 percent more likely.

Organizations like AAA are dedicated to dispelling the myths about older drivers being the cause of a majority of the accidents on the road. Independent studies done by AAA are now showing that older adults who stop driving are five times more likely to be placed in a senior care facility and two times more likely to suffer from depression.

Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that once seniors make the decision to stop driving they’re not able to spend as much time with family and friends as they did when they were mobile. The study done by AAA found that as older Americans stop driving, they experience things like diminished productivity and low participation in daily life.

Over a period of 13 years, those groups that seniors’ network with drop 51 percent once they stop driving, while the risk of depression nearly doubles. We understand that older Americans are more at risk for automobile-related accidents as they age because of failing hearing and eyesight, declining motor skills and reflexes, drowsiness from medicines, chronic illness and mental emergencies, and safety for all drivers is the number one priority for those of us here at Freedom Home Care. 

But AAA has developed a number of solutions that help keep seniors on the road safer and longer, like the Interactive Driving Evaluation which helps determine how a person’s visual, mental, and physical conditions can affect driver safety, ways to combat the vision, hearing, mental, and cognitive changes that happen to older adults, and a free online tool called Roadwise RX which helps record medications and prescriptions while offering feedback on their side effects.

When it all comes down to it, if driving is no longer an activity for seniors, that activity needs to be replaced. That’s where we come in. If you or your loved one is unable to leave their home, let Freedom Home Care help. Visit our website for a full list of our senior home care services.

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