Talk to a Care Advisor

1-800-955-8510

How Can Driving Help Seniors Stay Mentally Healthy?

Seniors DrivingIt is ironic that seniors often get a bad rap for their driving skills. Seniors are safe drivers compared to other age groups - according to non-profit organization Senior Driving AAA, since they tend to make responsible decisions, including using seat belts, refraining from talking on the phone while driving, and respecting speed limits. Indeed, one study undertaken at Columbia University indicates that there is one reason why older adults who have good eyesight and reflexes might consider driving as long as they can: their mental health can go downhill when they stop taking to the wheel!

Driving Cessation and Depression

The researchers noted that around 82% of American seniors continue to have a valid license and drive. After seniors stopped driving, many faced a doubly high risk of depression, which in turn led to impairments in cognitive and physical functioning. Researchers stated that for older drivers, taking to the wheel is more than just a privilege; it is an important part of daily life and it symbolizes independence and freedom. Of course, when cognitive and physical functions decline, it is important to stop driving, but so long as seniors continue to pass any required exams, they might consider driving as a way to maintain the many benefits it brings.

Feeling More Confident Behind the Wheel

If you are a senior and you wish to maintain your confidence levels behind the wheel, the first step is to inquire about state driving laws, to see which tests you may be required to complete. Some states require eye and driving tests on a yearly basis, while others require checks every five years. From around the age of 65 onwards, most states ask drivers to renew their licenses in person rather than online. In addition to completing the required test, you should also select a vehicle that matches your needs, and is safe and secure. Opt for a vehicle with safety features such as anti-lock braking, tire pressure monitoring, automatic emergency braking, side airbags, etc. Many newer cars let you know if you are driving over a line, which is a great way to stay in lane and steer clear of drivers in faster lanes.

Knowing When to Stop

Some conditions - including vision problems like cataracts and those requiring medications that may have side effects, may indicate that driving isn’t a good idea. The American Academy of Neurology notes that signs of decreased ability on the road include near-accidents, having a chronic condition like arthritis, and having traffic citations. Your doctor is the best person to let you know if driving might not be suitable for you anymore.

Driving for as long as you can, when you are in good shape, is ideal, as it is an important part of autonomy and independence for seniors. Because older drivers tend to be frailer, it is also important to know when it is time to cede control of the wheel to someone else. There are many arrangements you can make if you decide to stop driving. Public transport and the help of family and friends can go a long way towards ensuring you do not lose out if by any chance you decide to start enjoying the road as a passenger.

Comments

Back to Articles & Info > >

Related Articles

Mental Health Tips for Socially Isolated Seniors

Although stay-at-home orders are now mandatory in nearly all states to prevent the spread of...

Read Full Article

6 Steps - Proper Glove Use to Prevent Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Millions of Americans are now using protective gloves to prevent the spread of coronavirus....

Read Full Article

5 Tips for Seniors to Boost Immune System During Coronavirus

Out of all the age demographics most a risk of the coronavirus (Covid-19), senior citizens...

Read Full Article

The Impact on Senior Care from COVID-19 – 5 Predictions

Coronavirus is perhaps the scariest for boomers and senior citizens, as they face the...

Read Full Article

Best Hikes for Senior Citizens in the Greater Chattanooga Area

We're proud to present to our readership a quick overview of the benefits of hiking, as...

Read Full Article

How to Not Lose Your Identity from Being a Caregiver

Are you one of the 40.5 million people in the United States who provide unpaid caregiving...

Read Full Article

CommuniServe – An Outstanding Resource for Senior Veterans!

Senior Directory is privileged to interview Kevin Fehr, the Found of CommuniServe....

Read Full Article

The Dangers of Pressure Sores Among Nursing Home Residents

Does your elderly loved one live in a nursing home? If so, you really should know about the...

Read Full Article

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Nursing Homes?

In states where medical marijuana is legal, shouldn’t senior citizens living in...

Read Full Article

Consent or Rape? The Dementia Dilemma…

What happens when somebody has dementia and it is not certain whether they have the capacity...

Read Full Article

Order your printed copy of Senior Directory today!

Still enjoy flipping through the pages of a printed copy? So do we! Click on the button below to start receiving Senior Directory right at your doorstep!

Order Your Copy

I prefer the digital copy, please.

Speak to one of our advisors 1-800-955-8510