Talk Directly 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

Related Articles

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

The Dangers of Calcium Deficiency in Senior Citizens

As we get older, calcium is one of the most vital nutrients for healthy bones and preventing...

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

Bird Watching: A Hobby with Benefits for Seniors

Watching birds makes you feel young-at-heart and helps your mind be clear and focused, like...

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

Nutritional Support Tips for Bone Health

Building bone is a complex function involving many components. Included here are only a few...

Read Full Article

Common Allergies in Alabama Affecting Senior Citizens

As Alabamans experience seasonal changes, we also must be prepared for the allergies that...

Read Full Article

Attracting Birds: The Upside of Downsizing

Even if you find yourself living in a smaller house, or in an apartment or condo, there are...

Read Full Article

Best Handicap Accessible Sites in Birmingham Alabama

Suffering from mobility restrictions shouldn't stop you or a loved one from enjoying all...

Read Full Article

Top Home Safety Tips for Seniors

Out of all age demographics, senior citizens are perhaps the most at risk of safety issues...

Read Full Article

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Sign up for our FREE monthly newsletter to receive the most up-to-date information on caring for your elderly parent or loved one

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