• Cindy Davis

Why Keep Older Adults Safely Driving?

Updated: Jul 26

Giving up the car keys leads to social isolation and fewer medical visits, putting seniors at risk.


Driving Benefits for Senior Citizens

It’s all about independence, self-esteem, and connection.


Baby boomers are one of the most auto-centric generations in U.S. history. According to studies by University of Texas Professor Sandra Rosenbloom, older adults between the age of 65 and 84, make 90% of their trips by car; and those over 85 years old use a car for 80% of their trips. Seniors most often drive to either take care of basic needs or stay involved in the community. With such a big reliance on a car, its important to figure out how you can safely keep driving.


Five Common Senior Citizen Outings


Five Common Senior Citizen Outings

  • Medical Appointments for doctor’s visits, medical tests and treatments, therapy sessions, and exercise classes.

  • Shopping Errands for groceries, toiletries, supplies, clothing, gifts, and other essentials.

  • Community Functions at churches, libraries, recreation centers, and volunteer locations.

  • Entertainment and Cultural Events in theaters, museums, sports arenas, and restaurants.

  • Celebrations and Social Gatherings with family and friends.

Because over 75% of adults over the age of 65 live in auto-dependent rural and suburban locations, having a license and car, or access to someone to who can give seniors a ride, is a must. Further studies have shown that giving up driving increases mortality, a move to a senior living facility, and isolation and depression. This makes sense considering:

  • 54% of non-driving seniors opt to stay at home on a given day versus only 9% of senior drivers;

  • 65% passed on trips for social, family, or religious activities; and

  • Non-drivers made 15% fewer trips to medical appointments.

With this in mind it’s critical that caregivers and their loved ones take every opportunity to extend their driving ability and develop a plan to use viable transportation options once it’s time to stop driving.


Sources:

“Our Infrastructure Fails Seniors Who Don’t Drive, And That’s A Problem For Everyone,” Charlie Sorrell, 04-19-16, https://www.fastcompany.com/3058785/our-infrastructure-fails-seniors-who-dont-drive-and-thats-a-problem-for-everyone

“Better Options for Older Adults,” Helen Kerschner and Joan Harris, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/07mar/03.cfm

“Meeting Transportation Needs in n Aging-Friendly Community,” Sandra Rosenbloom, Journal of the American Society on Aging, https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/livable-communities/old-learn/transportation/meeting-transportation-needs-in-an-aging-friendly-community-aarp.pdf