According to a recent study, elderly drivers who stop driving and have no transportation alternatives become less socially active and risk isolation. This can lead to declines in physical, mental, emotional health.The survey found that an increase in driving mobility in seniors lead to an increase in the overall health of a senior, whereas a decrease in driving mobility lead to a significant decrease in overall health.
With a longer life expectancy, older adults can remain socially engaged in later years; leading to better health, lower mortality risk over time, and lower rates of depression, dementia and other cognitive impairments. Social participation is also linked to greater life satisfaction, self-esteem and positive effect. For these reasons, maintaining participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs is part of healthy, active and successful aging.
Fewer Older Drivers
Driving is a way of life in the U.S. and is often crucial for social participation and having access to services. Physical, mental, and emotional decline in later years eventually lead to a decision to reduce and cease driving. In the U.S., more than 600,000 seniors over the age of 65 stop driving every year and must rely on other transportation.
Limited Driving Leads to Cessation
Most seniors start ceasing to drive by limiting their driving behaviors. They drive less frequently, shorter distances and to fewer destinations, adapt speed, and restrict trips to familiar roads and particular hours.
Some need a little help in making the decision to stop driving, and family members can watch for signs. A driver who becomes disoriented or has trouble following directions may also need to be discouraged from driving. At some point, it becomes a safety issue—both for the senior and for the public at large.
Receiving Rides Can Help Prolong Social Participation
Receiving rides, a component of driving mobility, is a crucial alternative transportation option for older adults as their own ability to drive declines. Family members, friends and caregivers are often best able to provide flexible, supportive, door-to-door service, with escort assistance that best meets the older individual’s changing needs.
Seniors are often hesitant to ask for rides because they fear being a burden to others. When they do ask for help, they tend to request rides for basic needs, like doctor visits and grocery shopping, not for social activities.
Those who live in metropolitan areas may have public transportation options, including buses, taxis, and Uber or Lyft.
Public and community transportation are often unsuitable for older individuals due to limited schedules during non-peak times, limited service to nonwork destinations, poor accessibility, low availability, inadequately trained drivers and limited personal assistance. Additionally, many seniors and their families are simply not aware these options exist.
Senior Living Centers
Social interaction can also be provided in community living centers, whether for active seniors or for those requiring some assistance with daily living activities. Most provide field trips and outings, in addition to on-site activities and community dining. These can be a good, albeit often costly, choice to encourage social participation if transportation options are limited.
At Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we work with seniors and their families to ensure that independence and safety are preserved as long as possible. To learn more about how you can protect your home, spouse and life savings as well as saving on taxes and preserving your independence, register for a free workshop today.
At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.
We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.