Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How Difficult is it for Elderly to Give up their Car?

The importance of driving for older people and how the pain of driving cessation can be reduced (11 page pdf, Charles Musselwhite, Signpost: Journal of Dementia and Mental Health, 2011)

Also discussed here: Too old to drive? So now what? (Adrian Davis, World Streets, Dec. 19, 2013)

Today we review an article that examined the challenge that will eventually affect all of us- giving up driving one’s car because of old age. This is not only a shock that could lead to depression or worse if unprepared but statistics show that more and more of those over 65 are driving, especially females. The trend toward poor urban design in many cities that encourages sprawl and a dependence on having a car does not help. Public transit is not a viable option for many seniors. Solutions include involving seniors in training and developing social outlets in the community to seek out ways to lead happy lives without dependence on a car.


Key Quotes:

“Living less car-dependent lives can improve overall health and well-being for much of the European population. Those who are currently habitualised into car use can be helped to reduce this reliance and much behaviour change working in transport planning focuses on assisting them”

“Those that suffer worst tend to be drivers who are told to give-up driving and do so without any preparation.”

“In the UK, 50% of those aged 70 or over hold a full driving licence, which has increased from 32% in 1989.. [over 65] a 200% increase in male drivers and a 600% increase in female drivers in this age group.”

“giving-up driving in later life can be very painful and have devastating consequences in terms of mental and physical health and is strongly correlated with an increase in depression and loneliness”

“older people felt public transport did not take them to places of interest nor offered a particularly interesting journey,”

“how do you go on now without a car now everything – the hospital, the banks, the post-office is geared around them?”

“support for life beyond the car is needed at a younger age (while older people are driving) to help build solutions and confidence in transport use beyond the car and should involve emotional support, as well as practical support.”

“research suggests planning helps mitigate some of the negative emotions associated with giving-up driving ….Family and friends and the wider community need to play a role in supporting older people’s travel needs beyond the car. The role of community engagement in awareness is vital; perhaps utilising the concept of community theatre”
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