The importance of driving for older people and how the pain of driving cessation can be reduced
Musselwhite, C. (2011) The importance of driving for older people and how the pain of driving cessation can be reduced. Signpost: Journal of Dementia and Mental Health Care of Older People, 15 (3). pp. 22-26. ISSN 1368-4345
Publisher's URL: http://www.signpostjournal.org.uk/
Older people are more reliant on cars than ever before to meet their day-to-day needs. Giving-up driving is associated with much angst and can result in mental and physical health problems. However, such problems can be reduced if older drivers plan to give-up driving before they need to and gradually reduce their driving. Those that suffer worst tend to be drivers who are told to give-up driving and do so without any preparation. Practical solutions for those giving-up driving are evident, including lifts, walking more and using community and public transport, but use of these varies with both provision and confidence in use. Affective and emotional factors associated with being a car driver, including independence, freedom, control, status and roles, are also lost when giving-up driving. Hence, 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. A social travel group is suggested as an appropriate mechanism for this, along with raising the need for early contemplation of giving-up driving and its associated social issues through the use of community theatre.
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