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Housing & Transportation

To Drive or Not to Drive?

Being able to get out and about—going shopping, seeing friends, visiting the doctor, taking classes—is vital to maintaining an elder's sense of independence and can contribute to an elder's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Transportation is one of the key things that elders need who want to "age in place." But problems with transportation—whether it's the elder's driving ability or the need to find safe and reliable transportation for the elder—is one of the most troublesome issues for caregivers.

Most elders prefer driving their own car. According to the American Automobile Association, drivers age 65 and older take more than 80 percent of trips in their own vehicles. However, the American Medical Association reports that motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among 64-to-75-year olds and the second leading cause (after falls) among 77-to-84-year olds.

For general public safety, we need to help elders recognize their changing abilities and adapt their driving practices accordingly. We must identify impaired drivers and remove their licenses, while supporting competent elders with on-going monitoring.

For the caregiver, the conversation about whether an elder can continue to drive is often one of the most difficult ones. Information and assessment resources can be found at the following Web sites:

See also Starting the Conversation.

Continue to Transportation Services...