Assistance Can Keep Senior Citizens Behind the Wheel Longer - NBC4 Washington

Assistance Can Keep Senior Citizens Behind the Wheel Longer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Wednesday, July 5, 2017)

    Older drivers can be reluctant to hang up their car keys, but programs and strategies can either help senior citizens drive more safely or recognize when it's time to retire from the road.

    Thirty-eight million American 65 and older have a driver’s license, including 3.5 million older than 85.

    Older drivers are not more likely to cause crashes, according to Jennifer Stockburger of Consumer Reports.

    “The highest rate and the most dangerous drivers to others are actually the youngest drivers,” she said.

    Senior citizens are more likely to obey speed limits and far less likely to text while driving.

    Certified driver rehab specialists assess older drivers for vision, memory and processing speed and offer tips and tools to help them on the road.

    “One of the biggest things is keeping active and walking because the aerobic exercise is a great thing for your body and your mind to keep your responses quick,” specialist Lynn Matthes said.

    Getting off the road can lead to other problems for senior citizens.

    “There’s a much higher rate of depression after seniors stop driving,” Stockburger said. “Data has shown that it actually increases their mortality rate. They’re much more likely to end up in a nursing home.”

    “When you can continue to drive, at least that gives you some independence and worth, self-worth, and confidence,” said 70-year-old Sandra Cunningham.

    Consumer Reports compiled a list of the best cars for senior drivers and recommend taking a driver’s education course through the AARP.