When Seniors Stop Driving, Social Isolation Looms
When elderly drivers have to stop getting behind the wheel, they run the risk of social isolation, especially if they don’t have an alternative transportation plan, a recent study suggests. The study looked at driving habits and social activities, like visiting friends and family or going out to dinner or the movies, for more than 4,300 adults over age 65. With wheels, older adults were much more likely to be out and about than their peers who never drove, the study found. But after elderly drivers lost the ability to hit the road, their participation in social activities declined to match their peers who never drove at all. “Social participation in old age is linked with both physical and mental health benefits,” said study author Tea Pristavec, a sociology researcher at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “Older adults who remain engaged in social life report being in better health, experience lower mortality risk over time, and have lower rates of depression, dementia, and other cognitive impairments,” Pristavec added by email.
“Transportation mobility is often crucial for such continued social participation.” Compared with seniors who had stopped driving, frequent drivers were more than three times as likely to visit friends and family and almost three times as likely to participate in social outings like going to the movies, Pristavec reported in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Science.
Read full journal article.
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.