Now that your older loved one is off the road, you’re relieved, right? You could soon be facing a new worry. When senior citizens stop driving, their risk of developing symptoms of depression doubles and their physical health is also negatively impacted in a number of ways. All this may lead to faster declines in both physical and mental health as well as increased risk of death, according to a new study.In this study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers reviewed 16 studies that examined the health and well-being of older adults after they stopped driving.Driving a car is a key factor in independent living and life satisfaction for older adults.
Several factors are likely responsible for these findings, noted the researchers. For example, after they stop driving, seniors have fewer out-of-home activities, and as a result may have fewer opportunities for social interaction.“For many older adults, driving is more than a privilege. It is instrumental to their daily living and is a strong indicator of self-control, personal freedom and independence,” noted Guohua Li, M.D., DrPH, the senior author of the study, professor of epidemiology and the founding director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University.If your senior loved ones have stopped driving, make sure they still have plenty of opportunities to get out and socialize, not to mention keeping important appointments like doctor visits. Consider support from your local Home Instead Senior Care® office. Find a location near you at