When Seniors Stop Driving

Dec 29, 2011, 4:23 PM, Posted by

A new blog post from the Network for Public Health Law presents the dual public health challenges of seniors driving past the time they should be and the hardships posed when seniors need to get around without their cars. The concern is significant. Studies show that seniors are involved in more fatal car accidents than any other driving age group, and many of the accidents are the results of age-related impairments such as declines in vision and cognition abilities, and increased use of medications.

Because state laws vary, the Network offers legislative proposals for states to consider—as well as the pros and cons for each—such as physician reporting on a senior’s eligibility to drive and restricting driving based solely on age.

The Network’s post offers a link to a helpful AARP article with suggestions for transportation alternatives for seniors who may not be able to drive a car of their own. Here are some others from Peter Notarstefano, director of home and community-based services at Leading Age, formerly the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

  • Most states have a dial-in service, usually through the area's Agency on Aging or Department of Social Services; most states also have a dial-in service to connect senior Medicaid recipients with a ride to a Medicaid appointment. There may be limitations on times and days.
  • Social Service Block grants and Older Americans Act funding through the local area Agency on Aging will provide transportation to grocery shopping and medical appointments for seniors for free or at a low cost.
  • Local municipalities at times have transportation programs for older adults. Check here to find out a source of transportation for seniors in your area.

The website of the Rural Assistance Center provides a variety of resources for seniors living in rural areas.

>>Read the post from the Network for Public Health Law.

Weigh In: Does your community have an effective system to help seniors get around without driving their own cars?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.