Tag Archives: Aging

Will mind, body, and soul melt into nothingness when I can no longer drive?

For this first BLOG post I have chosen to comment on an article that I came across. The article deals with the scientific findings that support the notion that driving cessation has adverse effects on cognition, mental and physical health. The cognitive research that is involved in this study would allow people to understand just what the cessation of driving can do to someone that has gotten used to driving and taking care of themselves (being independent). The objective of the study is to determine what effect driving cessation has on the health and well-being of older adults. The quantitative data within the experiment used a cross sectional, cohort control design that had a comparison group of current drivers. Researchers have concluded that drivers 55 and older tend to experience an emotional and physical decline once they stop driving. They found, based on 16 studies, that driving cessation is associated with a decline in health, social, cognitive, and physical functions. They also were able to distinguish that these people that stopped driving were at a higher risk to be admitted to a long term care facility, and were also at a higher risk of dying (mortality). The researchers found that car ownership and driving is directly related to the amount of independence and satisfaction with life that an older person feels he or she has. Researchers deemed that driving is an important facet of freedom and is often associated with the level of control a person feels he or she has. A study was done in Australia and it found that older people valued driving as the second most important activity of daily living (IADL and ADL). Older drivers are at a disadvantage when driving due to the fact that driving can be a highly complex task that involves a certain skill set, which includes cognitive, sensory-perceptive, and physical abilities. It was found that the most commonly cited reason for driving cessation was health problems. This makes me question this studies results because if health reasons are a reason for driving cessation, how can you accurately measure the ill effects of driving cessation? The health decline prior to the cessation of driving may in fact affect the mental state and cognitive functioning of an older driver. I think it would be safe to say that when a person is forced to stop driving that their physical and mental health is already in question and deteriorating. The person will know that they are on a decline most likely and this can be the explanation for the onset of depression once driving has ceased to occur, in fact, a 5-year study found that the cessation of driving almost doubled the risk of developing depression in older adults. I agree that driving cessation can have adverse effects on the mental and physical health/functioning of older adults, as such, I believe that the cessation of driving is just another hammer being dropped on the foot of these older people. I believe that the fact that they can no longer drive, drives their mind and body to worsen in state. It should be noted that not everyone deems driving as important, therefore, the cessation of driving may not affect everyone negatively. These finding were all published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, with Stanford Chihuri, Thelma J. Mielenz, Charles J. DiMaggio, Marian E. Betz, Carolyn DiGuiseppi, Vanya C. Jones, and Guohua Li as the authors.

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LAWLS

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References:

Driving Cessation and Health Outcomes in Older Adults. (2016, January 19). Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.13931/full