Driving Can Benefit Your Health

Driving has been shown to be very good for your mental state. As research has shown that getting behind the wheel of a car may reduce dementia risk and offer other health benefits for the elderly. Older adults may also benefit from driving a car, according to the latest research. Not only can driving boost cognitive function, staving off conditions like dementia, but it may also halt the aging process. The research also shows that emotional and physical health can diminish once people stop driving. The study found that after older adults quit driving or must give up their psychological and physical health, it might decline. As losing independence can often lead to feelings of depression. Previous studies support the notion that quitting driving may increase depressive symptoms. The researchers suggest that driving can stop depressive symptoms.

Professor Dr Guohua Li of Columbia University, New York, said: “For many older adults, driving is instrumental to their daily living and is a strong indicator of self-control, personal freedom and independence. Unfortunately, it is almost inevitable to face the decision to stop driving during the process of ageing as cognitive and physical functions continue to decline. When the decision time comes, it is important to take into consideration the adverse health consequences of driving cessation and make personalised plans to maintain mobility and social functions.”

The process of driving, for example a prestige car, may also ward off any dementia risk dramatically. Currently, there is no upper age limit for driving a vehicle. You can choose when to stop as long as you do not have any health conditions that affect your driving. However, all drivers need to renew their driving licence when they reach age 70 and every 3 years from then on. You don’t have to get a driving or medical test to renew your license. But, driving a car might be helping to protect millions of elderly adults from the indications of dementia in addition to holding back bodily signs of ageing, according to new research. Getting behind the wheel is a method of warding off cognitive decline since it encourages the driver to remain alert, in addition to giving them a sense of self-control, personal liberty and freedom, it said. Using a vehicle can also make the difference for many pensioners without great public transport links to get out and about and be active. In saying this, there are certain elements in which can be added to your car to help the elderly in and out of the vehicle. For example, tjm side steps can benefit the elderly drivers when moving in and out of their cars. Another add on are 4wd accessories, which can improve a cars usability for older drivers. Older adults, and seniors who drive on a regular basis may also benefit by adding a gps navigation for their car, so if they have trouble remembering roads and signs, they can easily still drive with a handy gps by their side.

However, the study by epidemiologists also discovered that when older motorists need to quit driving, their psychological and physical health declines and may cause wider issues like depression. It means that though decreasing health – such as failing vision – is a reason for many older adults to give up driving, giving up also results in further declining health.

Professor Dr Guohua Li of Columbia University, New York, also told the specialist Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study: “When the decision time comes, it is important to take into consideration the adverse health consequences of driving cessation and make personalised plans to maintain mobility and social functions.”
The issue of older drivers has proved much controversy lately, however. A petition urging the Department of Transport to introduce mandatory age-appropriate retesting every three years after a motorist turns 70 has gained enormous amounts of support on the internet with over 200,000 signatures.

The Change.org request was launched by Londoner Benjamin Brooks Dutton, Whose 33-year-old spouse Desreen was murdered in November 2012 as the couple walked home with their young son. Geoffrey Lederman, who was 85 years of age, mounted the pavement, hitting Mrs Brooks. Lederman was arrested for 18 months for causing death by dangerous driving. During the sentencing at Blackfriars’ Crown Court, Judge Peter Clarke QC said that any older driver who knows or ought to admit that they might be losing attention and their faculties is no less a threat than a drunken driver who understands the same.

In October, mother-of-two Zoe Rowell, 40, sustained serious injuries after being struck Head-on with a girl aged 97 who drove the wrong way down a dual carriageway. The pensioner passed away, and Zoe was left in a coma for a month after.

In November, the General Medical Council advised GPs that they must inform the DVLA if they know a patient remains on the street despite not being deemed medically fit.

In new draft guidance, the GMC said physicians have a public protection duty to Inform police if a patient is driving against medical advice, which overrides patient confidentiality guidlines, and they don’t need a patient’s consent to notify the DVLA.

However, we will leave this question to you. Should there be a compulsory driving test for older individuals?


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