As a continuation of Doctors Should Talk to Elderly about Driving Impairments Earlier, Study Reports (Part 1), here are some additional, groundbreaking findings associated with a Colorado University study recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. This study, which focused on when health care professionals do and should talk to their elderly patients about their ability (or slow degradation thereof) to drive, found that:
- Many of elderly patients were unaware that their health care providers even knew or were concerned about their driving capabilities as they age.
- Waiting to discuss how physical impairments like the loss of vision and reflexes could impact driving capabilities can leave potentially dangerous drivers on the roads for years longer than they should be.
- A target time for medical professionals to have conversations regarding an elderly person’s driving abilities would be around the age of 65 years old or when the individual starts receiving Medicare benefits.
While medical professionals surveyed in this study reported that they tended to put of discussions regarding the elderly’s driving abilities due to concerns that it would offend them (as driving is so closely linked to many people’s sense of freedom), researchers encouraged them to start having these discussions earlier in order to help promote safer roadways and ultimately to try to reduce the number of car accidents caused by elderly drivers who may not be as alert or capable of operating a car (due to, for example, loss of hearing or other physical impairments).
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