With baby boomers turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day, the aging population is expected to increase considerably in the coming decades. This means more seniors on the road who are facing driving difficulties that come with old age. There are an estimated 325,000 drivers over the age of 85 in Florida alone, and now the Senate is taking steps to prepare.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging recently held a hearing titled Transportation: A Challenge to Independence for Seniors in the hopes of uncovering ways to help older adults maintain their independent living lifestyle as they age, without threatening their safety on the roads. The panel tackled many issues, but the one takeaway was that there is no uniform solution to help seniors stay connected.
"Many seniors combat isolation and struggle to obtain access to medical care and other vital social services, especially in geographically dispersed areas," Therese McMillan of the Federal Transit Administration told the panel. "Strategies to address the needs of elderly populations in rural and urban settings are not identical; there is no one-size-fits-all solution."
One of the biggest hurdles in keeping seniors safe on the road is recognizing when it no longer makes sense for them to be behind the wheel. There are a number of signs that could tip caregivers off as to whether their loved ones should at least cut back on the time they spend on the road. According to Care.com, there are a number of factors to take into consideration, but it's best for family members to pay attention to their aging relatives while they're behind the wheel. If they notice issues such as difficulty signaling, driving at the wrong speeds, problems turning or any close calls, it may be time to broach the subject of whether they should still be driving.