One in Four Canadians Want to Keep Driving Past Age 85
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One in Four Canadians Want to Keep Driving Past Age 85

While many senior citizens are reluctant to give up their car keys for fear of losing their independence, their loved ones are just as reluctant to tell them that it’s not safe for them to drive anymore.

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While many senior citizens are reluctant to give up their car keys for fear of losing their independence, their loved ones are just as reluctant to tell them that it’s not safe for them to drive anymore.

These are a few of the issues explored in a State Farm Canada survey, which found that 26 percent of Canadians want to keep driving past the age of 85.

When the time finally comes to hang up their keys, respondents 65 and old said the three biggest factors affecting their decision are advice from a medical professional (94 percent), concerned family members and friends (27 percent) and a collision (14 percent).

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Just 33 percent of respondents said they’ve had a conversation with a senior family member about giving up their license due to safety concerns. When those conversations occur, they don’t always go well.

Of those respondents who say they’ve spoken with a senior family member about giving up their license, nearly 80 percent said they faced resistance from the family member.

“Canadians are conflicted when it comes to the balance between road safety and the autonomy associated with driving,” said John Bordignon, media relations, State Farm Canada. “These are extremely difficult discussions for families to have. When a person is deemed unfit to drive, it can feel like a sudden loss of independence. To make the transition easier, it’s important for family members to have supportive conversations early on and explore transportation alternatives over time, so that changes in lifestyle come gradually.”

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 Elderly Drivers Face Higher Crash Risk

According to research conducted by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation in 2016, drivers age 65 and older are overrepresented in crashes, particularly those 80 and older.

Among the reasons, seniors are more susceptible to injury and less likely to survive a serious collision than younger drivers. Drivers 65 and over also are susceptible to age-related declines in reaction time and mobility, and can be affected by factors such as heart disease, visual impairment, dementia and impairment due to prescription medication.

“When reviewing the evidence, it becomes clear that elderly drivers are overrepresented in fatal and severe crashes due to a variety of factors associated with advancing age,” said Ward Vanlaar, chief operating officer of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. “One solution is identifying health issues that affect driving ability and having conversations with family members about looking for alternatives. Ensuring a senior can continue to drive safely will have positive effects on their quality of life, but there comes a time when it might be safer to let someone else take the wheel.”

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