Study urges families to talk about 'driving retirement'

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by KING 5 HealthLink

KING5.com

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 18 at 6:33 PM

Driving retirement is a touchy subject. 

For older drivers, their independence is at stake. For families, it’s about keeping mom and dad and other drivers safe. 

Research shows that getting the family doctor involved early can be the best approach. Scientists from The University of Colorado School of Medicine asked elderly drivers about who should make the call and when.

The study revealed that “anticipatory guidance” – talking early and often about health and driving – might make it easier for older patients to discuss it. Many are also more likely to accept advice from their doctor than from a family member.

Marian “Emmy” Betz, MD, MPH, at The University of Colorado School of Medicine explained that she discovered that older drivers are generally open to having conversations about giving up their keys. The problem is: the conversations are not happening.

Dr. Betz has been developing a screening tool for doctors called “crash” that could help them begin talking with their older patients about when to stop driving.

Families should also be thinking about providing other means of transportation for their elderly parents because giving up the car keys does not solve everything.

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