The Role of Driver Rehabilitation in Extending the Driving Lifetimes and Enhancing the Mobility of Older Adults
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The Role of Driver Rehabilitation in Extending the Driving Lifetimes and Enhancing the Mobility of Older Adults

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    This study explored the role and impact of driver rehabilitation for older adults on extending driving lifetimes and enhancing mobility. Specifically, the focus was on the effects of driver rehabilitation on older adults’ abilities to continue driving safely, their attitudes toward driving, and their overall satisfaction with their mobility. Thanks to improvements in public health, medicine, education and technology, people are living, and driving, longer than ever before. Not only are the projected numbers of older drivers on the rise, so too are the numbers of miles driven by older drivers in an average year (Foley et al. 2002; Yang and Jargowsky 2006). While older driver education offerings promote efforts to keep older adults driving safely, they do not provide remedy for individual physical or medical issues that may present challenges for safe continued driving. In spite of the possibilities that driver rehabilitation offers to older drivers, relatively few take advantage of the driver assessments and rehabilitation available. For many older drivers, the possibility of a driving assessment may be equated with driving cessation; thus, they may be reluctant to initiate such a process if they believe they will automatically lose their licenses. Thus, the current use of driving evaluation resources and driver rehabilitation services is smaller than the overall demand, especially with the growing older population, would suggest. This qualitative project focused on older drivers’ experiences with driving rehabilitation – what they thought it would be, what it was, how it affected their driving skills and habits, and whether they feel it enhanced their mobility.
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