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‘We Need To Talk’ Tackles Sensitive Conversation with Older Drivers

AARP offers an online seminar about how to talk to older family members and friends about safe driving. This can be a sensitive discussion and to help members, AARP Mississippi hosted a telephone town hall discussion this fall.

See Also: We Need to Talk Free Online Seminar

During the past century, life expectancy in the United States went from 47-years-old to 77-years-old. In fact, the fastest-growing age group in the United States is age 85 and older. And, by the year 2030, the number of older Americans in this age group will number about 70 million and one in five drivers will be age 65 and over.

“Older drivers and their close relatives prefer that conversations and decisions about driving safety be handled within the family, with the exception of possibly including doctors in their discussions,” said Frank Carroll, a member of AARP’s Driver Safety team. “Conversations about the need to limit or stop driving can be difficult for older drivers, their families, and friends. Driving is linked to freedom and independence in people’s minds.”

“Hanging up the keys” or even limiting driving can create a sense of loss and isolation for many people. The vast majority of older adults limit driving in response to changes as they grow older, Carroll said. Often, they stop driving at night, during poor weather conditions and at times of heavy traffic, he said.

But giving up the car for a short time is very different from never driving again, Carroll said.

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