America’s Aging Drivers
In 1946 3.4 million babies were born. This was 20 percent more than in 1945. It was also the beginning of the “baby boom.” Then in 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born. After that in 1957 3.9 million babies were born. Finally, between 1954 through 1964, 4 million babies were born. when the boom finally tapered off. By 1962 these boomers were getting behind the wheel. Now in 2017, over 40 million American drivers are age 65 and older.
Unprepared To Give Up Driving
For almost 50 years we have had the opportunity to prepare for a time when we no longer are able to drive safely. While five decades seems like a long time ask, an 80-year-old and they are likely to say it goes by quickly. However, the truth is time goes by and with age comes changes in health and the ability to drive safely. Similar to other uncomfortable topics few are willing to talk about the time when they will no longer be able to drive. Researchers report many of us will outlive our ability to drive by a decade.
Avoidance Is Not A Strategy
If you are taking care of your self at age 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 you are on track to find alternatives to driving. Whether you choose ridesharing, carpooling, or public transportation it’s time to create a strategy. Ultimately, avoiding the topic is not a strategy and by doing so limits your options. First, let me assure you many of us will be able to drive safely. However, we need to lay the ground work by maintaining our health. This includes monitoring vision, mobility, and chronic conditions limiting driving skills and judgment. With this in mind, health is often the leading determinant of your ability to drive. The key is to develop a strategy beginning today.
At the present time, I am the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. When you think of older adults do you see America’s largest resource? With this in mind, I combined my background in business with a desire to influence aging in America. For this reason, I was the first Gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Furthermore, it’s why I wrote Freewheeling After Sixty. Freewheeling the first book to empower older adults about their transportation choices.