Awareness. American Poet Maya Angelou said,“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” More than 75% of drivers age 65 or older report using one or more medications. However, less than 1/3 acknowledged awareness of the potential impact of the medications on their driving.
The Better Health, Better Driving Connection
The ability to drive hinges on many factors and health is an important component. Now almost 92% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77% have at least two. Often they are often prescribed multiple medications to manage their condition. Few are told how a condition might affect their driving.
A Different Approach to Chronic Conditions
The National Council on Aging reports 90% of Americans aged 55+ are at risk for hypertension, or high blood pressure. A Consumer Report cited a study where 20%-22% prescribed high blood pressure medication went unfilled. What if healthcare providers focused on the benefits of managing a condition? Do older drivers know high blood pressure can lead to blurred vision and complete loss of vision?
A Time For Action
Health begins at home. So do most conversations. If you are concerned about the driving ability of an aging loved one start a conversation with a focus on wellness. My number one tip begin with an actionable item. Start by visiting a pharmacy for a medication review. Pharmacists are trained to review medications to minimize drug interactions and ensure maximum effectiveness.
About the Author
Currently, Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. She is the first gerontologist to speak at South by Southwest. Judi has also spoken at the American Society on Aging and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She also served as a fellow for Hispanics in Philanthropy and Senior Service America. Judi is the author of Freewheeling After Sixty a book for older drivers. In addition, the City of San Diego honored her for launching Older Driver Safety Awareness Week.