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When and Why Should Drivers with Cognitive Impairment Stop Driving (And How to Delay It)

Ontario says tougher rules expect­ed for dri­vers with demen­tia (Toron­to Star):

- “In the wake of a Star series on dri­vers with cog­ni­tive impair­ment, Chiarel­li pre­dict­ed there will be a “tight­en­ing across the board” of the sys­tem that allows many seniors with demen­tia to dri­ve unchecked.”

- “The min­istry is con­sid­er­ing mak­ing the fol­low­ing changes: bet­ter train­ing for fam­i­ly doc­tors on report­ing cog­ni­tive­ly impaired patients who dri­ve; more rig­or­ous on-road test­ing of senior dri­vers; and the intro­duc­tion of grad­u­at­ed licens­ing for some seniors who, like teenage dri­vers, would not be allowed to dri­ve at night or on 400-series high­ways.”

This is going to be a touch pol­i­cy and con­ver­sa­tion to have in the USA. Which is why we should pay real atten­tion, and resources, to devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing inter­ven­tions that can help extend perceptual/ cog­ni­tive func­tion­al­i­ty required for safe dri­ving. See this recent study.

Study: Cog­ni­tive Speed of Pro­cess­ing Train­ing Can Pro­mote Com­mu­ni­ty Mobil­i­ty among Old­er Adults: A Brief Review. (Jour­nal of Aging Research).

Abstract:  Com­mu­ni­ty mobil­i­ty is cru­cial for main­tain­ing inde­pen­dent func­tion­ing and qual­i­ty of life for old­er adults. Pur­pose. The present paper describes the rela­tion­ship of cog­ni­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly speed of pro­cess­ing as mea­sured by the Use­ful Field of View Test, to mobil­i­ty as indi­cat­ed by dri­ving behav­iors, life space, and falls among healthy old­er adults. Research exam­in­ing the impact of cog­ni­tive speed of pro­cess­ing train­ing (SOPT) on old­er adults’ com­mu­ni­ty mobil­i­ty (i.e., dri­ving behav­iors) is also sum­ma­rized. Key Issues. Even slight cog­ni­tive declines can place old­er adults at risk for mobil­i­ty lim­i­ta­tions. How­ev­er, cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions like SOPT can mit­i­gate declines in dri­ving mobil­i­ty. Impli­ca­tions. The poten­tial of SOPT to sus­tain com­mu­ni­ty mobil­i­ty among old­er adults is dis­cussed.

Con­clu­sion: …In con­clu­sion, even among old­er adults with­out demen­tia, evi­dence-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams like SOPT should be con­sid­ered for the goals of main­tain­ing and pos­si­bly enhanc­ing mobil­i­ty among old­er adults. Such inter­ven­tions have great poten­tial to pre­serve inde­pen­dence and qual­i­ty of life with advanc­ing age.

Relat­ed arti­cle:

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