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Rapoport M, Cameron D, Sanford S, et al. A systematic review of intervention approaches for driving cessation in older adults International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2017; 32: 484-491.
What is known about interventions aimed at facilitating driving cessation in older adults, with and without dementia?
Older adults are the fastest-growing population segment, and will make up one-fourth of all licensed drivers by 2030 in the world. Although there are clear benefits for older adults who drive, such as independence, the risks associated with driving, whether or not there are cognitive impairments, can lead to severe consequences such as motor vehicle collisions. Drivers with cognitive impairment, such as dementia, have a two- to three-times greater risk of being in a vehicle collision.
The decision to restrict or stop driving is a challenging, emotional transition for older adults, which can be further complicated by adverse psychosocial and health consequences or other factors associated with aging.
This systematic review looks at the evidence to support interventions that facilitate effective transitions to driving cessation in older adults, including those with dementia.
A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published from 1994 to 2014 was conducted. Studies that focused on intervention approaches to facilitate the process of driving cessation among older adults or to support older adults’ acceptance of driving cessation, were included in the review.
A total of 477 studies were identified in searches, and three were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
This review was led by the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging and Dementia Team.
The studies highlight the effectiveness of driving-cessation support groups for drivers with dementia who lost their driving privileges as a result of their illness, as a means of decreasing depressive symptoms related to driving cessation.
Although based on a small sample size, one study showed how the use of information pamphlets offered by caregivers of older adults improved the ability of older adults to cope with the transition to driving cessation.
The studies included in this review highlighted that support groups and educational material, such as pamphlets and community awareness, may improve the quality of life for older adults with or without cognitive impairments, during the transition to driving cessation. The small number of studies included in this review as well as the methodological approach of each study contributed to the limitations of this review.