When is it time to hang up the keys? Making informed decisions about driving

For many older adults, a vehicle is not only a way to get around but also a sign of their independence, enabling them to maintain their social and community activities. This is an important factor in maintaining quality of life. As we age, changes in health and medical conditions can affect driving ability, compromising safety on the road. So, how do you determine whether you are fit to get behind the wheel and how do you make decisions about driving cessation?


The importance of assessing driving ability

There are often warning signs that may indicate unsafe driving habits; age-related health conditions and other factors that can affect your ability to drive safely; and the importance of planning for a time when you can no longer drive.


Improving safety and comfort while driving

Automotive technologies are constantly evolving and can help older adults drive more safely. Older adults can work with an Occupational Therapist to have their vehicle adapted to meet their specific needs and receive training on the optimal and safe use of new technologies in their vehicle.


Alternatives to driving

If driving is no longer an option, older adults should look to alternative transportation methods such as public transit, rideshare programs, or volunteer groups that offer free rides to older adults. By doing so, they’ll continue to stay mobile while doing so in a safer manner.


When it comes to driving, it is not your age that determines your abilities, it is your health. Driving enables older adults to remain connected to their communities, maintain social ties, and access needed services, particularly in rural areas lacking public transit. Helping older adults stay safe on the road is just as important as ensuring they maintain their independence by driving as long as (safely) possible. Explore this topic in more depth with our resources below.

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DISCLAIMER: Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website

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