Senior Drivers in a time of COVID -19

Jan 20, 2021 | CV19, Impact Updates, older drivers, older drivers, Transportation

brought to you by the Older Drivers Sub-Committee
There is an old adage that declares “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. This can apply to many learned skills including driving. In this period of COVID - 19 restrictions everyone is being asked to protect themselves and others by limiting contacts and activities. If restrictions move into the “red zone” category, the population is being bluntly directed to stay at home except to acquire the basic necessities.
This poses an acute problem for senior drivers who, like their peers, are experiencing natural decline in cognitive and physical functions. Long periods of idleness could further impact negatively on their driving skills. So, what can senior drivers do to help maintain their driving skills?
If an outing is required for basic needs (groceries, medical appointment, banking, etc.) during “red zone” conditions, the COVID -19 restrictions do not require taking the most direct route to a destination. Seniors could plan a circuitous route that provides a drive of 30-40 minutes. The planning, mapping and executing the drive will provide mental stimulation.
If circumstances permit, i.e., no heavy packages to tote, parking the vehicle some distance from the destination and walking will provide exercise, another important aspect of maintaining driving skills. Indeed, senior drivers who are not on a physical exercise regimen may want to seek medical advice as to the type of at-home exercises that are suitable for periods of lockdown.
During non-red zone periods seniors could adopt the same planning and execution of 30-40 minutes drives to parks in another area of the city for walking at least twice a week.
The objective is to help seniors maintain their driving skills through this prolonged period of COVID-19.