In Japan, Driving Skill Training for Older Drivers Enhances Safety > Health in Aging Blog > Health in Aging
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research summary More seniors in the United States are driving than ever before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, 56% more older adults were on the road in 2016 than in 1999. But as age increases, so does the risk of driving accidents. […]

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research summary

More seniors in the United States are driving than ever before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, 56% more older adults were on the road in 2016 than in 1999. But as age increases, so does the risk of driving accidents. In 2016 (the latest year for which statistics are available), road accidents killed around 7,700 people over the age of 65 in this country and 290,000 others were injured.

According to the CDC, fatal auto accident rates climb between the ages of 70 and 74 and are highest among drivers 85 and older. The deaths of these elderly drivers are as much due to their frailty and increased medical complications as to their increased risk of accidents. Age-related vision problems, the ability to think and make decisions, and age-related physical changes such as arthritis pain can also affect the patient's body. ability of older people to safely operate a motor vehicle.

As in the United States, Japan's population of older drivers has also increased. A national road safety report noted that more than five million people in Japan aged 75 or older - one in three people - had a driver's license. The rate of fatal accidents among people aged 75 and over has gradually increased from 7.4% in 2006 to 13.5% in 2016.

Rules of conduct

In the United States, regulations renewal of driver's licenses according to age varies considerably. Many states require an eye exam for seniors, and only Illinois requires drivers 75 or older to take a road test. In contrast, all Japanese drivers aged 75 and over must undergo cognitive tests when renewing their driver's license. Drivers suspected of having dementia should see a doctor for an official diagnosis, and if the driver has dementia, their driver's license will be revoked or suspended.

Effects of stopping driving

However, stopping driving has negative consequences for older people who are unable to continue driving. Driving is an essential part of the daily life of many older people in Japan and stopping driving can reduce their mobility and quality of life. In fact, stopping driving has been associated with depressive symptoms, cognitive decline, disability, increased decrease in the ability to function physically, and even death. Developing programs to retrain older people to drive safely is important to maintaining their health and well-being.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society research

A team of Japanese researchers National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology designed a study to learn more about ways to keep older drivers safe. Their study was recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The researchers said studies have shown that driver education programs improve the safety of older drivers, even for those with memory problems and other cognitive problems. But studies have not shown whether safe driving programs have lasting benefits. In this new study, the researchers examined whether the benefits of a professional driving program still existed a year later.

Researchers recruited 159 people aged 65 or older from the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology-Study of Geriatric Syndromes (NCGG-SGS), 104 of whom completed follow-up a year later. The participants lived in Obu, Japan; were 65 years of age or older, drove at least three days a week, had a valid driver's license, spoke Japanese, lived independently and had mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The training program consisted of 10 weekly sessions over three months. Each session included a 60-minute course and a 50-minute road refresher course at a driving school. The course consisted of 30 minutes of vision training and 30 minutes of driving simulator training. On-road retraining focused on learning information and skills development to improve driver safety. Participants in the control group received a training course in safe driving.

The researchers concluded that the effects of the driving skills program were still significant one year after training compared to before training. They said their results suggest that the safe driving program tested in this study may provide effective support for older people who can continue to drive, including those with mild cognitive impairment.

This summary is taken from "Long-Term Effects of Driving Skills Training on Safe Driving in Seniors with Mild Cognitive Impairment." It appears online before printing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The authors of the study are Hideaki Ishii PhD, PT; Takehiko Doi, PhD, PT; Kota Tsutsumimoto PhD, PT; Sho Nakakubo PhD, PT; PhD of Satoshi Kurita; and Hiroyuki Shimada PhD, PT.


What does it mean to age gracefully ? You can’t stand in a checkout line without seeing at least a few magazine headlines about how to look younger. While dreading some wrinkles and sagging isn’t uncommon, there’s so much more to aging well.

Aging gracefully isn’t about trying to look like a 20-something — it’s about living your best life and having the physical and esprit health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age with the right care. Read on to find out what to do and what not to do on your quest to age happily.

Your skin is your body’s largest organTrusted Source. If you treat it with care, it can better protect your body from the elements, regulate your body temperature, and provide sensation. tera keep it looking and functioning at its best : Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside. Get yearly skin cancer screenings. Stick to gentle products in your anti-aging skin care routine. Stay hydrated.

Your skin is your body’s largest organTrusted Source. If you treat it with care, it can better protect your body from the elements, regulate your body temperature, and provide sensation. tera keep it looking and functioning at its best : Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside. Get yearly skin cancer screenings. Stick to gentle products in your anti-aging skin care routine. Stay hydrated.

Regular exercise significantly lowers your risk of diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and helps you retain your mobility longer. Exercise also lowers stress and improves sleep, skin and bone health, and mood. The Department of Health

Healthy foods are the way to go when it comes to aging gracefully. The Dietary Guidelines for AmericansTrusted Source recommends that you eat : fruits and vegetables, either fresh, frozen, or cannedlean protein, such as fish and beansat least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta every daythree servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that are fortified with vitamin Dhealthy fatsAvoid using solid fats for cooking and use oils instead. Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. You should also keep your salt intake to a peu to keep your blood pressure down.

Being happy and keeping your stress down goes a long way in helping you live and age well. tera keep your mood elevated : Spend time with friends and loved ones. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network improve mental and physical well-being and longevity. Don’t forget your furry loved ones as having a pet has been linked to lower stress and blood pressure, reduced loneliness, and better moods. Accept your age. There is evidence that people who maintain a positive attitude about aging real longer and may recover better from a disability. Aging is inevitable and learning to embrace it can make all the difference. Do things you enjoy. Taking the time to engage in activities you enjoy will only fuel your happiness. Spend time in nature, pursue a new hobby, volunteer — whatever brings you joy.

Numerous studiesTrusted Source have linked a sedentary life to an increased risk of chronic illness and early death. Some options to stay active are going on walks and hikes, taking vacations, and participating in group exercise classes.

The effects of stress on your body are vast, ranging from premature aging and wrinkles to a higher risk of heart disease. There are a number of proven ways to relieve stress, including : using relaxation techniques, such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yogaexercisinggetting adequate sleeptalking to a friend

Smoking and alcohol have both been shown to cause premature aging and increase the risk of disease. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources available to help you quit. Speak to a doctor about how to quit. As for alcohol, limit your intake to the recommendedTrusted Source amount to avoid health risks. That’s one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Good sleep is important for your physical and mental health. It also plays a role in your skin’s health. How much sleep you need depends on your age. Adults over 18 should aim for seven to eight hoursTrusted Source of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep has been proven to : lower the risk of heart disease and strokereduce stress and depressionlower the risk of obesityreduce inflammationimprove focus and concentration

Finding new and meaningful hobbies can help you maintain a sense of purpose and keep you engaged throughout the course of your life. Evidence shows that people who engage in hobbies and leisure and social activities are happier, experience less depression, and real longer.

Mindfulness is about acceptance and living in the moment by focusing on the present. Practicing mindfulness has many proven health benefits that can help you age better, including : improved focusbetter memorylower stressimproved emotional reactionrelationship satisfactionincreased immune functioningTo practice mindfulness, try : meditationyogatai chicoloring

Drinking enough water helps keep you regular and improves your energy levels and brain function. Coincidentally, it’s also been provenTrusted Source to help keep skin healthier and reduce signs of aging. How much water you should drink depends on : your thirstyour activity levelhow often you urinate and move your bowelshow much you sweatyour genderSpeak to a doctor if you have questions or concerns about your water intake.

Not taking care of your teeth not only ages your smile, but also puts you at risk for gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Along with proper oral care, it’s important to see a dentist regularly. According to the American Dental Association, a dentist can spot signs of nutritional deficiencies, septicémie, cancer, and other illnesses, such as diabetes. They recommend brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using a mouth rinse.

Seeing a doctor regularly can help the doctor find problems early or even before they start. How often you see a doctor depends on your age, lifestyle, family history, and existing conditions. Ask your doctor how often you should go in for checkups and screening tests as you age. Also, see a doctor anytime you experience concerning symptoms.

Though aging is inevitable, some people find it difficult to deal with the changes that come with getting older. If you’re worried about your health, are having trouble feeling positive about aging, or worry that you’re not aging well it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend. Professional help is also available through a doctor or a counselor.

Aging gracefully is more about being healthy and happy than keeping wrinkles at bay. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, surround yourself with people you love, and do things that bring you joy. It’s natural to worry about the challenges that aging can bring, so don’t hesitate to speak to someone about your concerns.

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