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GeriPal - A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Podcast

Jul 21, 2022

The science of balancing safety and independence of older drivers has come a long way.  Some key points from our podcast today with Emmy Betz (emergency physician-researcher) and Terri Cassidy (occupational therapist and certified driving rehab specialist) include:

  • It’s no longer gouache to say “taking away the keys” - which sound punitive and risks infantilizing 
  • Instead the new lingo is “driving retirement”
  • Driving retirement can be a process, similar to a harm reduction model, in which the activity is not eliminated all together but restricted to minimize harm: e.g. driving only during the day, or avoiding freeways.
  • A JAGS randomized trial demonstrated that a free online tool that assess readiness to stop driving helped older drivers with the difficult decision about driving cessation.
  • Often the work of the certified driving rehab specialist is to assess the older drivers goals, assess prognosis for driving, and help the family navigate discussions around driving cessation (hmmm…sounds like an approach to family meetings).
  • There is a dearth of Certified Driving Rehab Specialists: 12 for the entire state of Colorado!

We learned this and much more, and I had a great time making engine noises singing the Woody Guthrie song “driving in my car.”  

Additional Links:

(A to Z – under driving)

(OT programs)

An Advance Directive for When Driving Becomes Unsafe

ADED (Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists)