Better tools for seniors who can no longer drive

Stopping driving is an important and often difficult step for the elderly: they are twice as likely to have depressive symptoms as the elderly who still drive, not to mention the increased risk of institutionalization.

To support them in this passage of their lives, a team from the Center for Research on Aging (CdRV) in Sherbrooke will hold meetings aimed at making the resources available in the community known.

The researcher Mélanie Levasseur and her team wish to implant this project in Sherbrooke that has taken place in Australia and has proved its worth. In the last six months, approximately 200 people stopped driving in Sherbrooke; The proportion oscillates around 400 people annually. These may include individuals who have ceased to drive on their own initiative or have received notice from the Quebec Automobile Insurance Corporation. “This is an additional challenge to the social participation of seniors,” notes Levasseur, recalling that ceasing driving can increase isolation.

“We are working to translate an intervention aimed at helping people who stop driving to encourage them to continue their journeys … We will help seniors to know resources,” explains the professor-researcher at the Faculty of Medicine The Université de Sherbrooke and the Center for Research on Aging.

At the same time, it reminds us that we live in a society where people often have a car parked in their yard.
Result: Stop driving demands a complete rethinking of how to move. Elders are left to their own devices when they have to stop driving.

Seniors must pass a medical examination and a visual examination six months before their 75th and 80th birthday. From the age of 80, these examinations take place every two years.

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It was by identifying scientific writings that the team identified this intervention as “very innovative”.

Called Live Without My Car, it was developed by researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia. The Sherbrooke team was able to adapt it thanks to a grant from the Quebec Ministry of International Relations and Francophonie, in particular by hiring a professional translator.

Studies show that seniors’ social participation has beneficial effects on health, including decreasing age-related cognitive decline and depressive symptoms.

The project is looking for a dozen seniors who are available to participate in 6 3-4 hour meetings during the summer period.

Students in occupational therapy and a leadership instructor will facilitate groups that include presentations, discussions and hands-on exercises. Interested parties can contact the Center for Research on Aging at 819-821-8000 ext. 70178.

Another project

At the same time, 16 other citizens-volunteers and 16 people aged 50 and over with visual impairment were included in another project led by the Center for Research on Aging and the Estrie Rehabilitation Center of the CIUSSS-Estrie-CHUS. sought. Twinning will help people with visual impairment to become more integrated into the community, explains Caroline Pigeon, postdoctoral fellow at UdeS. The initiative provides for meetings of about three hours per week for six to nine months. Volunteers will receive a one-and-a-half-day training before starting the coaching.