Question: My mom has recently fallen and since her fall I have noticed that she is more reluctant to drive. Could this be related to her fall and can you provide information on alternative transportation since she drives less often?
Reply: There is a possible connection between your mother’s recent fall and her reluctance to drive. Perhaps a study by students at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) can help.
The American Geriatrics Society reports that falls can reduce our ability to drive safely as we age for several reasons. A fall can have an impact on the physical and mental well-being of an older person. Physically, a fall can cause an injury that could limit mobility when driving and operating a vehicle. Once a person falls, they may also begin to limit their physical activity and range of motion for fear of falling again.
Not moving the body so much can weaken it, which can also affect the way a person moves and drives a vehicle. Mentally, an older person may experience increased fear and anxiety following a fall. This can cause them to change the way they drive. The underlying factors that initially led to the fall, such as problems with vision or balance, can also increase the difficulty in driving.
Winston-Salem State University is currently conducting a study for adults aged 65 and over related to community mobility, which will also include questions related to driving and fall prevention.