Can baby boomers hand over their keys and stay connected?

Mar 26, 2014 by Sandra Hutchinson
Can baby boomers hand over their keys and stay connected?
Kristina Challands is studying how over 65s can stay connected after they hand over their license.

Time is ticking for baby boomers, with many older drivers fearing the day they hand over their license as a day they will lose their independence.

In a new study, QUT Faculty of Health Honours researcher Kristina Challands, is looking at how the over 65s will stay connected once they hand over their keys and whether connecting online can replace face-to-face relationships that are made easier with a license.

"In the next 15 years, the number of Australian license holders over the age of 65 is predicted to double, meaning we will see about 22 per cent of the population with a likelihood of reduced mobility as they age as a result of self-regulating driving or being without a license," Ms Challands said.

"The concern is that taking away a person's license also takes away their independence and mobility and studies have shown that quality of life declines for who drive less or not all.

"What my study aims to do is examine whether online social connectedness is the same as face-to-face relationships for the over 65s, and see if there is the potential for online friends to buffer the impact for drivers who reduce their driving or surrender their license."

Ms Challands said research had shown the benefits of online connectedness for young people and also those with a disability, but there was limited information looking at people over 65.

"If online can reduce depression and generate social support in younger adults it may also buffer declines in quality of life for older adults during the of losing a license and the loss of and mobility," Ms Challands said.

As part of the study, Ms Challands is urging people over 65 to take part in a survey titled Online and offline connections for the over 65s. How do they influence quality of life for current and ex-drivers?

"We are interested in examining how the over 65s, both drivers and ex-, connect online and comparing the relationships of online connections to face-to-face connections," she said.

"We want to understand if connecting online helps foster the meeting of everyday practical and social needs and helps stay in touch."

Explore further: Don't judge older drivers by age

More information: The study is available at survey.qut.edu.au/drivingless.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Don't judge older drivers by age

Jan 28, 2014

Encouraging older drivers to self-regulate their driving rather than revoking their licence based on age, has the potential to improve their safety and maintain their independence, a QUT study has found.

Loneliness is a major health risk for older adults

Feb 16, 2014

Feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person's chances of premature death by 14 percent, according to research by John Cacioppo, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago.

Accident rates improving for older US drivers

Feb 20, 2014

Safety researchers expressed concern a decade ago that traffic accidents would increase as the aging U.S. population swelled the number of older drivers on the road. Now, they say they' have been proved wrong.

Varied license laws for older drivers

Sep 17, 2012

(AP)—More older drivers are on the road, and an Associated Press review finds a hodgepodge of rules governing what they must do to stay behind the wheel.

Recommended for you

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

22 hours ago

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

22 hours ago

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

23 hours ago

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

eric_in_chicago
not rated yet Mar 26, 2014
Hand over your keys and your SSI checks.

You voted in the ronnie raygun devolution, not us!

Feed the Boomers to the North Koreans in lead cans made in China!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.