Study shows negative consequences for seniors who stop driving

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COLUMBIA - It can be a hard decision for older people to decide if they should stop driving.

A new study published by the University of Missouri found that older couples could face negative consequences, even if only one partner decided to stop driving. The effects include losing independence, reducing social connections and curtailing the ability to work.

Researcher Angela Curl said a person's emotional well being can decrease if they have to stop driving due to age or health conditions.

Curl recommends older people discuss with their partners or with their adult children on ways to help with transportation in the event one stops driving. Curl said all parties should discuss safety concerns.

"People who are in the process of making the decision to stop driving often think that their spouses will compensate for their inability to drive," Curl said. "However, in our research, we found that having a spouse who can drive does not completely remove the negative consequences of driving cessation."

The study was published in the journal Research on Aging.