Driving is a daunting challenge for anyone, leave alone those who are facing the realities of aging. As the aging population increases, older drivers are also on the increase. Some of them who have looked forward to retirement and the independent life it offers are now able to do things they always wanted to do but never had the time to do. But now they are faced with new challenges due to handicaps with aging and driving is one of them. This is due to reduced vision especially at night, slower reflexes and a decrease in depth-perception. Many seniors are on medication for various ailments, some of which have affected their driving ability.. Practical solution is to improve driver education and driver fitness. Some countries are also enforcing limits on drivers' licences. Another way would be to encourage them drive during off peak hours. They must also be made ready for the day when they will not be able to drive at all. If they are ready the transition will be easy for them to adjust their lifestyles and learn to make alternate transportation arrangements.
Not being able to drive is only a small fraction of their physical problems. Due to medical complications some of them might be confined to wheel chairs or bed due to paralysis and they will need 24 x 7 assistance to take care of them. This can be degrading for some and for others a way towards depression. With counseling and love this issue should be overcome. Though it is a physical handicap they should not be made to feel that they are a burden but ways and means should be found to make their lives interesting. This is more possible in developed countries but in third world countries with so many other pressing problems and needs, this is an area which is totally in neglect. Issues being discussed at international levels on the aging population, should also include how to provide a support system for the aging population with handicaps.
Some others are affected by dementia cause of which is due to either the medication they take or diabetes which has affected their kidneys. Depression is another mental condition common in adults age 65 and over due to retirement, loss of loved ones and health problems. It is difficult to differentiate one from the other due to lack of medical opinion as they are embarrassed to talk to their physicians about it. Therefore though urgent treatment is required, lack of which can only aggravate the situation. Suicide among seniors is not uncommon and this is caused due to depression. This should be treated with medicine and counseling or both.
Physical and mental challenges faced by aging population is on the increase and efforts should be made to arrest and control this situation so that senior citizens will be able to live in dignity in their golden years. Society and their families should never forget the contributions they have made and to give them a blessed time towards the end of the life should be the focus of the younger generation.