Iowa’s youngest Baby Boomers are turning 50 this year and the Hawkeye State has one of the nation’s largest populations of elderly residents by percentage.
Jodi Olshevski, a corporate gerontologist, says a new survey shows most drivers who are now between the ages of 50 and 68 see themselves staying behind the wheel for many more years.
“The majority of them, about 76%, told us they plan to drive into their 80s, 90s or some think they’ll never stop driving,” Olshevski says. “Boomer men are more likely to say they’ll never stop driving than women, and we asked them to tell us what they thought their driving patterns will be over the next five to ten years, and they said, essentially, they think it’ll be about the same.”
Olshevski has some tips for older Iowans who are still driving and want to keep that independence.
“Adjust to the changes in your driving skills so as you’re aging, be tuned in to changes that are occurring,” she says, “and don’t forget about maintaining your vehicle. That is so important and it’s something that usually can be fairly simple to keep on top of.”
Besides keeping your car in good shape, Olshevski suggests it’s also important to keep yourself in top running order.
She says, “We know that exercise is important for so many aspects of aging but we found out in a study we conducted that it’s also very important for driving and that it can enhance flexibility and range of motion.”
Familiarize yourself with the many features of the vehicle which can help to strengthen your ability to drive and also, consider taking a refresher course in driver’s education.
Olshevski is executive director of the Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence, based in Hartford, Connecticut.