Older, Wiser, Safer: the Challenge of an Ageing Population

There is considerable media interest in the population changes facing Britain over the next twenty years. As the “Baby Boomer” generation approaches retirement, we hear a lot about the economic power of the silver surfer and the growing pensions deficit. Yet very little has been written about the mobility of this group. We know that maintaining social contact helps people to live longer, more active lives. Yet how can we ensure that our transport system meets the needs and aspirations of an ageing population? 

Over the next two decades, more older drivers will hold driving licences and will continue to exercise their use of the car. Statistically, older drivers and passengers are more at risk in collisions. Yet that risk stems from their frailty, not from their responsibility for causing crashes. 

What advice is available to older drivers about car usage? How much do the professionals know about the fitness of older drivers to carry on driving? Where does responsibility lie in terms of friends and family? Are there also changes to the urban environment that would benefit older pedestrians and cyclists? How do we take forward the concept of the age-friendly city adopted by the World Health Organisation and much talked about in recent years? This conference will bring together academics and advocates to look at the challenges of maintaining older people’s mobility safely in the years ahead.

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Presentation 1: The Role of the GP in giving Advice on Fitness to Drive; Dr Carol Hawley, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick.

Presentation 2: How Keeping Mobile Reduces Isolation; Emma Bradshaw, Policy Advisor- Communities and Transport, Age UK.

Presentation 3: Population Change in the UK: ‘The Challenging Demography’; Prof Jane Faulkingham, ESRC Centre for Population Change.

Presentation 4: We Need to Talk: The role of family, friends and social networks in helping older people give up driving; Dr Charles Musselwhite, Senior Lecturer in Traffic and Transport Psychology, Centre for Transport and Society.

Presentation 5: ‘Couldn’t you get someone younger to drive to Glasgow?’; Britta Lang, Principle Research Consultant, TRL.

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