(HealthDay News) — Older women restrict their driving activity more than older men, regardless of physical health or cognitive status, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Laetitia Marie Dit Asse, from the Institut Français des Sciences et Technologies des Transports in Bron, France, and colleagues analyzed data from the Three-City Cohort of Bordeaux to understand sociodemographic characteristics, driving habits, health variables, cognitive evaluation, and dementia diagnosis in 523 drivers (mean age, 76 years; 273 men). Having no dementia at one follow-up but dementia at the next defined predementia.

The researchers found that over a six-year period, 54% of men and 63% of women stopped driving or reduced the distance they drove. Restriction factors common to both sexes included predementia, Parkinson’s disease, older age, and a high number of kilometers previously driven. For men, other factors included prevalent dementia, depressive symptomatology, a decline in one or more instrumental activities of daily living, and poor visual working memory. In women, low income, fear of falling, slow processing speed, and severe decline in global cognitive performance affected driving restriction.

“Factors affecting driving restriction differed according to sex, and women were more likely to stop driving than men in the period preceding a dementia diagnosis,” the authors write.

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