Elderly Care: Driving Is a Safety Concern for Seniors
It may be getting to the point where you are worried about your loved one on the road. You don’t want to take away his or her independence, but aging adults don’t maintain their driving ability forever. Side effects of medication, vision loss, physical issues and senility can cut your loved one’s driving career short.
The issue with knowing when to take away the keys is that it is often sudden and hard to notice. There might be incidents, close calls or violations that can signal a problem, but ultimately it’s hard to tell.
The decline in physical abilities is often what gets in the way for seniors. Arthritis can limit the full range of motion needed to drive, while lack of physical activity may delay responses.
Vision is one of the main areas that negatively impacts driving. Aging often impairs peripheral vision and focus. Seniors are also more likely to get cataracts, glaucoma or other ocular diseases.
Hearing loss also plays a large role, as one-third of seniors have hearing loss. This can affect the ability to hear horns, screeching tires, sirens, and other sounds that alert someone to potential danger.
Side effects caused by medication can also impair driving, ranging from drowsiness to blurred vision. Some medications can even zap the focus of your loved one and leave them distracted on the road.
Nobody wants to take away the car keys from their loved one, but it’s absolutely necessary to act before your loved one becomes a danger to him or herself and others on the road. Try assessing your loved one’s driving abilities one of the following ways:
- Go for multiple rides with him or her as a passenger. Be honest about his or her attitude on the road.
- Ask your loved one if he or she is afraid to drive at night.
- Watch for reaction time to traffic lights, signs and other cars.
- Keep an eye on your loved one’s overall awareness of his or her surroundings.
- Look for damage to the car that could be a result of driving incidents.
- Find out if he or she has recent tickets or hike in insurance rates.
- Speak with neighbors about what they have observed in your loved one’s driving.
Age is not the be all, end all when it comes to driving, but it is important to be aware of its effects on driving. Give us a call (540) 205-8743 or go to our website for more information on how our elderly caregivers can assist you and your loved one.