Do you have an aging mom or dad who still drives themselves around town? If you’ve observed some erratic driving patterns and wonder if your elderly parent should still be operating a motor vehicle, you owe it to your loved one as well as the community to get them off the road. There is no age limit to how long Americans can drive, so unless family members step in, many seniors continue to drive well past the point when they should.
All too often, aging adults reach the point where their physical limitations affect their ability to drive but they may be reluctant to hang up their keys. As they are losing so many other abilities in their life, it can be extremely hard for them to add driving to the list. It’s up to their family members, elder care providers, friends, and neighbors to assess whether or not they should still be on the road.
Why Should Seniors Stop Driving?
Elderly drivers are more likely to get into a car accident as they age. Seniors at a higher risk are usually dealing with health issues that affect their strength, stamina, reflexes, and senses. There are many physical conditions that can affect their ability to drive, such as arthritis, poor vision, poor hearing, stiff muscles, loss of flexibility, muscle spasms, diabetes, seizures, and chronic pain.
The older they get, the more distractions seniors may have while driving, and they don’t even realize it. Seniors may constantly fiddle with cell phones, hearing aids, cigarettes, and food as they drive, which is very dangerous. Mental and cognitive issues may also play into poor driving, from daydreaming and medication side effects to mild dementia. While some seniors are perfectly capable of driving well into their later years, there are many who are no longer safe on the road.
Alternate Forms of Transportation.
It’s always difficult for aging adults to give up driving as it is the ultimate form of independence. Without being able to drive themselves, aging adults have to rely on the kindness of friends and family members. However, those people are not always able to commit to taking the aging adult somewhere. Many resourceful families hire elder care providers to assist their aging relative on a daily basis, including transportation.
Elder care providers are professionals with training and experience in helping seniors who have physical or cognitive challenges and can no longer do things to remain independent. They can help with laundry, housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, and pet care. They can help get seniors in and out of bed and dressed each morning as well. Above all, they can drive aging adults wherever they need to go—dentist and doctor appointments, the pharmacy, grocery store, community events, and much more. Family caregivers won’t have to worry about their elderly relative hurting themselves or others due to their lack of driving skills.