Even as seniors approach 70, 75, and even 80, many are not willing to give up their driving privilege. Understandably, driving offers a sense of freedom and mobility no one wants to give up. However, driving can become increasingly dangerous as a loved one ages for various reasons including diminishing eyesight or hearing, slowed reflexes, and more. At Care Indeed, we have a few tips to help you keep an aging loved one on the road longer, but at the same time help ensure his or her safety.
First of all, get your/their eyes checked. Cataract surgery, glasses, and contacts are three solutions that can make for clearer vision. As seniors approach a certain age, they should have their vision checked yearly. One problem is driving at night; with today’s anti-reflective lenses, much of the glare can be eliminated, making for safer driving.
Have a hearing test. Hearing is important when driving, and many seniors’ reaction time to potential danger is slowed due to poor vision or hearing. Distractions such as loud noise or lively conversations inside the car should be avoided.
Know the potential side effects of any medications you/they take. Many medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or other side effects. Not only can individual medications have side effects, the combination of certain drugs can make it dangerous to drive. As the family caregiver, make sure you know your loved one’s medications and how they can affect his/her ability to drive safely.
Be alert to weather conditions. Perhaps it’s best to drive only during the daylight hours, but help your aging loved one by keeping abreast of the latest driving conditions. Wet roads, sleet, snow, or icy conditions, fog – all of these make driving more difficult, even for younger adults. Have a backup plan in the event your loved one must get to a doctor’s appointment or other important destination.
Consider a driver’s refresher course. These courses are designed to help determine if it is safe for an aging person to drive, and helps your loved one have more confidence when driving. As a family caregiver, you will enjoy peace of mind as well.
At Care Indeed, our Palo Alto home care providers understand that seniors often feel a real sense of loss when they can no longer drive. Help your elderly loved one continue to drive and do so safely by following the suggestions above.