Driving is a privilege many people hope to enjoy for as long as possible. Unfortunately, as seniors age, operating vehicles safely becomes increasingly challenging. Changes in vision, response times, and overall mental acuity can make this activity more dangerous than safe. Following are several signs, furnished by Home Care Assistance of Phoenix, indicating it may be time for your senior family member to permanently retire from driving.
Numerous Close Calls
Although plenty of seniors are lucky enough to avoid major collisions, they may be having a number of close calls. Defensive driving requires sharp reflexes, strong focus, and good vision and hearing. If an aging adult has discussed having a number of close calls in the recent past, or you’ve noticed several yourself while a passenger in the car, it’s time to make alternative arrangements for his or her transportation.
Signs of Damage on the Vehicle
Seniors may be having regular, minor accidents that they do not consider significant or don’t want to draw attention to. You can identify signs of these by checking the mailbox, the paint on the car, and the side of the home or wall they park next to. If there are numerous scratches and dents, chances are your loved one’s driving capabilities need to be reevaluated.
Familiar roads can start to seem a lot less so as time wears on. Many elderly adults become easily frustrated while driving and this is often due to an increased sense of disorientation. You might consider having your family member drive you around in order to assess how well he or she remembers familiar driving routes and manages his or her emotions while driving.
Talking with Seniors About Driving
Telling a loved one that it is time to give up his or her car keys is rarely easy. Many seniors are simply not ready to lose the independence associated with driving. You can make this conversation much easier by discussing alternative transportation methods. Seniors are often reticent to become reliant on their loved ones in this area and thus, it may be best to suggest alternatives that allow your family member to maintain a sense of autonomy. These suggestions can include local shuttle systems for aging adults that are provided by municipal transportation services or a part-time Phoenix caregiver who can perform driving duties in addition to other helpful tasks.
It’s never easy to sit your loved one down and explain why he or she can no longer get behind the wheel of their car, but for their safety and the safety of those around them it’s a necessary conversation. Consider hiring a Home Care Assistance caregiver who can provide transportation to and from appointments and social engagements, go grocery shopping, or simply get your loved one out of the house regularly. In addition to part-time and live-in caregivers, we also provide highly-trained dementia caregivers in Phoenix as well as local Alzheimer’s caregivers. To learn more, call a Care Manager at (602) 388-1085 to schedule a free in-home consultation today.