Do you remember that feeling as a teenager when you first climbed behind the steering wheel, the great excitement of being in a position to go anywhere you wanted? The freedom that the ability to drive offers us is beyond compare! Yet as we grow older, multiple factors can come into play that impact our safety while driving, such as:
- Vision or hearing issues
- Weakened/stiffened muscles and joints
- Slowed reflexes and reaction time
- Medication side effects
- Dementia along with other chronic health conditions
For the elderly who want to continue to stay in the driver’s seat, these tips can help:
- Most importantly, see the doctor for a complete physical to be certain that any of the issues above are addressed and remedied, as well as to get his/her agreement that driving remains a safe activity. Then stay on a schedule of recurring checkups, including vision and hearing exams.
- The doctor may also suggest a fitness regimen to optimize physical health, including flexibility and muscle strength which are needed for the tasks inherent in driving (turning to look over your shoulder, twisting the steering wheel, pressing the gas and brake pedals, etc.).
- Review all medications being taken and their potential side effects, and adjust driving times appropriately. As an example, if a bedtime prescription causes sleepiness for as much as 12 hours, be sure to limit driving to times when the medication is no longer in your body.
- Consider what type of vehicle might be the safest and most comfortable for an older adult. An array of technological gadgets can result in more distress and distraction than ease and comfort for some older adults. For some, a smaller car is easiest to maneuver, while others may prefer something more sizeable and sturdier.
- Always pay attention to weather and road conditions. Driving at night, specifically when it is raining, is usually particularly difficult for seniors with underlying visual changes.
- Look into an older adult driving refresher course, which will not just provide helpful tips specific to elderly drivers, but often also provides a lower rate on auto insurance when completed.
Remember as well that there’s always another option to safeguard independence and freedom: partnering with Abby Senior Care for safe, dependable, transportation services. Our skilled caregivers are available according to each senior’s desired destinations and routines, whether that involves religious services each weekend, Tuesday afternoon hair appointments, Thursday lunch dates with friends, or even an extended vacation.
Our goal is not to take over, but to provide the support necessary to empower the elderly to continue to direct the course of their own lives, and to take pleasure in living life how they choose. Contact us at 303-699-8840 to request no-cost in-home assessment for more information regarding our in home care services in Denver, CO and surrounding areas today! For information on each community we serve, visit here.