For many seniors, driving is a big part of maintaining their independence, and many are reluctant to give up their car keys. If your aging loved one still gets behind the wheel, there are several steps he or she can take to mitigate the physical and cognitive effects of aging and enhance his or her ability to drive safely.
Get Regular Checkups
First and foremost, elderly drivers need to be on top of their health by getting regular physical checkups as well as vision and hearing exams. Seniors should talk with their doctors about the effects their specific diagnosed ailments and diseases can have on driving as well as the possible side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Avoid Driving at Night
Night vision often diminishes with age, usually starting around the age of 50. An aging adult may be able to see perfectly well in daylight but have vision problems at night or even in the early evening. If possible, your loved one should avoid driving during the evening hours and at night. Make sure your parent’s car has clean, bright headlights just in case he or she gets caught out on the road after dark.
If your loved one is no longer able to operate a vehicle safely, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide transportation. Clearwater homecare services experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Avoid Driving in Inclement Weather
Your loved one should always try to avoid driving in the rain, snow, and other kinds of inclement weather. These types of weather conditions can make it more difficult to see and harder to navigate slippery road surfaces safely. Your loved one’s reflexes may be too slow to react if his or her car starts to skid on ice or hydroplane on water.
Find the Right Car
Sometimes finding the right car can reduce the number of physical and cognitive variables an elderly driver needs to contend with to drive safely. Some new technologies, such as video cameras and sensors, can assist with backing up, provide automatic braking, monitor blind spots, and automatically parallel park.
Aging adults who need help around the house and assistance with transportation can benefit from having in-home caregivers. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of elder care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
Modify an Existing Car
Keep in mind that your loved one’s existing car can be modified in some ways to make driving easier if he or she has disabilities or specific chronic conditions. Consult an occupational therapist or certified driving rehabilitation specialist for advice tailored to your loved one’s specific needs. The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists and the American Occupational Therapy Association are great places to begin the search for qualified experts.
Listen to Others
On a final note, elderly drivers should listen to the concerns of others. It’s not easy for a family member or friend to discuss driving limitations with an elderly loved one. Therefore, if you feel strongly enough to bring it up, chances are your loved one needs to take a long, hard, and honest look at his or her driving ability. Consulting an expert third party, as mentioned above, can provide reassurance and peace of mind to all involved.
Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Clearwater seniors can depend on. Call us at (727) 330-7862 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.