Declining physical ability is one of the most difficult things about watching a parent age. They may not be able to do as much around the yard and certainly aren’t as active as they used to be. One of the more difficult conversations to have with elderly parents is whether they should continue to drive. While many seniors are able to operate moving vehicles safety, there are also many that should probably turn over their keys sooner rather than later.
Senior Driving Skills in Decline
It’s no secret that the body doesn’t perform in the same way when it is older. Whether it’s from stiff joints, weaker muscles, chronic illness or recovery from injuries or surgeries, aging drivers are not as fast and responsive to traffic as they were when they were younger. Other ways that age can affect the body is reduced vision, poor hearing, slower physical and mental reactions, feelings of confusion, and even the side effects of medication like dizziness or nausea.
When any driver is physically or mentally impaired, they become a danger to themselves and to others on the road. While seniors may not drive recklessly like teens or drive while drunk like other younger drivers, they can be equally as dangerous in some cases due to physical decline. Even though your aging parent may insist that they are just fine behind the wheel, it’s up to you as the one in charge of their elderly care to convince them that it may be time to give it up for their own safety.
Observe and Evaluate
Trying to convince your elderly parent that it is time to stop driving can feel overwhelming and frustrating. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. The first place to go is to your parent’s physician as part of a general checkup. Any medical professional involved with elderly care should be able to provide recommendations on their ability to drive.
You can also get feedback from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, which may require seniors of a certain age to take vision, hearing or driving tests before renewal. Many states also allow confidential reporting of potentially unsafe drivers that will trigger an investigation. If your aging parent cannot satisfy the state’s requirements for a good driver, their license will be suspended or revoked.
Senior Transportation Without Driving
Elderly parents are more likely to stop driving if they recognize that their health and safety, and that of others, is at risk. Of course, most people are very reluctant to give up the freedom and independence that driving provides. You can help your aging parent’s transition to giving up driving a lot easier by helping them arrange transportation.
Besides public transportation, many seniors enjoy a home care service that provides aides that can drive them to activities, stores, appointments and events. Family members can also help out in transporting elderly loved ones to get where they want to go.
When it comes to determining whether or not your elderly parent should continue driving or not, you shouldn’t wait to have a conversation. Dealing with transportation is an important part of elderly care so that aging parents don’t miss out on all their favorite activities.
If you or an aging loved-on are considering elderly care in Niles, IL, please call the caring staff at A-Abiding Care today. Serving North and Northwest Chicago and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Call 847-698-1400.