When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

Last week, we began our series on senior driving with a discussion on statistics concerning elderly drivers, how age affects your driving, and how to maintain your independence and stay safe on the road.

As we’ve mentioned, concern over our aging loved ones getting behind the wheel is certainly a legitimate one. However, because age affects us in many different ways, sometimes it’s not altogether clear how to determine when your aging loved one is no longer fit for driving based on age alone.

To help you gain a better understanding of the matter, we’re going to outline a few instances that may indicate that it is time for your aging loved one to stop driving.

Before driving

As we mentioned in our section about how age affects your driving, there are many physical and mental impairments that may conflict with your ability to drive. Thats why it’s important to have your loved one check with their doctor annually to make sure they’re fit to drive.

Here are a few things you should look for (adapted from helpguide.org):

  • Conflicting medications. Certain medications or combinations of medications can affect a number of things such as reflexes, senses, vision, or causing fatigue, making it difficult to drive. Ask your parent’s doctor to go through all medications with you and your loved one.
  • Vision/Hearing problems. Although there have been major advancements in hearing aids, sometimes that is not enough. Depending on the severity of their vision/hearing problems, your parent’s doctor may suggest that they stop driving.
  • Problems with reflexes and range of motion. Your parent’s doctor may also find that the constant movement (i.e. pressing on pedals, turning the wheel, looking back and forth, etc.) required to efficiently drive a car may be too much for your parent’s physical health.

While driving

Outside of what your parent’s doctor can tell you, there are other telltale signs that it’s time for your loved one to stop driving. Here are just a few:

  • Getting lost frequently or missing scheduled appointments, especially on familiar routes.
  • Increased traffic violations due to swerving in and out of lanes, missing stop signs, not reading road signs, or running through traffic lights.
  • Finding dings or scrapes on the car, as well as on fences, mailbox, garage doors, curbs, or marks in the yard.
  • Increase in flat tires.
  • Increased anxiety while driving or frequent experiences of road rage/honking from other drivers.
  • Frequent and sudden stops while driving or confusing the gas and brake pedal.
  • Frequent close calls or any other accidents

On Wednesday, we’ll discuss various alternatives to driving, as well as the benefits of not driving. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your loved one, please feel free to give us a call. We’d love to help you.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”