Is your senior loved one still safe to drive?

belvedere home care safe driving for seniors.jpgAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, the number of people 65 and older killed in traffic crashes (6,764) made up 18 percent of all traffic fatalities.

While age alone can’t predict driving ability and safety, getting older can mean slower reflexes, vision issues and health conditions that may impair driving ability.  

The NHTSA offers these questions to help you assess if a senior loved one is still safe behind the wheel:

  • Is the senior getting lost on routes that should be familiar?
  • Are they getting lost on routes that should be familiar?
  • Have you noticed new dents or scratches on the vehicle?
  • Have they received recent tickets for driving violations?
  • Have they experienced a near-miss on the road?
  • Is their health provider advising them to limit driving?
  • Do they become overwhelmed or disoriented by road signs and markings while driving?
  • Are they taking any medications that might affect driving safely - i.e. cause drowsiness, impair vision, etc.?
  • Do they drive too fast or too slowly for no reason?
  • Are they suffering from any illnesses that may affect driving skills or could cause blackouts or loss of consciousness while driving?

But potentially hazardous issues don’t have to be observed on the road. If you have noticed any of these problems or an overall change in health or cognition, it may be time to reassess driving ability.
Such danger signals may include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Unusual agitation and mood swings
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Trouble walking
  • Trouble hearing
  • Decline in vision
  • Dizziness when changing positions
  • Frequent tripping or falling
  • Shortness of breath and general fatigue
  • Difficulty following verbal instructions or answering questions

Convincing a parent that it is time to give up driving is difficult because it not only points out the difficulties they are experiencing because of aging or illness, it also takes away their independence. Even if you can argue a good case and have professional opinions and insights, you should prepare for a long discussion and resistance. But if you feel their driving is impaired, it's important for their safety and others on the road and in the community that the issue is addressed and resolved.

Belvedere Home Care can make the transition easier. Our caregivers can provide transportation to doctor appointments, errands, events or just about any other local travel that needs to be done. If you are making the tough decision to take a parent's keys, call us to find out more about our home care services. Having a driving plan in place so your loved one can still feel mobile and independent can help keep them off the road.

Call us at 518-694-9400 to learn more.