Four Signs to Look For if It’s Time for Your Elderly Parent to Stop Driving
If you have an elderly parent or another loved one that can still drive, trying to convince them to stop can be a challenge. Like with many aspects of independent living, the ability for the elderly to drive gives them a load of satisfaction and freedom, and asking them to ride with another family member could really dampen their mood if they believe they are still capable of driving themselves.
But as people get older, physical limitations with driving start to set in, and it can pose a major risk. People can still drive well into their 90s, and while aging alone doesn’t affect a person’s ability to drive, older people are more likely to face health issue or other restrictions that can make it harder for them to drive in a safe capacity.
The best home health agency Philadelphia has some pointers to help you determine whether or not it is time for your elderly parent or loved one to stop driving.
Cognitive health is of the utmost importance for safe and sound driving. If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, or is just dealing with memory loss, it would be a good idea to get them to stop driving. If your loved one isn’t able to remember names of places or streets or is able to focus on the road, they might find navigation to be a challenge to them.
There are many eye conditions that one could experience as they get older. These include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. These vision impairments can make it harder for people to deal with as they get older, and if their vision cannot improve with glasses, then it’s time for them to hand over the keys to more capable hands. A person with vision impairment while driving will find it difficult to see oncoming cars, pedestrians, or text on signage.
Drivers also need to hear clearly to be able to be aware of everything around them. Sirens and horns are the primary thing that drivers must identify to know what is going on around them. If your elderly loved one isn’t able to identify these sounds, they won’t have that awareness like they used to. It is also crucial for drivers to be able to hear irregular sounds coming from inside the car, so they can know if there are problems with it.
Drivers also must have fast reflexes in order to respond to impending danger. Having quick reflexes can be what separates a near miss from a fatal crash. As a driver gets older, their response time might slow down or their muscles get weaker, making for reacting to danger to be slower than what it should be. Drivers need to be able to think fast, steer and brake well to avoid obstacles, and make split-second decisions for what to do in unexpected moments. If your loved one cannot respond quickly, they will need somebody behind the wheel that can.
If your elderly loved one is still able to drive well behind the wheel and doesn’t show any of these symptoms, then great. Otherwise, you may want to talk with them about getting somebody to help them get to where they need to go.