How Aging Affects Driving Ability and How Senior Care Can Help
It’s one of the biggest rites of passage in our teenage years, and certainly one of the most exciting: the day we finally get our driver’s license. And although driving is considered a hallmark of independence, we soon take for granted the convenience of being able to hop in the car at any time and head to any destination our hearts desire. Until, that is, aging begins to interfere with the ability to drive safely – and suddenly, the prospect of losing that freedom can become disheartening.
The statistics are somber when it comes to driving and aging. Fatal auto accidents increase sharply in drivers over the age of 70. Decreased motor reflexes, vision and hearing problems, in addition to chronic illnesses, muscle pain and stiffness, and cognitive problems can all contribute to the need, at some point, for seniors to give up the keys.
There are several ways that seniors can enhance driving safety as they age, and to keep a finger on the pulse of their ability to remain safely behind the wheel:
- Vision/hearing checks: Annual appointments to gauge hearing and vision accuracy are crucial for seniors who want to keep control of the car keys. If hearing aids are recommended, make sure your senior loved ones wear them when driving; and likewise for corrective lenses.
- Reviewing medications: Since some medication side effects, such as drowsiness or dizziness, can make driving unsafe, it’s important to understand whether any of these effects come into play in any prescriptions or over-the-counter meds being taken. Share the senior’s medication list with the physician to determine if it’s safe for the senior to drive.
- Getting plenty of rest: Sleeping problems and nighttime restlessness that can occur in aging may result in daytime drowsiness. Ensure the senior has had an adequate night’s rest prior to getting behind the wheel.
When it becomes unsafe for a senior to continue to drive, a professional senior care agency, like Home & Hearth Caregivers, can help. Far from taking away a senior’s independence, our caregivers are available according to each individual’s schedule and wishes through our Ride4U senior transportation services. If your senior loved one always enjoyed sharing a cup of tea with a friend in the neighborhood on Tuesday mornings, followed by a trip to the grocery store, we’ll ensure that he or she can continue seamlessly with that routine by providing safe transportation and accompaniment services.
Contact us at 800-349-0663 to learn more about our senior care services, including transportation assistance for seniors in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will and the surrounding Illinois counties, and allow us to help your senior loved one discover a renewed sense of purpose, fulfillment and wellbeing!