Should Your Elderly Parent be Driving?

A big part of a non-medical elder care expert's job is often helping elderly people make transitions. More than any other activity, driving is directly linked to a senior citizen’s independence. It takes one back to the days of youth and freedom. But driving privileges must be discussed if your elder is driving erratically or showing bad judgment that can put their life in danger or the lives of others. Having driving difficulties usually come from the natural physical deterioration we all experience as we age. This can include poor vision, reduced hearing, slowed reflexes and many other things that negatively impact our driving ability.
Even if the elder you are caring for is competent behind the steering wheel of a car, having them retested at the Department of Motor Vehicles is not a bad idea if you are concerned.
Here are 5 important questions to answer if you are concerned about your aging parent driving a car.
  1. Are they a good driver during the day but not at night? 
  2. Do they have 20/20 vision with corrective lenses but have drastically reduced peripheral vision?
  3. Does your elderly parent do well driving locally but has a hard time at higher speeds or when directions are needed?
  4. Do they hit curbs, miss turns, or put pedestrians at risk on a regular basis?
  5. Have they been in a car accident that has been deemed their fault? 
If you can answer “yes” to any one of these questions it may be time to seriously consider taking them off the road. But don’t just take away the keys. Be sensitive to the situation and plan on how you are going to take away the keys. Try to involve them in the process.
No longer being able to drive could cause many problems for your elder, such as loss of their primary source of getting places and the ability to easily purchase food and bring it home. They could now find it hard to attend social events or help friends. The loss of being able to drive can also increase their anxiety level due to both real and imagined isolation.

Because giving up driving can be traumatic and greatly impact your aging parent’s daily life it is not something that should be taken lightly. Do you have an elderly parent or loved one who needs help with everyday tasks or just some companionship? LifeWorx can help. All of our Elder Care Experts have over 2 years experience and are fully screened and vetted. Contact us today.

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