Do you remember that feeling as a teen when you first climbed behind the steering wheel, that great excitement of being in a position to go wherever you wanted? The freedom that having the ability to drive offers us is beyond compare! Nevertheless, as we grow older, numerous factors will come into play that impact our ability to be a safe driver, such as:
- Vision or hearing issues
- Weakened/stiffened muscles and joints
- Slowed reflexes and reaction time
- Medication side effects
- Dementia and other chronic health conditions
For senior loved ones who wish to continue to remain in the driver’s seat, the following tips can help.
- First off, visit the physician for a full physical to ensure that any of the issues above are addressed and remedied, and also to get his/her agreement that driving remains a safe activity. Then stick to a schedule of continual checkups, including vision and hearing exams.
- The doctor may also recommend an exercise regimen to improve physical health, including flexibility and muscle strength which are needed for the tasks essential in driving (turning to look over your shoulder, twisting the steering wheel, pressing the gas and brake pedals, etc.).
- Assess all medications being taken and their potential side effects, and modify driving times appropriately. As an example, if a bedtime prescription causes sleepiness for up to 12 hours, make sure to limit driving to times when the medication is no longer in your system.
- Think about what style of vehicle is likely to be safest and most comfortable. A variety of technological gadgets may cause more confusion and distraction than comfort and ease for some senior loved ones. For some, a smaller sized car is easiest to maneuver, while others may opt for something more sizeable and sturdier.
- Keep your eye on weather and road conditions. Driving when it’s dark, particularly if it is raining, is especially challenging for seniors with underlying visual changes.
- Consider enrolling in an older adult driving refresher course, which will not only provide useful information specific to older drivers, but typically also provides a discounted rate on automobile insurance when completed.
Keep in mind as well that there is always an additional solution to sustain independence and freedom: partnering with Absolute Companion Care, the experts in senior home care in Baltimore and the surrounding area, for safe, reliable, transportation services. Our skilled caregivers are available according to each older adult’s needed destinations and routines, whether that involves religious services each weekend, Tuesday afternoon hair appointments, Saturday lunch dates with friends, or even an extended vacation.
Our intent is never to take over, but to offer the support needed to empower the elderly to continue to direct the course of their own lives, and also to take pleasure in living life how they decide. Email or call us at 410-357-9640 to ask about our no-cost in-home consultation and for more information about our transportation services and top-rated senior home care in Baltimore and the surrounding communities.