One of the things about getting older that many people dread is the loss of independence that comes with it. Part of this independence is the ability to drive yourself around be it on out-of-town trips, to doctor’s appointments, or just down the street for a burger. If you have a senor citizen in your life who is still driving, then it may be difficult to convince them that it is time to hang up the keys. But before you make this decision based strictly off of age, here are some things to consider about whether or not your senior should be driving.
Car Damage—The most obvious sign is whether or not your senior has been involved in an accident. This doesn’t just mean major accidents or even minor fender benders. Check the car for damage to see if they have been running into other cars or even items such as signs and buggy returns in parking lots. These may be signs that they are having issues with seeing the items or reacting to sudden changes like a car in front of them braking.
Tickets—If your senior is running up a large number of tickets, it is probably a good sign that they should consider not driving anymore. This doesn’t mean just speeding tickets. In fact, many seniors are cited for driving too slow for conditions, driving on the wrong side of the road, or failure to maintain the proper lane. Any of these can be caused by vision problems, reaction time issues, or just problems with mental acuity.
Slower Reaction Time—This doesn’t have to be a driving issue exclusively. If you notice that the senior citizen in your life is having a slower reaction time to events or sounds then you may want to have a serious talk with them about driving. In addition, if they are having trouble following conversations or keeping up with things mentally, then this could also be a sign that they are having trouble focusing, a definite problem when driving. The good news here is that you can talk to their physician and get a recommendation as to whether or not it’s time for them to stop driving.
The loss of independence that comes with not driving is not something to take lightly. This can be an incredibly painful step in the life of an older adult. However, for the safety of your loved one and the safety of the others on the road with them, it may be an important conversation that you need to have.