The Elderly And Driving: When It’s Time To Stop

As we age, we start to lose certain natural abilities such as our reflexes, vision, and other important everyday capacities that we have taken for granted much of our lives. We may be a step behind in our decision-making or certain health issues can impair our senses.

All of these things can have an impact on one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle on public roads. Studies have shown that the potential for being involved in an accident behind the wheel increases dramatically between the ages of 70 and 85 years.

Which brings us to the matter of senior driving. This isn’t to suggest that all elderly adults must rescind their drivers license during this time, but there are some very clear-cut indications that an elderly adult has begun to suffer some of the most common sensory weaknesses that can have a major impact on their capacity to safely drive an automobile.

If that happens, it may be time to hire Quality In Home Senior Care for that individual as they will be relying on assistance for getting to the places they need to go.

Health Conditions

So when is the best time to urge a senior citizen to give up his or her license? One thing to consider is whether or not the elderly adult is suffering from any health conditions that can have a serious effect on their competency on the road.

Seniors who may be experiencing vision or hearing loss are good candidates. So are seniors who may be taking routine medications that can impair the senses or cause drowsiness. Certain conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Diabetes, and dementia are also strong signs that it might be time for the senior to stop driving.

Any health condition that can affect reaction time or a senior’s ability to move without stiffness or pain should be under consideration as a reason to at least discuss reducing an elderly adult’s driving time.

Driving Performance

Not all medical conditions should sound an alarm as to whether or not a senior should be prevented from driving. However, there are some specific signs that it’s no longer safe for a senior citizen to remain behind the wheel, all of which are related to that individual’s performance on the road.

We all make a mistake once in a while, but if you notice that a senior is making more of them routinely, that may be an obvious indication that it’s time to stop driving. These include disobey traffic signs or lights, stopping at a green or running a red light, running a stop sign, or misunderstanding other basic road insignia.

If a senior becomes confused while driving, this can be a major red flag. Whether they are getting lost and can’t find their way to a destination they have traveled multiple times or simply don’t know how to get home, these could be potentially serious concerns.

Perhaps the most urgent indicator that a senior should not be driving anymore is if they have already been in an accident or even side-swiped a parked motor vehicle or some other object. One time may not be cause for immediate confiscation of a driver’s license, but more than once over a relatively short period of time is probably the strongest argument that a senior is no longer able to drive.

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