At some point in their lives, seniors might no longer have the cognitive or physical skills to drive safely. While losing the ability to drive is often equated with a loss of independence, taking the car keys is an important step in ensuring the safety of the senior and others on the road. There are various signs family members might observe that indicate it’s no longer safe for their aging loved one to get behind the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chances of having some type of vision impairment increase after the age of 75. The development of cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration decreases the normal visual field. Loss of vision prevents older adults from seeing potential hazards. Seniors should have yearly eye exams to diagnose and start treatment to inhibit progressive visual impairment.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. New Hampshire families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Statistics suggest that up to one-third of adults over the age of 65 develop hearing issues. The loss occurs so gradually that older adults commonly don’t notice. However, if a senior with hearing difficulty cannot hear car horns, screeching tires, or emergency vehicle sirens, he or she is at a greater risk of becoming involved in an accident.
Mental or Physical Limitations
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other medical conditions affect cognitive abilities and limit movements of the arms, head, and neck, which poses a risk to older drivers. The spasticity or rigidity that occurs with Parkinson’s and other musculoskeletal ailments interferes with the ability to use the steering wheel, brake, and gas pedals. As such, your loved one may not be able to react in time to prevent a collision. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia who display issues with memory may get lost when driving unaccompanied.
If your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s and needs help managing daily tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. New Hampshire Home Care Assistance provides reliable caregivers around the clock to help your loved one age in place safely and comfortably while living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Side Effects of Prescription Medications
Different types of medication come with side effects such as blurred vision, drowsiness, and confusion. Drug interactions can also cause adverse reactions that increase the danger for senior drivers. Family members should be aware of the medications their loved one takes along with the side effects and interaction dangers.
Chronic Alcohol Consumption
Seniors who drink habitually may be inclined to get behind the wheel after having a few glasses of wine or a few cocktails and become a danger to themselves, pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.
Accompany your loved one on a driving excursion and watch for certain signs. Does your loved one fasten his or her seat belt? Is he or she comfortable in the driver’s seat, or does he or she show signs of discomfort? While driving, is your loved one paying attention or is he or she distracted? Does he or she demonstrate the proper actions when encountering road signs, stop lights, pedestrians, or other vehicles? Is the reaction time normal? Does your loved one drive too close to other vehicles or tend to stray into other lanes?
Having to give up driving is just one of the many challenges that occur in the golden years. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality homecare. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably. To schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our friendly Care Managers, call (603) 471-3004 today.