Tips for Safe Elderly Driving
People’s bodies change as they get older, and it is important to take these changes into consideration when caring for family members who are getting older, especially if they are still driving. However, if you stay aware of concerns for elderly driving and use tips to keep your family members safe, they can continue to drive and stay independent.
Concerns about elderly driving
Vision changes. An individual’s eyes can get worse as they get older. This can sometimes be corrected with glasses, but sometimes the eyes can have more significant problems, such as cataracts. These vision changes impact driving because it can be more difficult to read signs or see pedestrians or other vehicles.
Reaction changes. As people get older, their reaction times may slow. This can lead to challenges when driving in traffic, and could even lead to an accident if your family member is unable to react quickly and appropriately.
There are many side effects that come with medications, and age can have an impact on how medications affect someone’s health. Unfortunately, some medications taken by your elderly family member can impair judgment or cause symptoms such as dizziness or drowsiness that can have an impact on that family member’s ability to drive safely.
Tips for safe elderly driving
If you have an elderly family member who still drives, there are some things you can do and keep in mind to help ensure that your family member is kept safe.
Keep your family member healthy. While some changes in your family member’s health and driving abilities are inevitable as he or she ages, problems that impact your family member’s driving can be exacerbated by poor health. This includes annual eye exams, maintaining medications, and making lifestyle choices that promote health. The healthier your family member is, the more likely he or she is to be able to drive safely.
Keep communication open. It can sometimes be difficult to talk to an aging family member about his or her health and mental status. However, when that family member is a licensed driver, it is necessary. Having frequent conversations with your family member about his or her health can help ensure he or she is safe when driving. This also ensures that if your family member’s health prohibits driving, you will find out before there is an accident.
Keep your family member’s safety the priority. Quite often, your elderly family member wants to continue driving to maintain independence and control in his or her life. This is a good thing. However, the priority should be protecting your family member’s health and safety, even if it means giving up some of that independence.
Getting older does not have to mean that your family member no longer drives. However, it is important to keep communication open, help your family member stay healthy, and focus on your family member’s safety above all else. In this way, your family member can stay health and independent, even as he or she gets older.