It’s very rare for an elderly person to approach their adult child and declare that they are no longer going to drive. Instead, the opposite is true, and aging adults try to downplay or disguise the fact that their abilities are deteriorating. Because there is no upper age limit for when seniors must stop driving, it’s up to family caregivers and friends to piece together an idea of how well the senior can drive and take steps if that evaluation is lacking.
It can be a real challenge for family members to decide whether it is actually time for their aging loved one to cease driving. Family caregivers should make the observations themselves or collect stories from family members and friends who have also witnessed the senior’s driving skills.
Here are 10 warning signs that family caregivers can watch for that usually indicate the senior’s driving days are over:
- There’s an increase in scrapes and dents in the vehicle from the car hitting stationary objects like parking barriers, parked cars and shopping carts.
- The aging adult ignores basic traffic laws and has several near misses while getting around the city.
- They’re experiencing changing health conditions especially those that relate to driving, such as poor vision, poor hearing, arthritis in the hands and muscle spasms.
- Increasing nervousness in driving on highways, at night or via certain routes with a lot of traffic congestion.
- The aging adult is taking new or existing medication that specifically warns against operating machinery or driving.
- Mental health issues are becoming more common, such as depression, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- A doctor has specifically recommended, after a routine exam and based on their medical expertise, that the aging adult should no longer drive.
- The aging adult has just gone through some trauma that may affect their clarity and focus, such as the loss of a loved one or other traumatic grief.
- The senior is caught trying to cover up an unfortunate driving incident, from ignoring a ticket to downplaying their increasing physical changes.
- An increase in fender benders or crashes where the police cite the aging adult at fault.
When having the conversation about an aging adult’s poor driving abilities, family caregivers need to have a solution to their transportation problem. Many hire elder care providers to help around the house. Part of their duties can be to provide transportation to wherever they need to go—grocery shopping, the dentist, the pharmacy, the doctor’s office or to a friend’s house. Elder care providers are professionals that know how to take care of aging adults and will get their aging clients where they need to go.
Not only will elder care providers help seniors with transportation, they give family caregivers peace of mind knowing that their aging loved one is in good hands. They won’t have to worry about the stress of traffic, the dangers of driving or the anger and frustration of an elderly adult that can no longer drive on their own.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN INDIAN TRAIL, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF CHARLOTTE. (704) 246-5806.