Signs It’s Too Dangerous for a Senior to Drive

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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.

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 spastic 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 elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Milwaukee home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Impaired Vision

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. A 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.

Hearing Loss

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 do not 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.

Helping older adults remain safe while they age can be challenging. In Milwaukee, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.

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.

Behavioral Indications

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?

If your loved one displays any of the above signs, it may be time to take away the keys and hire a professional caregiver. Milwaukee home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Call Home Care Assistance at Milwaukee (414) 964-8000 or Waukesha (262) 782-3383 to create a customized home care plan.