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When is it Unsafe for your Elderly Loved One to Drive?

Recent studies report that fatality rates begin to climb for drivers over the age of 65.  Furthermore, a majority of states do not require older adults to renew licenses in person, and only two require seniors over the age of 65 to pass a road test.  With minimal state issued senior driving requirements, it is especially important for concerned adult children of elderly drivers to be aware of when they may no longer be able to drive safely.

A decline in the skills required to drive are unfortunately, a natural part of aging.  San Diego senior careprofessionals report that with age, seniors experience diminished physical ability and mental awareness.  Natural risk factors including visual decline, hearing loss, and a decrease in motor skills or mobility, result in an increased risk for accidents.  Medications for glaucoma, arthritis and other age related conditions may also result in drowsiness, impairing the ability to drive.
If you are unsure if your loved one should be driving, the following are warning signs indicating unsafe driving habits:

  • Drifting into other lanes and failing to use the turn signal when changing lanes
  • Breaking or accelerating suddenly
  • Missing turns or exits frequently
  • Having trouble reading signs or navigating through regular locations
  • Failing to pay attention signs or stop lights
  • Areas of the car that were undamaged are now dented or scratched
  • Areas around the home such as mailboxes or garages have been nicked or hit

The ability to drive is often a sensitive topic for seniors.  Driving often signifies a senior’s freedom, independence and self-sufficiency.  Suggesting to your loved one that they may no longer possess the skills needed to drive safely may result in feelings of denial or anger.  To help alleviate these negative feelings, suggest transportation alternatives such as public transportation or local taxi services.

Home health care in San Diego is also a great option for seniors, providing reliable transportation services.  Caregivers provide transportation promoting the senior’s independence and allowing them to maintain their regular routines.  Additional help is also available for cooking, cleaning and light housekeeping.  Home care provides compassionate care and quality assistance to seniors, while enabling them to live safely and comfortably at home.

For more information about the customized care plans offered by Home Care Assistance, call us at 877-254-4860.

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