August is National Traffic Awareness Month, a time when people and communities all over the country are focusing on making driving safer for everyone.
One area that family caregivers should assess is whether their aging loved one is still capable of driving themselves. Often, seniors reach a point where they are physically or mentally at risk when it comes to safely operate a car.
Any family caregiver that is struggling with addressing their aging relative’s driving ability should take heart because National Traffic Awareness Month is supported by multiple organizations that are dedicated to roadway safety.
Why Should Elderly Adults Give Up Driving?
When an elderly adult is no longer safe to operate a motor vehicle, family caregivers must be ready to take the keys. But how do they know when it is time for them to give up driving? Sometimes elderly adults conceal the fact that they are struggling with driving because they fear losing the privilege.
It takes a lot of observation to find out the truth about an aging relative’s driving ability. There are a number of clues that family caregivers, friends, doctors, neighbors and home care providers can look for to help them figure out if the senior needs help.
Here are just a few of the clues to help family caregivers accurately assess the driving abilities of their loved one and then figure out what to do:
- A recent diagnosis of an illness that prohibits driving.
- Worsening vision or hearing.
- A decrease in large and fine motor skills.
- Moderate to severe arthritis.
- Moderate to severe diabetes
- Medications that may have side effects that prohibit driving.
- Frequent confusion with traffic lights.
- Failing to stop at a stop sign or running lights.
- Cutting off cars when merging.
- Frequent bumps, scrapes and even fender benders.
- Getting lost and not remembering how to get back.
If family caregivers are noticing more problems than usual, it’s important to start that invaluable dialog as soon as it is reasonable. They should also compare notes with other family members, friends, neighbors, home care providers and anyone else who supports the aging adult. Many times, the discovery is that the senior is a danger to themselves and others on the road and they should not be driving.
How Family Caregivers Can Help Seniors
There’s no easy way to restrict an elderly person’s driving privileges, but the conversation might go more smoothly if there’s plan in place. Many family caregivers understand that losing their independent might upset seniors. That’s why so many families hire home care providers to take seniors around to appointments, events and to errands.
Giving up driving is extremely difficult, but in order to put a worried family caregiver’s mind at ease, they should hire a professional to take over the transportation duties. This way, the elderly adults stay safe but still gets to where they need to be.