The Question Every Senior Faces – When is the Right Time to Give Up Driving?

Getting your driving license is one of the best moments in anyone’s life! You suddenly have the keys to your freedom – the ability to go anywhere and do anything.

It’s understandable then that seniors face a challenging time giving up this independence – but eventually, it’s critical for their own safety. Here are some tips on when to determine the right time to make driving a thing of the past, and how to treat this important decision with compassion and care, from our in-home respite care team.

It’s Not About Age

Getting older doesn’t mean that someone should automatically give up their driver’s license. In fact, the AAA (American Automobile Association) Foundation’s research shows that one in six American drivers is over 65. The issue depends more on the condition of the driver’s reflexes (these do slowly as we age) and how their overall health can affect driving safety. For example, a senior with the early stages of dementia will be at risk behind the wheel.

13 factors showing that someone’s driving ability is sufficiently reduced include:

  1. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  2. Parkinson’s disease
  3. Arthritis
  4. Diabetes
  5. Stroke
  6. Reduced hearing and vision
  7. Neck pain and leg pain that reduce range of motion
  8. Taking any medications that may impair driving ability, including anti-anxiety drugs, drugs that induce drowsiness, etc.
  9. Stopping at green lights or being confused by traffic signals
  10. Getting lost on the road
  11. Getting into car accidents like bumper bashings, accidents while parking
  12. Running red lights or stop signs
  13. Concern from friends and family members about your loved one’s driving

The final indicator is reaching the age of 85. At this age, we all have reduced reflexes, hearing and vision loss, regardless of how healthy we are otherwise.

What to Do 

 This is a difficult, but important conversation to have. After all, a car accident could severely injure and traumatize your loved one or put other lives at risk. Here is some advice on how to move forward.

  • Take the time to talk to your loved one. Explore their feelings about driving and be compassionate about the loss of independence this represents. Talk to your loved one from a place of care and concern and be united with the rest of your family. Use specific examples to show you are worried about their safety and confidence behind the wheel.
  • Evaluate. If you are unsure of your loved one’s driving ability (they may feel the same concern), they can undergo an evaluation. This can be done through a driving school, rehabilitation center, or even by a physiotherapy center.
  • Be prepared with alternatives. Have a plan to assist your loved one to maintain their independence. Speak to family and friends about helping out with grocery runs and transport and find local senior transport providers in their area who can take them safely wherever they need to go.
    Senior independent home care providers also provide safe senior transport in addition to home care. This eliminates car maintenance and insurance and allows your loved one to go anywhere, any time of day for social calls, appointments, and anything else. They will likely end up love being chauffeured like a celebrity!

Safe, Compassionate In-Home Respite Care for Independent Seniors in NJ (H2)

Our senior home care services include respite care, personal care, companionship, assistance with errands, and skilled nursing visits. Our Tapestries at Home program offers specialized dementia care provided by highly trained caregivers. We also offer “Family Connect” utilizing virtual visits to connect you with your loved one when you cannot be there in person.

Because of the work we do, our senior home care services agency takes the coronavirus pandemic very seriously. Our team of home health aides in New Jersey is fully trained in protection practices to help prevent infection. We have taken the strongest precautionary measures in line with COVID-19 to ensure delivery of the care that seniors need on a daily basis while reducing their risk as much as possible.

Contact us today and let one of the leading home health aide services providers in New Jersey deliver the exceptional care and companionship that your loved one deserves. You can also visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org