Do you remember that feeling as a teen when you first climbed behind the steering wheel, that great exhilaration of being in a position to go anywhere you wanted? The freedom that being able to drive offers us is beyond compare! Yet as we grow older, many different factors can come into play that influence our ability to safely continue to drive, including:
- Vision or hearing issues
- Weakened/stiffened muscles and joints
- Slowed down reflexes and reaction time
- Medication side effects
- Dementia and other chronic health issues
For the older adults who would like to continue to remain in the driver’s seat, these senior safety tips for driving can help.
- First and foremost, visit the doctor for a comprehensive physical to be certain that any of the issues above are taken care of and remedied, as well as to get his/her agreement that driving remains a safe option. Then stay on a schedule of recurring checkups, including vision and hearing exams.
- The physician can also encourage an exercise regimen to optimize physical health, including flexibility and muscle strength which are typically required for the tasks inherent in driving (turning to check over your shoulder, twisting the steering wheel, pressing the gas and brake pedals, etc.).
- Assess all medications being taken and their potential side effects, and modify driving times accordingly. As an example, if a bedtime prescription causes drowsiness for up to 12 hours, be sure to limit driving to times when the medication isn’t any longer in your system.
- Consider carefully what kind of vehicle might be safest and most comfortable. An array of technological gadgets can result in more confusion and distraction than comfort and ease for some older adults. For some, a smaller car is easiest to maneuver, while others may want something larger and sturdier.
- Observe weather and road conditions. Driving at night, specifically when it’s raining, can be particularly challenging for seniors with underlying visual changes.
- Consider looking into an older adult driving refresher course, which will not just provide helpful suggestions specific to elderly drivers, but frequently also provides a reduced rate on car insurance when completed.
Keep in mind as well that there is always an additional solution to sustain independence and freedom: partnering with Morning Glory Home Care, a Highland senior home care provider for the surrounding areas, for safe and dependable transportation services. Our skilled caregivers are available based on each older adult’s preferred destinations and routines, whether that involves religious services each weekend, Wednesday afternoon hair appointments, Thursday lunch dates with friends, or even an extended vacation.
Our intent is not to take over, but to offer the support needed to empower seniors to continue to direct the course of their own lives, and to take pleasure in living life the way they choose. Email or call us today at 618-667-8400 to request a free in-home assessment for more information regarding our transportation services and our top-rated Highland senior home care and senior care throughout the surrounding areas.