How to Know When Your Senior Parent Should Stop Driving

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From the moment a person first earns a driver’s license, driving becomes the ultimate symbol of independence. While some seniors are perfectly fine letting someone else take the wheel, others are hesitant to give up the ability to sit in the driver’s seat. When your aging loved one begins to experience changes in mental or physical health, keep an eye out for these signs that he or she may need to stop driving.

Getting in Frequent Accidents

Fortunately, most traffic accidents are minor, and it’s normal for people to have at least one in their lifetime. However, your loved one shouldn’t be having accidents on a regular basis. Whether your loved one runs into another vehicle or strikes an inanimate object such as a tree, having three or more accidents within a year is cause for concern. 

Driving may not be the only safety concern you have about your parent, so you may find extra peace of mind by hiring a professional at-home caregiver. Families looking for top-rated Montgomery senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

Taking Medications That Cause Drowsiness

Medication labels contain essential information that should always be taken seriously. Ask your loved one to let you know if he or she takes any medications that advise against operating heavy machinery. While side effects such as drowsiness may just be temporary, you need to know so you can make arrangements for safe transportation until your loved one knows how he or she reacts to a new medication.

Mentioning Anxiety About Driving

Your loved one may sense his or her driving abilities are no longer what they used to be or claim people drive faster than they used to. Be alert for subtle messages your loved one may be sending about his or her comfort on the road. If your loved one already has some anxiety about driving, he or she is more likely to go along with your recommendation to let a caregiver drive instead. However, your loved one may be hesitant to bring it up if he or she worries about being a burden.

Experiencing Cognitive Changes

Driving requires being able to make rapid decisions in the event of changing road conditions such as construction zones. Your loved one may also need to be able to plan a safe route or follow instructions from the car’s GPS. Seniors with changes in cognitive functioning, such as those associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s, may not be able to think clearly enough to make safe decisions as they drive. Older adults with severe memory loss might also get lost while they drive, which could have severe consequences if they manage to drive out of state or into a dangerous area.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it may be time for him or her to give up driving. Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Montgomery, AL, families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care.

Hearing or Seeing Poorly

It’s important to be able to rely on all the senses while driving. Being unable to hear sirens could cause your loved one to accidentally interfere with an emergency response or even get into an accident. Your loved one also needs to be able to judge distance and speed. Although corrective lenses and hearing aids can help, your loved one might not be able to drive if he or she reaches a certain level of hearing or vision loss.

Even if your loved one has to give up driving, he or she can still enjoy a high level of independence. Montgomery at-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 (334) 593-3988 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.

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