In general, senior citizens are less distracted while behind the wheel than younger adults. In fact, more senior citizens wear their seat belts (as drivers and passengers), drive slower and in better weather condition, and do not drive after drinking. With all of those good driving habits, one would think that accidents among with senior citizens would be rare, but that is not the case.
According to the CDC, more than 5,560 older adults were killed and more than 214,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2012. That equates to 15 older adults (of 92 total people) being killed in car crashes every day! Part of the reason that so many seniors are killed in car crashes has to do with the fact that they are more susceptible to injury, along with having other medical conditions that could become worse in an accident.
Here are 4 things you can do to make sure your senior loved one can stay safe behind the wheel:
- Make sure they get regular eye exams. A senior’s eyesight could change dramatically from year to year. By having a regular exam, you can feel more confident that they can clearly see where they are going and any obstacles around them.
- Have their primary physician or pharmacist review their prescriptions periodically to make sure there are no harmful interactions that could impair driving.
- Have them get some physical activity as often as possible. If your loved one is physically in good shape, it is less likely that a minor fender-bender would be life-threatening.
- Pay attention to their mental cognition. If you find them repeating themselves more often or if they can’t remember where they’ve been, you might want to have a cognitive check done. You do not want your loved one to be confused when they are driving.
Driving is a privilege that very few people will willingly give up. Even if your loved one has their hands at 10 and 2, their seat belt on and radio off, it is important that they stay safe on the road in other ways.
At Assisting Hands Home Care we can provide your loved one with safe non-medical transportation to and from doctors and other appointments, grocery shopping or other errands. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, we can accommodate your needs. You will sleep better knowing that your loved one isn’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.