Discussing whether or not your elderly loved ones can drive is always an awkward conversation. It’s a very difficult decision because, in a way, it limits their ability to leave the house. The safety of your loved ones as well as the safety of others on the road needs to be taken into consideration. Yay or nay, a decision needs to be made.
Did you know that 17% of drivers on the road are over 65? The older we get the more our bodies start to degrade. Our reflexes become slower and our eyesight starts to decay, getting weaker and weaker as we age. There are a lot of steps that can be taken to help make your loved ones safer at the wheel.
Visit an Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists are trained specifically for helping the elderly with new tasks or help them know what they can and can’t do. They can evaluate a person’s skills and behavior and know what they should or shouldn’t go into. If the answer is no, they also provide services that can change the no to a yes. They are also a great professional opinion.
Schedule Hearing and Vision Tests
A lot of people need a hearing and vision test but don’t end up getting them. It’s super important for elderly people to receive these tests in order to prove to themselves and others that they are capable. A lot of the time just wearing glasses is enough to qualify them.
Talk to Your Doctor
It’s important to keep up with your doctor. They are a very trusted source and an excellent voice of reason. If your elderly loved one goes to the doctor alone, make sure you go with them to the next appointment so that you can ask the right questions and see what the doctor actually thinks. They know the actual current health of their patient compared to what you or someone else thinks. Medication can play a devastating role in driving. If there are severe side effects, it can be detrimental to your motor reflexes and actions.
Consider a Driver’s Ed Course for Older Adults
In some places they offer courses for the elderly. These courses help to keep up on the current traffic laws and patterns. It also allows a professional to see your loved ones in action. These programs are found throughout the country and are super effective. They make the argument super clear and concise. The most important part about these programs is that it helps keep your grandparents safe and helps them become a more defensive driver.
If Driving is No Longer Safe
If this is the case, it is important to be aware of the consequences of your actions. Make sure your loved ones have a place to go if they need. Some great ideas are going for a walk to a friend’s house or riding in the car with a family member. Make sure they are involved with church and community groups so that they feel a sense of purpose. Another great idea for a lot of the elderly is to get a pet like a dog or a cat. There are numerous studies suggesting that having a pet will increase the quality of life as well as a sense of purpose. There are also happiness studies showing that in general your happiness will increase with a pet.
Alternate modes of transportation should be discussed and utilized. On demand ride services like Lyft and Uber are super easy to use and can be very cost effective. One great option is to use non-medical home care. Assisting Hands can do almost everything. Dishes, driving, shopping, light cleaning, moving furniture, and most importantly companionship. Call Assisting Hands today for questions and concerns.