How to Know When Your Aging Parent Should Stop Driving

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The freedom to be able to drive wherever you want to go is one of the great pleasures of life. However, as people age, new challenges arise that can make driving more dangerous, both for seniors and for others on the road. Because these challenges often occur gradually, many seniors don’t realize the hazard they pose while driving. It’s up to family members to help their elderly loved ones come to terms with their limitations and decide if it’s time to hand over the keys. If you need help deciding whether your loved one is safe on the road, look out for these warning signs. 

Vision Changes

Many older adults experience a variety of vision changes that can range from cataracts to macular degeneration. Because driving requires clear vision, seniors who have ongoing vision problems should probably give up driving and allow family members, friends, or caregivers to provide transportation for their needs.

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 senior home 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.

Muscle & Joint Problems

Although not all muscle and joint problems interfere with driving ability, certain movements are required for safe driving. The driver must be able to get in and out of the car without assistance. Being able to turn the head sufficiently to see the rear of the vehicle and having the ability to control muscles to properly manipulate the accelerator and brake are important considerations for safe driving.

Hearing Impairment

The sounding of horns from other vehicles can alert drivers to impending collisions. If your loved one is able to use a hearing aid device, it may provide sufficient hearing ability for safe driving. If this isn’t possible, it’s probably better for your parent to give up driving and arrange for alternative methods of transportation.

Even if your loved one has to give up driving, he or she can still enjoy a high level of independence. Carmichael elder 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.

Cognitive Issues

Frequent lapses in memory can create hazards for drivers if they forget where to turn, where they live, or how to manipulate vehicle controls. In this case, turning in the keys to the car can provide safety for your loved one and others on the road. Even if your loved one can still drive perfectly well, it’s not safe to be driving if he or she gets lost or confused. Showing up a few hours late because he or she got lost or blacking out on the way to the store is a good indication it’s too risky for your loved one to drive. 

It’s important to be aware of changes your loved one is facing, both physical and mental, to ensure he or she is safe on the road. If you’re unsure of how to detect changes, consider booking an appointment with a doctor, who will be able to evaluate your loved one’s current abilities and determine if driving is still a safe activity.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or a similar condition that affects cognitive abilities, 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. Carmichael 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. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (916) 485-4663 today.


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