How To Help Your Aging Parents Drive?
Being able to drive even at these declining years goes as a symbol of freedom for many older adults. Still, caregivers often worry about the risk of declining motor skills, along with cognition among senior drivers. If you are somewhat concerned about whether an elderly driver should still be behind the wheels, there are some easy ways to assess their driving skills and analyzing whether they are in a condition to drive safely.
Once your concerns are identified, you can further take action to increase safety for your aging parents both on and off the road. In order to help determine as to if your aging parent should still be behind the wheel, you can run through the below-mentioned steps.
Some Steps To Follow Through
For an Informal Driving Assessment, You Should Ride Along With Them
If your aged parent comes home with any unexplained dents on the car or if they seem to be struggling with signs of dementia, it’s natural and obvious to worry about their driving safety. Hence, you can set your mind at ease by observing their reaction times, confidence along with comfort behind the wheel, and their ability to follow basic traffic rules.
Vision problems also affect older adults a lot more as compared to other age groups, and diminished or blurry eyesight can prevent seniors from driving safely. While there aren’t stringent age limits for driving, many states require drivers, including those over the age of 65, to pass a vision test on renewing their driver’s license.
If you have concerns about vision of your aging parents, encourage them to visit an optometrist to diagnose their health conditions, like cataracts or glaucoma that might affect safe driving. It is better to address the issue right now than deal with the nasty news of having your parent denied a license, especially if they end up showing at the DMV expecting a rubber-stamp license renewal.
Every state is a bit different than the other, but there are some standard guidelines for license renewal across the country. Generally, you’ll need to demonstrate a 20/40 vision in both eyes. If you wear glasses or other contact lenses in order to pass the vision test, then the license will say correct lenses must be worn while driving.
In some of the states, new applicants 65 and older must take a driving test, both written as well as behind the wheel, for a five-year license to be issued.
Conduct a Medical Review By Health Professionals
To promote senior safety and health concerns, older adults should have a yearly physical test regardless of their driving habits. If you have noticed an aging parent has warning signs of declining health or dementia, check in with a health professional. Any condition that could lead to lapsed consciousness actually raises major red flags for older adults who drive.
Some data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows drivers over 65 are twice as likely to have a medical problem that makes driving complicated than other age groups. It is critical that your senior driver takes their medication and control any conditions like diabetes or risk of stroke.
Staying safe behind the wheel translates into many more years of mobility and independence as older adults age.
Installing Vehicle Safety Devices
There are quite various safety devices that can provide some peace of mind for caregivers who are worried about aging adults behind the wheel. These safety measures can be good inexpensive solutions like larger side mirrors to eliminate blind spots or booster seats to help shorter drivers scan pedestrians.
Aftermarket dashboard cams and backup alarms can also improve visibility for drivers of any age, including older ones. Backup cameras were found so as to reduce the risk of any police-reported reverse crashes by 78% when combined with sensors and automatic braking. Install a backup camera in order to avoid even minor parking lot smashups.
Some Medication Tracking Methods
When caregivers help manage health conditions, it can be quite difficult to monitor whether older adults are taking critical medication or not. Consider using one of the below-given ideas to ensure seniors don’t miss a vital medication that could drive their ability.
- Track meds and dosage by using a safety device.
- Use an app in order to send medication reminder alerts.
- Purchase a pill organizer to avoid confusion.
While backup cameras come somewhat standard in newer vehicles, they’re not guaranteed, especially since there are older motor vehicles on the road than ever before. Getting an aftermarket backup camera is quite an inexpensive way to improve every driver’s overall vehicle safety.
For easy installation and reliability the Yada wireless rearview camera is recommended. It gets bonus points for being water-resistant and quite affordable.
A Driver Improvement Course
Taking a driver refresher course never proves to be a bad idea. After all, there is a reason why many states require safe driving classes after a certain number of driving rule violations or other speeding tickets.
Mature driver improvement courses such as Seniors for safe driving or courses through AAA do more than teach driving techniques. They also offer older adults a great opportunity to regain confidence behind the wheel.
You should double-check with the insurance company so as to to see if taking a driver improvement course will qualify for a discounted rate. In some cases, you may be eligible for discounts (no matter your age) if you pass a defensive driving or driving refresher course.
End of it
While you might have significant concerns about aging adults’ driving habits, take heart: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety data shows seniors are less of a risk than younger drivers.
However, the same research study found that seniors have higher driver fatality rates when it comes to motor vehicle crashes than other age groups when involved in a motor vehicle crash. Researchers say this is due to the increased fragility of older adults, who are more likely to sustain life-threatening injuries during a motor vehicle crash.
If you’ve got concerns about an aging loved one’s ability to stay safe on the road, you’re not alone—and you’ve got options. Ride along to assess your loved one’s driving skills. Have their vision and general health tested? Install safety devices like a backup cam. And don’t forget to drive improvement courses.