Remember that feeling as a teenager when you first climbed behind the steering wheel, experiencing the exhilaration of being in a position to go wherever you wanted? The freedom that being able to drive grants us is beyond compare! Nevertheless, once we grow older, multiple factors can come into play that affect our ability to safely continue to drive, such as:
- Vision or hearing problems
- Weakened/stiffened muscles and joints
- Slowed reflexes and reaction time
- Medication side effects
- Dementia along with other chronic health issues
For older adults who wish to continue to remain in the driver’s seat, these tips for senior drivers can help.
- First and foremost, visit the physician for a full physical to be certain that any of the issues above are taken care of and remedied, as well as to get his/her agreement that driving remains a safe option. Then adhere to a schedule of continuous checkups, including vision and hearing exams.
- The physician can also encourage an exercise regimen to increase physical health, including flexibility and muscle strength which are necessary for the tasks essential in driving (turning to look over your shoulder, twisting the steering wheel, pressing the gas and brake pedals, etc.).
- Review all medications being taken and their possible side effects, and adjust driving times accordingly. For instance, if a bedtime prescription causes sleepiness for as long as 12 hours, make sure to limit driving to times when the medication is no longer in your body.
- Consider carefully what style of vehicle may be safest and most comfortable. A variety of technological gadgets might cause more distress and distraction than comfort and ease for some seniors. For some, a smaller sized car is easiest to maneuver, while others may prefer something bigger and sturdier.
- Observe weather and road conditions. Driving at night, especially if it is raining, can be particularly challenging for seniors with underlying visual changes.
- Look into an older adult driving refresher course, which will not only provide useful information specific to older drivers, but frequently also provides a reduced rate on auto insurance when completed.
Keep in mind as well that there’s always an additional solution to protect independence and freedom: partnering with Inspired Home Care, the Algonquin home health care experts, for safe, dependable, transportation services. Our professional caregivers are available based on each senior’s needed destinations and routines, whether that involves religious services each weekend, Monday afternoon hair appointments, Friday lunch dates with friends, or even an extended vacation.
Our goal is never to take control, but to provide the support necessary to empower seniors to continue to direct the course of their own lives, and to take pleasure in living life the way they choose. Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to request a free in-home assessment and for more information about our transportation and Algonquin home health care services and the communities we serve.