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Elders: Signs You Should Stop Driving

drivingAs you grow older, you may need to change your driving practices or seek alternative methods of transportation. Old age comes with its risk factors and it’s important to learn about safe driving practices. Driving does give you a sense of purpose and independence; however, you can get it through other modes of transportation as well. Aging brings physical, emotional and mental disorders that may render you incapable of driving every day or at certain times. Elders are more prone to getting confused about traffic signals and getting into accidents due to eyesight or hearing impairment, delayed response time, health problems and slow motor reflexes. Here are the signs that you should seek alternative means of transport.

Reduced coordination

Lack of strength, flexibility and coordination may cause you to lose control over the car. As you age, your reaction times slow down. You lose the ability to multi-task or shift your attention to other activities.

Due to reduced strength, you may not be able to turn the steering wheel quickly. Due to leg and back pain, it may become tricky for you to shift your foot from brake to gas pedal. Furthermore, due to muscle stiffness, you may not be able to move your head effectively or look over your shoulders.

You may get confused by road signs.  For instance stopping at the green signal or going at red signals, which makes it difficult for other drivers to predict their next moves.

Impairment

Aging people tend to suffer from gradual loss of hearing and eyesight. Loss in hearing means you would not be able to hear approaching cars, horns, sirens, warning signals or screeches. Losing your eyesight could affect your ability to detect road signs, read speedometer, take note of blindspots and check pedestrians.

Senior citizens are more vulnerable to eye diseases, such as cataracts, which may render them ineffective in driving safely. There could be frequent close calls, such as near-crashes or accidents and a result of impairment. This may become apparent if the car has more dents and scratches. It’s difficult for elders to drive in bad weather condition or at night.

Cognitive decline

As we age we are more prone to develop neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which affect our judgement, flexibility and dexterity. Seniors may not be able to pay attention to important cues on roads. They are also likely to get easily distracted. This could also show as elders tend to get lost in familiar locations or lose navigation skills. Forgetting the way to a location where you have been for years may indicate a serious disorder.

If driving is becoming a porblem or dangerous, seek help from your loved ones in arranging alternative modes of transportation for you. There might be services in your state that cater to the driving needs of the elderly. Or if you know an elderly person, volunteer to drive them when you have spare time.

 

 

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in  Newport Beach, CA or the surrounding Orange County areas, please call us at 949-535-2211.  We provide senior care services in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and surrounding areas of Orange County California.  Contact us today to learn more.

Dan Segal

Dan and Yvonne Segal are the owners and operators of Optimal Senior Care Solutions. Dan is a 25 year veteran of the Healthcare Industry and Yvonne is an instructional aide at Meadow Park Elementary School in Irvine.

Both Dan and Yvonne had personal experiences with the needs and challenges of caring for aging parents. They saw the need for a high quality professionally run yet personalized service to deliver the type of experience that they had a hard time finding.