How to notice when it’s time for your elderly loved one to stop driving.
Whether it’s the driving of a spouse, a parent, or another loved one, there may come a time in your life when you begin to question whether a loved one is still safe to drive. It’s a sensitive topic, especially for older adults who fear losing their independence or being seen as incapable. Although there are natural changes that may occur in our brains and to our bodies as we age, the question of when it is time to limit or stop driving is not about age. It’s about the ability of the driver. Be aware of these warning signs that signal the individual should give up the keys to the car.
Their car has fresh dents and scrapes.
A good place to start is by examining the vehicle. Are there new scratches and dents in the body? Do you see any damage to the mailbox, fence, driveway, or garage door? These are clear signs that the driver has a couple of bumps where they have failed to see or determine where an object is located.
They’re straining to see.
It’s natural that as we get older our eyesight worsens. Being able to see well is essential for safe driving. If your elderly loved one has a vision problem like macular degeneration or glaucoma, they won’t be safe behind the wheel no matter what they say.
Driving has become stressful or exhausting.
If the senior is working hard to compensate for any physical challenges, driving can become stressful and tiring. They might also show signs of confusion, anger, or be easily distracted. Signs that cause concern include:
- Getting lost, even in familiar areas
- Struggling to reverse the car
- Not being able to tolerate distractions
- Having trouble seeing and understanding traffic signals, road signs, or pavement markings
- Responding slowly to unexpected situations