Ensuring the safety of an elderly loved one is a major concern in many families today. They want their loved one to retain as much of their independance for as long as possbible, but worry about how much the senior is actually still capable of doing for themselves. The families are thrust into the precarious situation of not knowing when to stand off at a safe distance and knowing when to intervene. Intervening too early can lead to a loss of self-reliance in their elderly loved one while intervening too late can bring catastrophic results.
Driving is a major bone of contention between the elderly and their family members. The elders still want to be able to drive themselves places and are certain that they can handle the task, but family members feel the need to keep them from potentially harming themselves or someone else while driving when they should not have been doing so. Taking away an elderly person’s driving privilege can deal crippling blow to their self-esteem. That’s why family members should proceed with caution when considering doing do. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether an elderly loved one should still be allowed to drive themselves.
Family members should take into consideration the health of their elderly loved one’s vision. Vision problems or limited vision for any reason can be a serious driving hazard. If the elderly person wears glasses or contact lenses for vision problems, do they make much difference in how well the elder is able to see?
Pre-existing medical conditions
Medical conditions that make an elderly person prone to seizures or passing out are grave concerns when allowing the senior to continue driving. In the event of a seizure, the elderly driver could kill himself or someone else if the car veers out of control. Further, is the senior taking any medications that may impair his or her ability to control the vehicle in a safe manner? Do the medications cause drowsiness or other side effects?
Does the senior still have good mental capacity? Do they get confused or lost easily? How much of what they see or read are they able to remember? Do they get scared or upset easily? An elderly person with a compromised mental capacity could easily get lost or crash the vehicle while driving if they become confused or upset. Being able to completely read and comprehend road signage is also a crucial part of driving safely. Any reduction in mental capacity could make this impossible for an elderly driver.