Being the caregiver for someone you love can be a rewarding experience for you, and for them. Though, there are times when you have to face some challenges. Probably the most daunting is facing the question of whether it is time for your loved one to stop driving? At Caregivers Connection, we have five signs that may indicate that it’s time for a person to give up driving.
Before it becomes necessary to take the keys, there are several ways to help a person adjust to when and where they drive. Encourage them to:
- Avoid driving at night and in bad weather
- Drive only to familiar places
- Drive within a certain radius of home
- Stay off the highways
- Limit distractions while driving by turning off the radio, avoiding conversations with passengers, and no cell phone activity
Getting older, and needing some assistance, doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t be behind the wheel. However, it’s important to monitor your loved ones’ ability to drive, and do so safely. There comes a point for everyone when reflexes slow and vision begins to deteriorate. Both can make driving hazardous for them, and for others on the road.
According to AAA, there are some common signs that would indicate if it’s time for your loved one to stop driving.
- If there is confusion between the gas and brake pedals, or if they have difficulty working them. If they have to lift their leg to move between the two, this can be a sign of waning leg strength.
- If they appear to ignore or miss traffic signals, especially stop signs.
- Be alert of how they do in the flow of traffic. If traffic is moving slowly, do they become more agitated, and become offensive in their driving, and conversely, are they holding up traffic?
- Be aware if they are straddling the center line and if they are using their turn signals. Also, see if they are using their mirrors and checking their blind spots.
- Is there any signs of cognitive decline? This could lead to them becoming disoriented and getting easily lost.
- Do they have any health conditions? Is their hearing or eye site diminishing? Are they experiencing any stiffness or soreness in their neck? Not being able to turn their heads properly could put them into a dangerous situation in traffic.
Do you remember when you first got your driver’s license? The sense of pride and freedom stayed with you. To help you understand how your loved one feels, just multiply that feeling by the number of years they’ve been driving. For your loved one, having to give up driving removes their sense of independence. They may begin to feel that they must be totally dependent on someone else, and are therefore losing control over what they can do. It’s a hard adjustment for them to make. Be sensitive to their feelings, their needs and their desires.
We are confident that these tips will help you to determine if your loved one needs to stop driving, or if some of their habits should be adjusted. If they can continue to drive, Caregivers Connection suggests that they always have their at home or on the go pendant from LifeFone with them at all times.