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When Should a Senior Stop Driving?

By Nancy Delwaide, 9:00 am on

Driving is largely associated with freedom and independence and, thus, many seniors are reluctant to let their driving privileges go. However, changes in cognition, memory, reaction times, and mobility can significantly reduce a senior’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Oakville in-home care experts recommend watching for these signs that it’s time to talk with your aging loved one about giving up his or her car keys.

If There Is Evidence of Near Misses

Your loved one does not have to be involved in major accidents for you to recognize his or her driving abilities are decreasing. Small dings and scratches on his or her car may be indicative of unsafe driving. Take a look at the building structures or property features near your loved one’s parking space. Crooked mailboxes, scratched paint, and other signs of property damage could mean your loved one’s depth perception and maneuvering and handling skills have significantly diminished.

If He or She Becomes Frustrated While Driving

It is not uncommon for people to express frustration while driving. However, seniors may have especially elevated emotions when surrounding vehicles appear to be moving too fast or when the challenges of navigating the road become severe. Take a short trip with your loved one in the driver’s seat to determine whether or not he or she is prone to frequent emotional outbursts. Constant yelling or being yelled at by other drivers may mean your loved one can no longer safely operate a vehicle.

If He or She Experiences Memory Loss

Diminished short-term memory can have a significant impact on senior safety, especially when driving automobiles. Your loved one should stop driving if he or she has a hard time remembering where he or she is going and how to get there. Memory loss can make your loved one easily distracted and less responsive to unexpected events.

If Reaction Times Are Slowing

Not only is it important for your loved one to have the ability to follow the rules of the road, but he or she should also have excellent defensive driving skills. Being cut off or facing other unexpected developments requires quick and appropriate evasive action. When you ride with your loved one, pay attention to how he or she reacts to surprises on the road. Once defensive driving skills decrease, driving should be limited or alternative forms of transportation should be sought, such as hiring an Oakville caregiver to drive your loved one to important events.

If your loved one can no longer drive but still needs help getting from place to place, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our live-in and part-time caregivers in Oakville can provide transportation for medical appointments, errands, and social events, and can also help with a wide variety of daily tasks. All of our senior care services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees, and no long-term contracts to sign. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (905) 337-1200 today.