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Taking the keys away from your loved one can be a difficult thing for a son or daughter to do, but it can limit potential problems and protect the well being of the parents. Driving to errands and different appointments can provide a sense of independence for the elderly, but as soon as this ability is taken away, seniors can become depressed and lonely.
While there is no set age when driving should be stopped, there are certain warning signs that may mean that it is time for your relative to turn over the keys and start relying on other drivers. While it may not be necessary for driving to be stopped immediately, these warning signs do warrant some type of limited driving responsibilities whether it is limiting their time behind the wheel, or sending someone with your relative while they run their errands.
If your loved one’s driving regularly produces lots of these warning signs, even in locations that are frequently visited, it may be an early indicator of a memory problem or other issues that can make driving more difficult. Poor vision can limit the ability to see signs, signals, and other vehicles, and slow reaction time can increase the risk of a rear end accident.
If your loved one regularly has close calls with other vehicles or stationary objects, their reaction time may not be as sharp as it once was, and limited mobility can also limit the viewing angle and increase the risk of changing lanes when it is not safe. If your relative is experiencing some of these problems, it may be time to significantly limit or eliminate drive time in order to protect your loved one and those around them.
Having the talk about limiting driving with your parent can be difficult, but by providing examples of lapses in judgment, by having other friends or family members talk to your parents with you, or by explaining an appropriate alternative, you can make this talk much easier. When approaching your loved ones, make sure that they know that you are limiting driving because you love them, and always ensure that you will be there or have someone else like a caregiver there to drive them when they need it.
Spending more time with them can prevent loneliness and depression from sinking in, even if it is just short trips to the doctor or grocery store. By catching your loved one when only a few of these warning steps are present, you can stop problems before they arise, and you can minimize the chance for accidents.
Originally posted 2011-11-07 10:30:47.