One of the hardest things for anyone to deal with as they get older is making the decision that it is no longer safe to continue driving an automobile. Retiring from driving to many people is a very traumatic experience because driving represents to them their ability to be independent. When a senior citizen is no longer able to drive many times they experience a time of readjustment and grief. Usually many things have changed that have led to this decision and the Senior feels a major loss. The key to helping your loved one deal with this major decision is finding ways for them to remain as independent as possible. We as their loved ones should remind the Senior that the choice to retire from driving is a serious matter, very often being a matter of life and death. Studies show that senior citizens driving have the highest fatality rate in car accidents. This fact is attributed to not only the severity of the crashes but also to the frailty that results as we age that makes it much more difficult to recover from the physical trauma of an auto accident.
As we age, several factors change that make it necessary to evaluate not only our driving skills but also our mental and physical abilities.
- Mental: our ability to make split second decisions, judgment, and instant complex problem-solving, memory, and ability to plan alternatives such as detours, etc. diminishes as we age.
- Physical: our strength and flexibility, our ability to move fluidly to control the gas and brake, to turn our head and neck to monitor traffic and back up and park safely becomes less effective as we get older.
- Visual: our ability to read street signs and traffic signals, anticipate the actions of other drivers, our peripheral vision to see traffic coming from the side or what’s around when turning or changing lanes definitely gets worse as we age.
- Reaction time: our ability to make quick changes in the flow of traffic, or react to unexpected actions of animals or small children slows down as we get older.
A good way to approach the subject with your loved one about retiring from driving is to let them know that the most important thing is and has always been their safety and their freedom. By mapping out an alternate plan to help them remain independent and mobile by using a reputable company like CareBuilders at Home to take your loved one to the Dr’s office, grocery store, beauty shop, church, or other social activities you can ease the sting of taking away what many people feel is their ability to remain active. Our caregivers who are our employees, not contract service workers, can take you or your loved ones in your vehicle or in our caregiver’s car so that you don’t have to give up your independence. CareBuilders at Home’s caregivers have been drug tested and background checked, are CPR certified and TB tested, as well as tested on their caregiving skills. Please call our office at 979-258-6728 today to set up service for yourself or your loved one. We are here to serve you and keep you independent.