Aging and Driving

Aging and Driving

Aging ad DrivingAging and Driving

As we age, our bodies likely will not run as efficiently as in the past. This fact has implications for many aging individuals. If you have parents or loved ones who are getting older, then you have to consider the potential impact that their age has on their ability to drive.

Not every aging person will have difficulty driving, but it is very common for individuals to experience age-related physical and mental decline. Illnesses or ailments can also influence your loved one’s ability to drive a car safely.

Believe it or not, driving is a very complicated task although we may perform it with such ease every single day. Good driving involves an awareness of surroundings, spatial judgment, quick reaction times, muscular mobility, and overall alertness.

Driving and Age Related Warning Signs

Getting older can make one more prone to errors which can lead to serious car-related injuries or even death. Such age-related health concerns include:

  • Reduced hearing and vision
  • Arthritis and declines in physical strength
  • Deceased physical mobility
  • Slower reaction time and reflexes
  • Cognitive impairments like reduced judgment or more severe disorders like dementia
  • Medications that may affect mood, alertness, or energy levels[1]

What to Do

The best way to help prevent any health-related problem is to take good care of your body by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and regularly visiting the doctor. If you notice your loved one is having difficulty driving, then it may be worthwhile to see a doctor. A doctor can help determine whether or not there are any particular health problems worth considering before driving. Such visits are recommended yearly to stay on top of any developing problems in order to avoid harm.

Additionally, you should ensure that your loved one is planning ahead and following safe practices when they drive. Older drivers should be sure to:

  • Know where to go and what road to take before leaving the house
  • Only drive on well-lit roads that are familiar
  • Keep enough distance from other cars
  • Minimize distractions while driving
  • Be sure to wear a seat belt[2]

Alternatively, your loved one could try to use public transportation which could be a more efficient and safer way to travel. If you or your loved one have the resources, you could even hire a caregiver to drive assuming they are licensed and that they also practice safe driving.

If you have any additional questions concerning aging and driving or if you want to know more about the services ElderCare at Home provides, then please call 800-285-0093 or visit our website.

[1] Source: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/older-drivers
[2] Source: http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/older_adult_drivers/