Did you know that as of 2015, there were over 40 million licensed senior drivers over the age of 65 on the road? This number represents an increase of 50% from the year 1999. Driving is something that fosters independence in all of us and this is certainly true for older adults as driving affords them the opportunity to get out and take care of things on their own. Driving gives seniors the freedom to attend to their personal needs and continue being social outside of the home. However, as our age increases, so does the risk of auto accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers between the ages of 70 and 74 have an increased risk of involvement in fatal crashes due mostly in part to their risk for injury. Cognitive and visual impairments also play a role in this statistic. Driving is risky at any age but the truth is that for some senior drivers it is time to hang up the keys. Champion Home Health Care offers seniors in Brevard County the opportunity to reside longer in their own homes with a wide array of home health care solutions in Melbourne, FL. We know that driving is an important topic that needs to be handled with sensitivity and care. Let’s look at some signs that it may be time to consider letting go of driving for good.
Visual impairments can impede your ability to drive. To make sure that your eyesight is well enough to operate a motor vehicle, be sure to have yearly vision checkups. Your doctor will alert you to any changes with your eyes and give you tips on improving your vision. If you wear glasses, make sure your prescription is up to date as well. If you struggle with night time vision, it may be that you need to quit driving at night.
Do you struggle with hearing loss? If so, you will need to be extra cautious on the road. Be sure to have your hearing checked on a regular basis and eliminate excess noise in your car so that you can pay attention to the road. If you think you may have a hearing issue, speak with your doctor and find out.
Changes in mobility can affect your ability to drive as well. Stiff muscles and achy joints may make the act of driving uncomfortable and cause you to have slower reaction times as well. This makes physical activity and stretching incredibly important. Something else to consider is forgoing manual transmissions in favor of automatics according to the National Institute on Aging. Do what you need to do in order to make driving your vehicle safer for you and those around you.
If you wonder whether or not you may need to think about quitting driving, ask yourself questions such as the following:
- Do I frequently get lost?
- Am I surprised by pedestrians or other vehicles?
- Do other drivers honk at me often?
- Do I worry about my ability to drive in the correct lane?
- Have others around me expressed concern about my driving abilities?
Letting go of driving is a hard decision to make. It represents the loss of independence that some seniors are simply not ready to let go of. If you think it may be time, reach out to those around you and ask for advice. Seek wise counsel and know that you are not less of a person because you do not drive anymore.