We all want to give our loved ones as much independence as we possibly can, but sometimes you need to make a hard choice and decide when the seniors in your life need your help staying safe. If you’re curious about when senior citizen drivers can safely hit the road and when it’s time to have someone do their driving for them, we’ll walk you through these situations today at the 1Heart Caregiver blog.
1. Cognitive Decline
One of the easiest ways to tell if your senior is no longer fit for the road is when you see their mental faculties noticeably start to go downhill. It’s normal for elderly people to have their memories get a bit fuzzier as they age, but if they suddenly start forgetting directions home, why they left the house in the first place, or other significant memory gaps, it may be time for your senior citizen drivers to become senior citizen passengers from now on. A caregiver who’s trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care will be able to spot the warning signs, and be a valuable help for elderly driving safety fundamentals.
2. Physical Inabilities
Of course, one of the hallmarks of old age is the decline of a person’s physical capabilities as well as their mental ones. Your elders might be fit as a fiddle mentally, but if they’re prone to shakiness, have heart problems that might act up in a stressful traffic situation, suffer from seizures, or have other physical issues that would make them a liability, your senior citizen drivers might have to stay off the road for the good of themselves and others. You should schedule times where you can help drive them around to get their errands done, and if there isn’t time in your day then a professional home caregiver or helper will likely be the best solution.
3. Trust Your Gut…
The hardest part of knowing when it’s time to take the keys away is when it may not just be any one symptom that the senior citizen drivers in your life are showing. Maybe they have a very small amount of every problem listed, or, on the opposite end, only one major inability. Perhaps they’re forgetting major events in their daily life but still remember their way around town, for example. You may sometimes have to make a tough call if your gut says something bad might happen the next time they take the wheel, because while a conversation about giving up driving might be awkward and uncomfortable, elderly driving safety should always come before any other concern.
4. …But Don’t Push It
With that said, it’s important to realize that senior citizen drivers are still adults with minds and a will of their own, and unless they present an immediate danger to other motorists they can still make their own decisions. There are plenty of ways the elderly can still live rich, full lives even after their peak years have concluded, and you never want to come off as pushy or condescending when it comes to what you think may be best for them. Striking a balance between thinking about the safety of senior citizen drivers and respecting their independence is key, and you always want to be cognizant of when you may be crossing that line.
Learn Everything You Need with 1Heart Caregiver Services
It’s never easy to know when your loved ones may have to give up the keys for good, but with the help of 1Heart it can be a little less difficult. Our compassionate staff of all-star caregivers are skilled at knowing when senior citizen drivers may no longer be fit for the road, and helping them get around and live their best lives in every way they can. At 1Heart we know that every obstacle has a solution, and when it comes to elderly driving safety those solutions will always be paramount.
Leave a comment telling us about your own experience with helping the elderly get up from behind the wheel, or get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about hiring one of our caregivers for your household. Whether the senior citizen drivers in your life need a chauffeur or just someone to help them move the groceries out of the trunk, you can find exactly the helper you need when you sign up with 1Heart Caregiver Services today.