In most cases, age creeps up on us gradually. One day we try to do something and realize we can’t. A few months later, we find that we can’t recall something that used to come to mind easily.
We may see an old picture of ourselves and realize our eyelids have gotten a bit droopy or there are a few wrinkles where our skin was once smooth. Because it is a rare instance that we go to bed young and wake up feeling old, age-related changes can be hard to notice until someone points them out.
For seniors, this can signify a loss of independence that is stressful. When cognitive and physical functions become impaired, minor issues can add up to major ones. It is not unusual for family members of seniors to express concern about their loved one’s continued driving. It may even be the senior themselves who expresses concern. When is it time to give up the keys? Here are some warning signs to look out for:
1. Failing Eyesight
There are some eye conditions that can affect driving more dramatically than others. When there is diminished peripheral vision or extra sensitivity to light, blurred vision or trouble seeing in the dark, it may be time to stop driving. A trip to the eye doctor is definitely in order, and that professional can give advice as to whether or not the condition present may negatively impact a person’s ability to drive safely.
2. Range of Motion
If you are of a certain age, you may wake up with a persistently stiff neck or back. You may find that you can’t turn your head as far as you once could or have difficulty raising your arms or moving your legs quickly. A decrease in range of motion or reflexes may mean that driving has become unsafe. You need to be able to move quickly in order to respond to emergency situations.
3. Problems with Memory
Driving takes more memory than people often think about. You need to know where you are going, which exits to take and which roads to travel down. If you find that you are frequently forgetting these things, it may be time to have a discussion with your physician. Memory is an important part of driving and when it is effected, so is the ability to operate a vehicle safely. Once a person notices the warning signs, they may still be hesitant to give up driving altogether, thinking that they will be housebound. The truth is that there are many alternatives to driving. Together with family members and loved ones, a senior can actually come up with several ways to get where they need to go.
The more alternatives available, the more likely a person is to be willing to give up their keys. Here are just a few of the ways that a non-driver can get around town.
1. Public Transportation
People who live in urban areas typically have access to public transportation. Seniors should check for options in their city.
2. Ride Sharing
Friends, neighbors and family members may be a source of ride sharing. The more people who are willing to drive a senior, the less of a burden it will be. Not, of course, that driving someone to and from appointments is a burden, but it can impact your own life and ability to do things if it is something that you must do on a consistent basis.
When a person needs to get somewhere, a taxi is always an option. This may not be the most economical choice if there are frequent needs for trips, but it can do in a pinch.
Again, in an urban area, a senior can typically walk where they need to go if they are physically able to do so. Motorized wheelchairs are another option for people that only need to make short trips around town.
Sites like Amazon and others make it easy to shop from home and have what you need delivered. This isn’t a transportation option to be sure, but it can greatly reduce the need to be driven to the store on a regular basis. Giving up the keys can be a difficult thing for seniors to do. It signifies a lack of independence and a sort of return to childhood. The thought of having to be taken care of by others can be stressful for the elderly.
Unfortunately, driving can be dangerous for some people and should be avoided, no matter how they feel about the subject. If you have been injured in a car accident in Miami or the surrounding area, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, property damage and more. Call our office today for more information about filing a claim and receiving what you are entitled to.