Should Your Aging Loved One Be Driving?

This is never a pleasant conversation to have with a loved one, but there might come a time when you have to address the issue of whether or not your aging parent or spouse should be driving.  Here are a few signs to be on the lookout for according to

  1. Ignores or misses stop signs and traffic signals
  2. Gets easily confused in traffic
  3. Brakes or stops abruptly without cause
  4. Is increasingly nervous when driving
  5. Drives at significantly slower than the posted speed or general speed of other vehicles
  6. Gets lost or disoriented easily, even in familiar places
  7. Fails to use the turn signal, or keeps the signal on without changing lanes
  8. Increased “close calls” and “near misses”
  9. Has been issued two or more traffic tickets or warnings in the past two years
  10. Dents and scrapes on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, and curbs

Taking away someone’s driver’s license, even if it is for their own safety and the safety of others, is always a decision fraught with guilt and hesitation.  The elderly person associates driving with independence, and suddenly having to rely on others for transportation can cause them to become angry or depressed.  As a way to soften the blow of losing their driving independence, let them know that you will be available on certain days/times to drive them places.  Consider using an outside agency (ITN Charleston is a great local option) to provide transportation on a regular basis, or check and see if the caregiving agency you are using offers transportation services.