Posts Tagged ‘elderly driving’

Is It Still Safe for Your Elderly Loved One to Drive?

Driving gives people a sense of independence and freedom. Having the ability to run out to the store, drive to appointments or meet friends or family on a whim is something many of us with a driver’s license takes for granted. Sadly, there may come a time when it is no longer safe for an aging person to drive. Poor eyesight, mental decline or confusion, side effects from medications, slower reflexes–any of these conditions can make driving hazardous to both the driver and other people on the road. It is never easy to talk to a loved one about their declining health or their ability to drive, but it is important to have a conversation if you have reason to believe they might not be in a position to drive safely anymore. If they talk about getting lost, start getting parking or driving tickets or if their car shows signs of damage, it may be time for your loved one to hand over the keys. Involving their doctor in the conversation can help take the pressure off of you being “the bad guy.”

Fortunately there are organizations that can help your loved one retain some independence. The Independent Transportation Network offers rides to those in need for a small fee. These can be scheduled on the fly or prearranged. Volunteer drivers donate their time to help your loved one stay safe and get to where they need to be. Click here to learn more about Charleston’s ITN network.

What is a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist?

Driving Car

Are you worried that mom and dad are getting less safe behind the wheel as they age? Or has a disease or disability limited your loved one’s ability to drive? Here’s where a certified driver rehabilitation specialist can help. According to the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, driver rehab specialists “work with people of all ages and abilities, exploring alternative transportation solutions for drivers with special needs,” which includes “helping older drivers and their families master the challenges of diminishing driving skills.” These programs are a great way for individuals who are worried about their elderly parents on the road to have an independent third party help with the decision to take away the car keys (or perhaps put their minds at ease). Using a specialist can remove some of the guilt and blame from this difficult conversation, as they are qualified to assess a person’s capabilities while behind the wheel. The Rehabilitation Hospital at Roper St. Francis offers a Driving Assessment Program. In addition, The Georgetown Hospital System’s NextStep Hand Therapy and Specialty Center offers driving rehabilitation services and functional capacity assessments.

Once the decision to stop driving is made, an in-home senior care company like Home Care Plus can help provide transportation for your loved one to their appointments, social engagements, shopping and other errands. Give us a call today—we are here to help!

For more information on Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, visit the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists’ website.