How Aging Affects A Senior’s Driving – Why It May Be Time to Stop

Valuable Advice from Our Experienced Retirement Community Team

Senior Male Driver Standing Outside His Car with Door OpenIrrespective of how long you have been driving, there may come a time for seniors to hand over their car keys. Age reduces our ability to do many things, and driving is one of them. As individuals age differently, there is no prescribed age at which one must stop driving. However, research shows that fatal crash rates increase after the age of 70. Decreased vision, impaired hearing, slowing motor reflexes and failing health are some of the main reasons for this. Knowing the right time to stop driving is critical to preventing fatalities. The experienced team at our retirement community highlights the telltale signs.

When is it Time to Stop Driving?

  • There is persistent pain or stiffness and also limited mobility in your neck: This makes it harder to look over your shoulder when changing lanes and when looking left and right at intersections to check for traffic and pedestrians.
  • Leg pain, cramps & limited mobility: This can affect moving your foot from the gas pedal to the brakes and cause a serious accident.
  • Diminished arm strength: This can make it challenging to turn the steering wheel easily.
  • Reduced reaction time: It can become difficult to divide your attention between the multiple activities necessary for safe driving such as…
    • Spotting vehicles emerging from side streets and driveways
    • Realizing that the vehicle in front of you has slowed or stopped
    • Keeping track of road signs, signals, markings as well as all the other traffic and pedestrians.
  • Close calls: Near misses lead to accidents. Several close calls, fender-benders or especially heavily dented or scratched front and rear bumpers from multiple incidents are a clear sign that you or an aging loved one should stop driving.
  • Frequently getting lost in familiar places: This is a sign of cognitive decline and that your elderly parent or relative should not drive anymore.
  • Changes in mood: When seniors frequently exhibit signs of nervousness, confusion, agitation and road age when driving, it is no longer safe for them to do so.

Senior Citizen Woman Driving a CarConvincing a senior to stop driving is not easy as they may feel humiliated and ashamed that they can no longer do it. One of the biggest fears associated with not driving is that they will lose their independence. Be prepared for resistance and to have several conversations. Pick a quiet time of day to have the talk and make it a point to listen to what they have to say. However, you must be firm that driving must stop because it has become a matter of life and death for your loved one as well as others on the road.

Living in a retirement community can make it easier to get around without having to drive. At The Holiday Retirement independent and assisted living communities as well as our nursing home in Rhode Island, residents can take advantage of entertainment trips to fulfill their needs. We have a full range of services and amenities with customized care plans to help your loved one lead an active and fulfilled life.

Contact The Holiday Retirement at 860-233-8208 for more information on our communities in Rhode Island and West Hartford, Connecticut or fill out our online form to book a tour.

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