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Discussing Unsafe Driving with a Senior

According to researchers, older adults, their doctors, and their family members together all avoid the conversation about senior driving safety, putting it off for as long as possible. Studies have found that physicians are usually the ones to bring up driving with their elderly patients, but usually only after significant events, like a change in health that massively affected driving, a safety concern reported by a family member, or an obvious red flag like a crash.

While losing one’s ability to drive is a massive, life-changing event, one that could possibly impact your loved one’s ability to care for themselves at home, driving beyond one’s capability to remain safe behind the wheel can have disastrous consequences not only for your loved one, but for the people in the community around them as well.

Do not wait to have the conversation with your loved one if you’ve noticed warning signs of unsafe driving. Trouble keeping in the lane, excessive nervousness or hesitation, speeds either too slow or too fast, sudden, unexpected stopping or acceleration, all of these are red flags that maybe it’s time to look for alternate methods of transportation.

Begin by researching alternate modes of transportation, so that your loved one will not have a loss of access to the world around them. Many cities have public transportation systems, and sometimes shuttle services and ride programs specifically for seniors. While many smaller towns and rural areas might not have the same infrastructure, perhaps other family members, friends, church members and the like can help out with rides.