Do you remember that feeling as a teen when you first climbed behind the steering wheel, experiencing the excitement of being in a position to go anywhere you wanted? The freedom that having the ability to drive grants us is beyond compare! Nevertheless, as we grow older, a number of factors may come into play that impact our capacity to safely continue to drive, including:
- Vision or hearing problems
- Weakened/stiffened muscles and joints
- Slowed down reflexes and reaction time
- Medication side effects
- Dementia as well as other chronic health issues
For older adults who wish to continue to stay in the driver’s seat, these driving tips for seniors can help.
- First off, visit the doctor for a comprehensive physical to make sure that any of the issues above are taken care of and remedied, and also to get his/her agreement that driving remains a safe option. Then stick to a schedule of ongoing checkups, including vision and hearing exams.
- The doctor may also recommend a fitness regimen to increase physical health, including flexibility and muscle strength which are typically required for the tasks fundamental in driving (turning to check over your shoulder, twisting the steering wheel, pressing the gas and brake pedals, etc.).
- Review all medications being taken and their potential side effects, and modify driving times appropriately. For example, if a bedtime prescription causes sleepiness for an estimated 12 hours, be sure to restrict driving to times when the medication is no longer in your body.
- Consider what kind of vehicle might be safest and most comfortable. A plethora of technological gadgets might cause more frustration and distraction than comfort and ease for some seniors. For some, a smaller car is easiest to maneuver, while others may have a preference for something larger and sturdier.
- Pay attention to weather and road conditions. Driving at night, particularly if it’s raining, is often especially difficult for seniors with underlying visual changes.
- Look into a senior driving refresher course, which will not only provide useful information specific to senior drivers, but often also provides a discounted rate on automobile insurance when completed.
Remember as well that there’s always an additional option to sustain independence and freedom: partnering with Live Free Home Health Care, a provider of home care in Belmont and nearby areas, for safe, reliable, transportation services. Our highly trained caregivers are available in accordance with each older adult’s preferred destinations and routines, whether that involves religious services each weekend, Monday afternoon hair appointments, Saturday lunch dates with friends, or even an extended vacation.
Our goal is not to take control, but to make available the support necessary to empower the elderly to continue to direct the course of their own lives, and also to enjoy living life the way they choose. Email or call us at 603-217-0149 to ask about a no cost in-home assessment for more information on our transportation services and top-rated home care in Belmont and surrounding communities today! To find out more about our full service area throughout New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, please visit this page.