Driving: When is it Time to Stop?

By Eunice K. Neubauer, CSA

Elderly Senior Citizen Motor Vehicle Driving Information Twin Cities MNFor most Americans, the ability to get in a car and drive to where you need or want to go has been part of who they are all their life

Older adults in general are safe drivers. In 2013, MN reported that there were 30 percent less fatalities of those age 65 and older than in 1997.

However, as we age, decline is imminent and it’s important to be aware of what things are impacting the safety of your elderly loved one who’s still driving. Some of the concerns:

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Reaction time due to cognitive decline
  • Physical decline due to arthritis, muscle strength
  • Dementia
  • Medical issues; some medication make it unsafe to drive

Experts say it’s best to have a conversation early. Pick a family member or friend or someone the person respects and trusts. Point out some facts about aging and safety and if there are specific things that are noticed with that person’s driving share that as well. When dementia is involved, consult your doctor, the Alz.org resources and consider a road test through the Courage Center. In 2015 Mobility for Minnesota’s Aging Population MMAP in partnership with AAA published A Roadmap for Driving Later in Life to help older drivers continue to drive safe.

In my experience working with older adults, women are often more willing to give up the keys in their elder years. Why is that? If you have any perspective on that add your comments on my Facebook page www.faceboook.com/ChoiceConnectionsTwinCitiesSouth

Giving up the keys for a lot of seniors is when they consider a move to a senior community where they have access to transportation. If you or someone you know is considering giving up the keys in the future, have them connect with Choice Connections. We’ll help them figure out the best senior living option. Getting started early is a wise thing to do.

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