As we head into the heart of winter, you may be concerned about how safe a senior loved one is behind the wheel of their car. It’s something older adults might fear too, but don’t often admit to family members. Because driving represents freedom to most people, the idea of hanging up the car keys permanently can be frightening. It’s a situation that often leads to disagreements between parents and their adult children.
That’s why the first week of December is designated as National Older Driver Safety Awareness Week each year. The week provides aging advocates an opportunity to spotlight this important issue and share resources to help seniors and adult children navigate this tough topic.
Driver Safety: More Than Just an Age Issue
The myths about senior drivers are numerous, but one of the most common is that once you reach a certain age, it’s automatically time to give up driving. In reality, older drivers cause fewer accidents than younger ones. That’s why you shouldn’t make age the deciding factor when it comes to encouraging an aging parent to stop driving. Some people in their eighties are better drivers than those who are much younger.
Sometimes staying safe while driving during one’s senior years might require investing in a more senior-friendly vehicle or installing adaptive devices, such as pedal extenders or a swivel seat. A good article to read and learn more is Adaptive Devices Can Ease the Drive, Ride for Seniors.
Resources to Evaluate a Senior’s Driving Skills
Objectivity is important when you are trying to determine if a senior loved one is a safe driver. Here are a few resources you will find useful for making that determination:
- Evaluate Your Driving Ability: Sponsored by AAA, this website has articles and tools to support older drivers. You’ll find it helpful for assessing a senior’s abilities, finding a driving safety program, and learning more about issues that impact driving as we age.
- Assessing Driving Ability: Another useful site is one created by AARP. Here you’ll find everything from tips for talking with a parent about driving to exercises for being a safer driver.
Should you and your senior loved one agree that it’s time to give up driving, it’s important to know about some alternative driving options for older adults. Especially if they don’t want to ask family and friends for a ride. Creating a list of transportation solutions can help a senior feel a greater sense of independence.
Ideas for Senior Transportation
Some ride sharing companies are making their services easier for older adults to utilize. Lyft, for example, is trying to cater to senior passengers. The app even allows riders to request a vehicle big enough to accommodate adults with mobility issues, such as those who require space to store a wheelchair or walker during the ride.
A local Agency on Aging office is another good place to turn to for help. Many of these agencies keep a list of transportation providers who are available for seniors. They range from retirees who volunteer for the agency to affordable van services.
Transportation Is Available at Sunrise Senior Living
One final suggestion is to consider if now is a good time to move to a senior living community. Most have a variety of in-house transportation services for residents to take advantage of. Residents can routinely utilize these to go to doctor’s appointments, shopping centers, movie theaters, banks, and more.
With communities throughout the United States and Canada, there’s likely a Sunrise Senior Living solution near you. Call (888) 434-4648 today to learn more!