One of the hard truths of life is that safe driving becomes increasingly harder as people grow older. When hearing, vision, cognitive functioning and even memory start to decline, reaction times can slow and evasive action might not come so easily. Fortunately, aging adults and their loved ones can take several simple steps recommended by North Houston elder care providers to ensure summer road safety.
1. Sign Up for a Refresher Driving Course
This is one of the best ways for aging adults to assess whether or not they’re still capable of managing the challenges of the road. These classes provide several hours of behind-the-wheel instruction that takes seniors through residential neighborhoods and onto the freeway while testing and reviewing a number of basic driving skills. Best of all, some seniors may be able to earn significant discounts on their auto insurance premiums when enrolling in classes that are recognized and approved by both the Department of Motor Vehicles and their own insurance companies.
2. Get Hearing and Eye Exams
Being able to see and hear everything that is going on around the vehicle is a critical part of safe driving. Aging adults should receive comprehensive vision and hearing exams at least once a year. If hearing and vision issues do come up, seniors should have the approval of their doctors and the required assistive devices before getting back on the road.
3. Take the Car in for a Tune-Up
Seniors tend to drive a whole lot less than most, which can lead to erratic or irregular vehicle maintenance schedules. Although cars are subjected to far less wear and tear when they remain parked the majority of the time, it is still important to have them serviced regularly. Having the tires rotated and worn brake pads changed out will allow for excellent traction and reasonable stopping distances. Moreover, with regular attention from a licensed mechanic, it is usually possible to identify small problems and handle them cheaply, before these have a chance to spiral out of control. This can mean less money spent on vehicle maintenance overall and lesser likelihood of being stranded by the side of the road.
4. Plan Trips Carefully
Aging adults should limit their driving to times when weather conditions are fair and when fewer people are likely to be out on the road. Taking a short trip during rush hour on an extremely rainy day is rarely worthwhile. Seniors also have to account for the possibility of being caught in a traffic jam on excessively hot days. Cool, temperate weather and relatively empty roads are ideal for traveling.
5. Do a Prescription Check
As medication plans change, seniors should always review the side effects of their new pills and reassess the benefits of driving. Medications that cause grogginess, sleepiness or any other changes in focusing abilities and awareness generally warrant a break from driving. When in doubt, seniors can always ask their pharmacists or doctors whether or not driving is still safe.
If your senior loved one is no longer fit to drive, consider part-time home care in North Houston. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers can offer help for as little as four hours a day and ensure your loved one has safe transportation to appointments and errands, help around the house, and regular companionship. To learn more about our care services, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care in North Houston, give us a call at 832-412-1345 and schedule a free in-home consultation.