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Knowing When to Take the Keys from Elderly

By Debbie Waddell, 9:00 am on

For many seniors, giving up driving equates to giving up their independence and most seniors are reluctant to hand over the keys. Unfortunately, there comes a time when driving becomes too risky, not just for them but also for those sharing the road. Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care in Placer County, lists several signs indicating it’s probably time to take away keys.

Forgetfulness
Not all seniors that forget tasks or responsibilities suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. As we age, it’s natural for less oxygen to go to the brain, making us forget simple tasks or appointments. Although, forgetting familiar routes while driving, basic auto functions, general traffic rules, or the inability to make sudden decisions behind the wheel could be a sign your senior loved one is no longer capable of operating a vehicle.

Lack of Stability
As we age, stability can become an issue. If a senior seems unstable at times, like having trouble navigating around the home, holding items, or has great difficulty reaching for things, it could impair their ability to turn, stop, react, or brake while driving. Even simple driving tasks can become taxing if a senior is unsteady.

Vision Impairment
If a senior has a hard time reading or seeing things, with or without glasses, it can be a sign of age-related degenerative eye problems. This can impair vision, depth perception, or simply make it hard or impossible to see signs and pedestrians from behind the wheel. Schedule an eye exam and discuss the results with your loved one’s optometrist.

Medication Side Effects
Whether your loved one takes one medication or ten, it’s important to review all medications he or she is taking and to speak with the physician about possible side effects or interactions. If your loved one takes medication that can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or affects mental acuity, he or she shouldn’t be operating a vehicle.

If you suspect your senior loved one is no longer capable of driving, don’t wait to have that tough conversation. It might also be time to consider in-home care for him or her. Home Care Assistance provides senior home care on an as needed or live-in basis, including compassionate Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in Placer County. Our caregivers are available 24/7, trained in our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, and we never require you to sign a long-term contract. For more information, call (916) 226-3737 to speak with a Care Manager about the services available in your area.

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