TINA Y. GERBER Special to the Standard
I think we all can agree that everyone needs reasonable physical capabilities to operate a vehicle, this includes good vision, hearing, and being able to react to the environment around you. So how do we keep roads safe and keep seniors on the road longer?
It can be challenging, when discussing with an older family member that it is time to consider giving up driving. Many older adults feel that taking away their ability to drive is taking away their independence. Yet, at a certain point, it becomes critical, both for their safety and the safety of the public.
I read, there is a direct correlation between driving skills and medications in the body. Many drugs prescribed for seniors can impair driving skills, over the counter medications can have the same effect, but with alcohol either can be lethal!
When discussing this topic with a senior you care for, be gentle and understanding, but also be firm and clear. Allow plenty of time to have a conversation, or several with your loved one. My Mother had a fender bender, early one foggy morning, and the young person involved told Mother it was her fault! She thought, because it was foggy, perhaps she shouldn't have been driving?
Regardless, he demanded money; cash for his damaged vehicle. Mother was so afraid she did not tell us immediately, and handed him the $1000.00 dollars. When she finally told us, we wanted a copy of the, so called, estimate but he was long gone. At this point Mother was 79 and voluntarily stopped driving.
We needed to find an alternate method for driving, and Mother ended up purchasing a motor scooter, so she could buzz around town, visit her doctor, and get groceries.
When the time came, she understood it was necessary and, she allowed us to chauffer her around.
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