Being able to drive a car is seen as a sign of responsibility and independence, which is why many seniors don’t want to stop driving. According to a 2010 study by Dr. Amanda Adams, up to 76 percent of seniors with early dementia can still drive reasonably well. When dementia progresses, driving can become unsafe for seniors. If you notice your aging loved one exhibiting the following signs, it may be time to take away the car keys.
1. Being Involved in Car Accidents
Try to keep an eye out for new dents showing up on your loved one’s car. It may indicate he or she is bumping into things and either forgetting about it or not mentioning it. If your loved one has gotten into one or more car accidents lately, it’s probably a sign that his or her reflexes and driving skills are fading.
Driving may not be the only safety concern you have about your parent, so you may find extra peace of mind by hiring a professional at-home caregiver. Families looking for top-rated homecare providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
2. Getting Frequent Tickets
Statistics indicate people over the age of 70 who have had more than two tickets for speeding or other violations in the previous three years are most likely to get into serious car wrecks. It’s also a good indication that your loved one isn’t paying as much attention behind the wheel of the car and shouldn’t be driving.
3. GettingLost Often
Even if your loved one can still drive perfectly well, it’s not safe for him or her to be driving if he or she gets lost or confused. Though it doesn’t necessarily mean your loved one’s driving skills are failing, constantly getting lost is still problematic. When your loved one can’t remember where he or she is, it shows his or her ability to function independently is impaired.
Even if your loved one has to give up driving, he or she can still enjoy a high level of independence. Philadelphia home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
4. Avoiding Driving
The American Academy of Neurology reports seniors with dementia who drive less than 60 miles per week don’t drive safely. If your loved one is avoiding getting behind the wheel when it’s dark or raining, it could be a sign that he or she is aware of his or her limitations.
5.Having Road Rage
Even if dementia hasn’t impaired your loved one’s driving skills, it can cause detrimental personality changes. Increased irritability can encourage seniors to succumb to road rage and get into dangerous arguments while driving.
6. Experiencing Cognitive Changes
Driving requires seniors to be able to make quick decisions when there are changes in road conditions due to things such as inclement weather or construction zones. Your loved one may also need to have the ability to plan a route to his or her destination or follow instructions from a GPS device. Seniors who experience changes in cognitive abilities, such as those associated with dementia, may not have the ability to make safe decisions when they’re driving.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it may be time for him or her to give up driving. Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Philadelphia families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. If you need professional home care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (215) 645-4663.