To Drive or Not to Drive

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To drive or not to drive - that is the question​​

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This age old adage can be applied to many things we do on a daily basis. What do we do when our aging loved one insists on driving and won't relinquish their keys? How do we know when our aging loved ones driving has become dangerous and how can we as family members step in and help.


First I'd like you to think for a second about how the senior citizen may feel about having his or her car keys taken away. If you're the grown child who is asking mom or dad to hand over the keys, imagine what mom or dad thinks. To them, it probably doesn't feel that long ago when they were hesitantly handing you the car keys to the car they worked so hard for. Allowing you to take the car to the drive-in with friends, or on a date. They raised you, they watched you marry, buy your first house, have your first child.


Now as they age, they are loosing the ability to do the activities they have been doing most of their lives. They are loosing the ability to have control.


It is not hard to imagine how we would feel if suddenly we were dependent on other people for many of the things that we have done on our own for years. Seniors who were surveyed about the emotional impact of loosing their ability to drive have expressed frustration (38%), helplessness (28%) and depression (26%).

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​Below are 10 warning signs that seniors may be unsafe on the road.


1. Mysterious dents

     If an older adult can't seem to explain that dent or you notice multiple instances of damage, further investigation may be needed.


2. Trouble turning to see when backing up

     The issues of aging could compromise mobility and, in turn, certain important movements needed to drive safely, like looking over the shoulder.


3. Confusing the gas and brake pedals

     If a senior is getting confused about how his vehicle operates, it could be time to give up the car keys.


4. Increase irritation and agitation when driving

     Poor health and chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis can trigger increased agitation.


5. Bad calls on left-hand turns

     Turning left can be tricky and dangerous for older adults who may have experiences a decline in cognitive abilities.


6. Parking gone awry

     Difficulty parking, including parallel parking could cause damage to an older adult's vehicle as well as those vehicles around it.


7. Difficulty staying within the lanes

     It could be a sign that fatigue or vision problems are making it difficult to stay the course.


8. Delayed reaction and response time

     Safe driving depends on quick reaction times, issues of aging can slow those response times.


9. Driving the wrong speed

     Driving too fast or too slowly are indicators that a driver's judgement may be impaired.


10. Riding the brake

     Riding the brake could be a sign that a driver no longer has the confidence in his or her skills.


So ... what can you do?


Try a family meeting - talk to mom and or dad about your concerns. This sounds like a daunting task and 1/5 of those surveyed reported it was a challenging and emotional, nearly six out of 10 (59%) say the conversation went well and was agreeable.


Check out the Safe Driving Planner at LetsTalkAboutDriving.com for additional resources for drivers and non-drivers


If you are seeking help with a senior in your life that can no longer drive, give us a call here at Home Instead Fresno - 559.243.1224. We would love to help you.




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