More Than Four Wheels

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A few weeks ago, we introduced our Let's Talk About Driving program to address an issue that is often very difficult – but necessary – for older adults and their families: when to stop or limit driving.

Today, we would like to bring your attention to some common warning signs that it may be time to start having tough conversations about driving.

  • Dings and dents: If a senior's car begins to show signs of body damage, beyond what's normal, or the explanations for these incidents seem strange or unlikely, you probably have good reason for concern.
  • Limited movement: Chronic pain, stiffness and arthritis can limit one's ability to look around or turn the wheel as effectively as someone who doesn't suffer from these issues.
  • Confusing gas and brake pedals: If you're driving with an older person, try to pay attention to sudden surges, screeches and lurches.
  • Road rage: Pain and frustration may manifest itself in irritation with other drivers.
  • Left turns that just aren't right: According to driving expert Elin Schold Davis, many accidents involving seniors occur where there is an unprotected left turn (no turning arrow). An unsafe left turn could lead to a serious crash and life-changing injuries.
  • Swerving and meandering: An inability to stay in one's lane isn't just the affliction of those who text while driving. Fatigue or vision problems in older adults may be the culprit.
  • Delayed reactions and responses: Whether it's a physical problem, a cognitive one, or even something temporary due to medication, if reactions and responses are delayed, it is dangerous for the driver to be on the road.
  • Tortoise and hare driving: One minute, it's the little old lady from Pasadena, the next, it's like you're in a parked car. And, oh, the speed limit is 45 mph.
  • Riding the brake: This shows uncertainty or lack of confidence.

If you know an older adult who is experiencing these issues, you may want to start by scheduling an independent evaluation at the DMV. From there, our Let's Talk About Driving program has lots of useful conversation starters and resources to help get the ball rolling. If you know a senior who has stopped or limited their driving, our professional CAREGivers are a great option for getting them to their appointments and around town.​

For more information about ensuring older adults are able to age safely and successfully in place, please contact us!​


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