Elderly individuals may be at a higher risk of being involved in a serious accident. It is more important than ever to consider how to keep your loved ones safe on the road and determining that they have enough capability to drive, particularly since Memorial Day has passed and this begins the 100 deadliest days of the year in which more people suffer fatal injuries in car accidents than at any other time.
Going home for the weekend may also present an opportunity to evaluate a loved one who may no longer be capable of driving safely. Staying alert and engaging your defensive driving skills can make a difference between spending time at parties and cook outs or spending the evening in the emergency room or even worse. As your parent gets older, it’s natural to be concerned about his or her ability to operate a vehicle safely. Even a healthy older adult may struggle slightly with reaction time or vision and these can increase the chances of an accident significantly.
There is a clear connection between older driver crash involvement and previous injuries they have sustained. For example, according to research published in the American Geriatric Society, older individuals who have fallen two or more times in the last year may be at higher risk of being involved in a car crash. A history of frequent falling could indicate that your elderly loved one may be at a higher risk of being involved in an accident or causing one.
Exercise can help with range emotions, flexibility, strength, coordination and balance. A significant decline in memory may be the indication that your loved one may be suffering from critical problems that could impair their driving ability. Ultimately deciding whether or not your elderly loved one is safe to get behind the wheel will become a personal decision and one that you probably discuss with other family members. Having clear expectations and noticing a decline in their ability to make good judgments or to operate a vehicle safely are clear indications that it may be time to discuss alternative options.