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Elder Care Services in Philadelphia – When Should Elderly Drivers Stop Driving?

Elder Care Services in PhiladelphiaWhen you are providing elder care services to a loved one in Philadelphia you know that you have to be on the lookout for warning signs that they are losing the ability to keep themselves safe. Unfortunately, some of the biggest warning signs of all may happen when you are absent:  when your elderly loved one is behind the wheel of a car.

No set age at which an elderly person should have their car keys taken away exists. Everyone ages differently, and that includes differences in how well they retain their faculties. However, sooner or later, nearly all older people will hit a point where driving has become unsafe.

Recognizing this turning point and acting responsibly will protect them as well as protecting anyone else on the road with them.

What to Do if An Elderly Loved One Is Becoming Too Impaired to Drive

1. Drive along with them

You need firsthand observation of how your elderly driver behaves behind the wheel. Find an excuse to ride along with them on an errand, with them driving.  Be aware: some older people may already know they are becoming unfit to drive and will try very hard to prevent you from observing them. This, unfortunately, is a bad sign by itself.

2. Be aware of major signs of impairment 

Chances are, the ride along will give you a clear indication of their driving skill.  Basically, just ask yourself: Do you feel safe?

Beyond your gut feeling, major signs they are becoming impaired will include:

  • Missing visual cues, like failing to stop for stop signs or stopping for green lights
  • Difficulty staying in the lane
  • Becoming distracted easily
  • Bumping curbs or other objects
  • Failure to use turn signals or headlights
  • Failure to put the vehicle into the correct gear
  • Difficulty merging into traffic

3. Be gentle but firm when broaching the subject

Always remember that, for most seniors, driving is extremely important to them.  Loss of elderly driving privileges will be seen as a loss of independence.  Try to use a soft touch and be as sympathetic to their emotions as possible.

Senior Care Services in Philadelphia Can Help

A driving service can help a senior regain some measure of independence. Set up a regular weekly transportation session for them to run errands, go to appointments, or meet with friends. Drivers trained in working with the elderly can make this weekly appointment a very positive experience for them. Contact Neighborly Home Care to learn more.

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I just wanted to tell you how grateful we are that Neighborly Home Care stepped in & took over taking care of my Dad when we really needed it, no questions asked. Our caregiver has become part of the family and we know we can depend on her being there every day & taking great care of my Dad. He misses her when she’s not there!

— Daughter of an NHC Client