Just yesterday, a news story broke about a 92-year-old man who hit nine cars during his attempt to leave a parking lot. In Wisconsin, where this event took place, the DMV renews driver’s licenses every eight years. The difference between someone who is 84 and 92 is fairly significant, so it’s up to the family and the caregivers to help keep an eye on those seniors who are still driving, not only in Wisconsin, but everywhere.
If you are concerned that your senior is a danger to themselves or to others, that is enough to at least start talking to them about the issue. If they are willing to listen, great! First thing to talk about is if there is a reason for the changes in their driving. Age alone is not an indicator; it’s all about how they are doing. Are they on a medication that makes them drowsy or otherwise impaired? Are they currently ill and sickness may be affecting their driving? Are they seeing okay? Has their depth-perception changed? Are their driving issues caused by slower reaction times? Is that just because of aging or is there a different reason?
If you’re only just starting to be concerned, you can look into other areas to see if your concerns are valid. Is the auto insurance rate for your senior going up? Have they received any traffic tickets? Are there any new nicks or dents on the car?
If none of these issues have come up yet, now is still a great time to have a discussion. Talk to them about what their plan would be if they did stop driving in the next few months or year. Get them thinking about the idea and the alternative plans it would involve. The future is less threatening than the present.
Look for another article next week about what you can do if your senior is not willing to talk about the idea of stopping driving. And be sure to leave a comment if you have any experience with this issue!