According to the National Institute on Aging, more than half a million seniors over the age of 70 give up their keys every year. More seniors than these should stop driving, but resist doing so. It can be a difficult situation for families of seniors to find themselves in when they think its time for their loved one to stop driving.
Seniors are known to be one of the most conscientious groups in our society. They are typically thoughtful and empathetic. Why, then, do so many insist on driving long after they should have given up the privilege? For most, the idea of giving up their driving privileges equates to a loss of independence. This is something that many seniors struggle with.
If you are wondering whether or not it is time for your loved one to give up their keys, here are some things to consider.
1. Do They Get Lost?
One of the first symptoms that seniors experience when cognitive function begins to wane is the inability to remember where they live or need to go. It is not uncommon for a senior to forget exactly which road they need to turn down or how many miles they have yet to travel.
2. Have They Been In Accidents?
Even minor fender benders can be a sign of something needing to be dealt with if they occur frequently. This is especially true of a senior who has a clean driving record and suddenly becomes involved in collisions on a seemingly regular basis.
3. Do Things Appear Out of Nowhere?
Listen to your senior as they describe their driving. Do they frequently mention things coming out of nowhere? For instance, your loved one may tell you that they almost got into an accident because a car was suddenly in their path. They may complain about pedestrians walking into the street from nowhere. This can be incredibly dangerous.
4. Have Others Expressed Concern About Their Driving?
Do other family member approach you about your senior loved one’s poor or declining driving skills? If this is starting to happen, take their concerns seriously. If you haven’t seen the evidence for yourself, take a ride with your loved one and judge for yourself.
5. Has Your Loved One Expressed Their Own Concerns?
Some seniors may decide to open up to their loved ones about concerns they have about their own driving abilities. As has been said, this group of people is typically very compassionate. They may be concerned about hurting others or causing property accidents.
When a senior’s driving skills are on the decline, it is time for a family member to step up and start the difficult conversation. Your loved one may be hesitant to give up their independence, but it could mean others on the road area s safe as they should be.
If you or a family member have been involved in an accident in Charlotte, reach out to our personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will advise you of your options and help you decide how to move forward.