Helping The Elderly Drive
Getting older has different meaning to different people, some look forward to it and other avoid it all together there is something that we cannot simply wish away, that is that as we age our body functions at a slower pace and therefore it affects all we do. In this article we want to touch upon a very important concept and that is our aging populations. The baby boomers from WWII are right around the corner to becoming part of this growing demographic.
There are signs that we can look out for in ourselves and in our loved ones. The goal here is to provide some very needed understanding of a possible situation and the best way to prepare for aging. Like the tick tock of time, time passing is the only inevitable thing we have to look forward. The only thing we can count on, so lets make it as graceful and as safe as possible.
Most states do not require you to stop driving at a specific age as everyone is different and totally unique, thus individual aging must be unique as well. In Texas if you are 101 and can function at average response times can see sufficiently well and are of able mind and body, then by all means drive away.
We will list the signs to look out for to see if you or someone you love might be a danger or to others behind the wheel. When we age what happens is that we lose strength, flexibility and coordination.
If you have any sharp pains in your legs can cause you to slam on the gas or the brakes unwillingly. Your reaction time diminishes, if you have a stick neck or back it could make it hard to look around and be fully aware of what is going on. There is a lot going on when one drives, signs, lights, pedestrians, other cars, motorcycles, bicycles, trains, busses, not to mention where we are going that can be overwhelming.
When we drive we do so consciously obeying all of the traffic laws and norms, however as we age some factors are merely out of our control and therefore we might need to be flexible as to our way of doing things.
If you are part of this demographic or know someone who is, we suggest the following preventative steps to ensure that everything is I’m order and anything that might need to be fixed such as updating a prescription for glasses is done.
Getting enough sleep believe it or not can be a huge factor in how well you drive. A driver young or old who is tired has slower reaction time if any at all. All of their energy is going to staying awake, not seeing what is going on around them. This is not much different than driving impaired. Get your eyes and ears checked, make sure that you can get the most out of these important sense.
Also talk to your doctor, let them know if you are feeling less confident when behind the wheel, all of these things will ensure not only your safety but those who are sharing the road with you. In subsequent articles we will detail this issue of aging and driving a little more in depth.