How to Know When It’s Time to Take a Senior Citizen’s Keys
One of the most stressful and difficult decisions that a family has to make is knowing when it is time to take the keys away from a senior citizen relative. Most seniors will fight tooth and nail to retain their driving privileges because many view the loss of their cars as also the loss of their freedom. Without a car, senior citizens must rely on others to help them do just about everything, including chores, going to the doctors and visiting friends.
If you are currently wrestling with this decision, you probably know how upset a senior citizen can become when others suggest they should stop driving. Yet, you also know that not stopping a senior citizen from driving could lead to a serious accident, injuries and even the death of the senior or others.
In some instances, your senior citizen may be able to continue driving on a limited basis. If, for example, he is only having trouble seeing at night, you can talk to the senior about limiting all of his driving activity to the daytime.
Unfortunately, if the senior citizen you know is exhibiting any of the following problems, you may have to gently, but firmly take the keys away and prohibit him from driving ever again.
Trouble Seeing and Hearing
Seniors often develop medical conditions that can adversely affect their vision, such as glaucoma or cataracts. However, some seniors are reluctant to admit that they are having trouble seeing. If you notice that a family member is in denial about the trouble they are having seeing, then you must step in and ask that they have their vision tested.
While being able to hear clearly is not as critical as seeing, it is still very important. Seniors with hearing difficulties won’t be able to hear sirens or honking horns that could alert them to potential trouble.
Senior relatives who are having trouble remembering things or seem to be suffering signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia should definitely be seen by a doctor. Sadly, there have been too many stories on the news about seniors who have confused the gas and the brake pedal or who have driven down the wrong side of the road and either severely injured or killed innocent bystanders or themselves.
Seniors who must take strong painkillers or other drugs that could impair their ability to drive or see should not be allowed to operate a vehicle.
As senior citizens get older, they can potentially develop certain conditions that can hamper their ability to drive. For instance, some seniors have neck or back problems that can make it difficult for them to turn their heads sufficiently to see if there are cars are in their blind spots or to back out of parking spaces safely.
While it is never easy to tell a senior he or she can no longer drive, there are times that it must be done for their safety, as well as for everyone else out on the roads.
Jean Gregory is a blogger who writes for AskForInsurance.com – an insurance questions and answers website where you can learn about topics such as insurance terms and definitions.