You may have noticed your parent’s car wears a few more dents each time you go to visit. On your last outing together, you suggested they drive and found the brake wasn’t working on the passenger’s side and your parent was slow to switch lanes and had difficulty looking over their shoulder. You begin to wonder if it’s still safe for them to be driving.
Helping your Parent Drive Safely.
Physical changes alter a person’s ability to drive, but there are lifestyle options that your parent can incorporate into their lives that just may be able to keep them driving a little bit longer.
- Physical Exercise. Arthritis and decreasing flexibility can make turning the wheel or looking over one’s shoulder difficult to perform. Help your parent remain as flexible as possible by enrolling them in one of the many classes designed to increase both flexibility and balance. These are commonly taught at the local senior community center or the YMCA and are found in exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi.
- Physical or Occupational Therapy. These types of therapies can provide activities, exercises, and physical modalities that may keep your parent driving safely longer. This may include paraffin wax baths for your parent’s hands as well as exercises to increase flexibility and strength and decrease pain. Therapists can also offer your parent alternative ways to perform various activities with their present limitations in mind.
- Be sure to make a yearly appointment for a comprehensive eye exam for your aging family member. An ophthalmologist can check for many diseases that offer no warning signs and that can, ultimately, cause loss of vision. If driving at night seems to cause concern or difficulties, consider suggesting that your parent limit their driving time to daylight hours and find alternative solutions such as a carpool or the local community program that offers volunteer services for homebound seniors.
- Make a list of the medications your parent is on and take it to their pharmacist. Ask them to look it over for any possible drug interactions or medications that should not be taken when driving. There are often alternatives or a change that can be made in the time the dose is taken.
- A driving rehabilitation specialist can determine if it is safe for your parent to drive and offer solutions that can keep them driving longer. This may include limiting them to daylight driving, avoiding highways, or staying within a certain radius from their home. They can offer tips on how much distance to keep between them and the car in front of them and instructions on early braking.
Senior Care Provider.
If your loved one is having difficulty performing the everyday activities of living, requires transportation, or is home alone most days, consider the services of a senior care provider.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Oakland, CA, contact the caring staff at Provident Home Care. Call today (877) 572-3411.
Robin Conley RN., Owner and CEO of Provident Care Home Care Providing HOME CARE- ASSISTED LIVING PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE
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