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When To Ask Your Elderly Loved One for the Keys

Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 20:10:08-05

Driving takes a lot of focus so as we get older, the task can seem a bit more complicated.

Millions of Americans face the question— When is it time to stop driving?

For most seniors giving up the car means a loss of independence and difficult reliance on friends or family.

According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 28 million licensed drivers over the age of 65 in the United States, and many of them suffer from what the CDC called “age-related decreases in vision, cognitive functions, and physical impairments”.

This makes driving dangerous, and some of those over the age of 65 may not realize they have diminished ability.

While difficult, it's important for other family members to step in, not only to keep their loved one safe, but the public as well.

Why is The statistics show senior drivers have more fatalities per-miles-driven than any age group except teenagers. While younger drivers crash more, the crashes involving older drivers are more likely to be fatal. It often falls on family members to keep the senior as well as other drivers safe by pressing the issue.

You mentioned that plenty of senior drivers still drive safely, so how do you know it’s time for your family member to hang up the keys?

Take into consideration the senior's eyesight. This can be done by noticing any damage to the car such as nicks, dings or dents.

Ask others what they've observed watching your elderly loved one drive.

First-hand experience could also be important to volunteer to be a passenger. Monitor the driver's reactions to traffic lights, road signs, pedestrians, and other motorists. Pay attention to whether he/she drifts into other lanes, drive unusually slow, struggle to use the correct signals, or react slowly to unexpected situations.

If it is time to take the keys, don't just confiscate them, instead be empathetic. Try to understand what this could mean for the driver, what he/she may be losing.

Go over a plan with them on how to still run errands, make it to doctors appointments, visit friends and family, etc.

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