How to Maintain Independence and Stay Safe on the Road
Throughout this week, we’ve covered several important points regarding senior driving, from statistics that show the rise of elderly drivers on the road and accidents involving senior drivers, to how age can affect your driving.
As we’ve mentioned, the concern for our aging loved ones behind the wheel is certainly a legitimate one, with more 5,500 older adults killed and more than 183,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2008 alone.
However, age affects us in many different ways. In some instances, one person may be unfit to drive by the age of 65, while others can possibly drive beyond that. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your state of health and limitations, which is what we covered earlier.
Now that you have a better understanding of how age affects driving, we’re going to talk about ways to continue to maintain your independence as you age.
All in all, exercise is a wonderful way to maintain your independence, and increase your quality of life.
In regards to driving, strength exercises such as lifting weights can help with getting in and out of cars, as well as turning the steering wheel, whereas flexibility exercises like yoga help you move your legs on the pedals, or turn your head in all directions to see your surroundings.
For more, see our series on The Benefits of Exercise.
Check your medications.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor to go over all of your medications in order to see which ones cause side effects (e.g. drowsiness) that may affect your driving.
Check your hearing/vision.
Checking your hearing and vision annually helps to improve/maintain your ability to be aware of your surroundings.
Maintain a good sleep schedule.
Lack of sleep and fatigue affect our ability to concentrate, as well as our strength. Maintaining a good sleep schedule can help prevent drowsiness, which is very dangerous on the road.
Limit driving to the daytime/good weather conditions.
It can be extremely difficult to drive during the nighttime or in bad weather conditions. So, it is best to avoid driving in these situations unless absolutely necessary.
Always figure out the best route to your desired destination before getting behind the wheel. It is also best to avoid heavy traffic, which often occurs during the early morning (7-8 AM) and mid afternoon (5-6 PM) when people are heading to/leaving from work.
Limit distractions in your car.
Driving can be difficult when we are distracted. To avoid this, prevent distractions such as listening to a loud radio, talking on your phone, texting, eating, or searching for items in your bag or back seat.
Driving in old age can be difficult, but is not altogether impossible. By taking the proper steps to maintain your health and ensure your safety, you can help to maintain your independence for many years to come.
Throughout all of next week, we will discuss issue of figuring out when driving is no longer safe, and how to address such an issue. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the information we’ve discussed above, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always here to help!
Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get you free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!
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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”