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When Seniors Need to Give Up the Keys for Good

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Senior drivers are sometimes judged unfairly, and many people automatically assume senior citizens can’t drive although some are very good behind the wheel. It’s not age that determines when a person should stop driving, it’s certain physical conditions that indicate it’s time to hand over the keys for good. The senior care experts at Home Care Assistance of Palm Beach offer these stop signs senior caregivers should be on the lookout for.

Problems with Eyesight
At about the age of 35, people’s eyesight begins to change largely in part to pressure on the eyes causing them to become slightly misshapen. Although this can be helped with eyeglasses, senior citizens are at risk for vision loss which glasses cannot correct. For instance, senior citizens are at greater risk for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts. It may be difficult for them to see road signs, speed limits, pedestrians or other cars when they experience vision loss.

Forgetfulness
Although many people are forgetful and a certain amount of memory loss is expected with aging, it can be a red flag in some senior citizens. This can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s or dementia. If this is the case, they may forget how to drive as well, and it’s possible they may not even be aware of what they are doing.

Other Physical Limitations
As people age, their coordination, strength, and range of motion diminish. This doesn’t just affect a person’s gait or reaching for items, it can affect their reaction time while driving. This means that elderly are at greater risk for running red lights, hitting pedestrians, and hitting other vehicles. If an elderly loved one has difficulty moving around, they will also have difficulty with driving. Look for signs, such as falling or frequently dropping items.

It can be difficult to approach a discussion about handing over the keys with a senior loved one. Often, seniors cling to their independence and giving up driving is hard for most senior citizens. The best any caregiver or family member can do is be patient and understanding. If possible, have another elderly family member or friend present to speak from experience and help your loved one see the positive side of no longer driving.

If it’s time to take away the keys but your senior loved one still has a full social calendar, enjoys cooking, or has regular doctor’s appointments to keep up with, consider a caregiver in Palm Beach, FL who can assist him or her on an hourly basis or through live-in care. Call a Care Manager at (561) 429-8292 to learn more about senior care services available in your area and to schedule your free in-home consultation.