Like anything, the ability to drive only gets easier, safer, and more comfortable the more the years roll on. However, at a certain point in time our mental fortitude starts to degrade, and eventually driving becomes a health hazard. Many seniors feel uneasy sitting behind the wheel or driving into dense traffic, and a nagging spouse riding a shotgun doesn’t help either. The simple task of maneuvering the vehicle to fit into a narrow space is more stressful for an elderly driver, who is perhaps already suffering from high blood pressure.
Nevertheless, the idea of seniors giving up their license after retiring is simply wrong because losing the opportunity to drive bereaves them of numerous social activities like visiting friends, collecting food from a takeaway, shopping for groceries, or visiting the doctor. Instead of rendering your aging relative homebound, there are things that can be done to keep them confident when it comes to hitting the road.
1. Enroll Them in a Special Driving Class
After getting a driving license, people tend to develop habits that they stick to at all costs. Attending a driving class to relearn good driving habits is recommended for all ages as it helps to shake off wrongly gained knowledge and reacquaint with the rules or situations that you don’t come across on a daily basis. For example, there are driving schools that simulate extreme terrain affects like snowy roads or ask the students to perform stunts with the car, and passing these exams will certainly help people handle the car better.
However, perhaps recommending drifting for seniors is a bit bold, so why not look for an online class instead to help your aging relative refresh the basics. The American Automobile Association has a whole section dedicated to improving the driving skills of seniors, focusing on safe travel as well as introducing them to modern features like GPS. They even go as far as to show seniors how to set up the seats and mirrors in a way to complement certain impairments.
2. Keep Them Mentally Fit
Knowing the rules of the road is important but it’s worth nothing without quick thinking, as such it’s vital that your relative dusts off the mental cobwebs every now and then. Solving crosswords and quizzes is a tried and tested way of keeping the brain fit, as is watching documentaries on TV. Another important method of brain training is reading and if the seniors can get their hands on a book about driving strategies, then they can kill two birds with one stone. Luckily there are a quite a lot of reading materials on the internet, focusing on helping adults over 60 to switch gears and drive safely.
3. Purchase an In-Car Medical Alert System
While the previous advice intends to help seniors stay out of harm’s way while on the road, there’s no denying that a crash could still happen – even if it’s not their fault. Suffering a car accident is highly traumatic at old age and the shock or panic most likely impedes their reactions to the point that they may have trouble even unfastening the belt, let alone calling 911 and adequately explaining the situation.
Don’t get too agitated though, as medical alert systems are compatible with automobiles too. In-car systems fit into the cigar lighter and the device will notice if the vehicle is damaged or makes an abrupt move. Whenever an incident is detected, the unit will automatically send a distress signal to the operators – just like a fall detection pendant – who’ll then contact the user to assess the situation and summon help on the senior’s behalf if necessary. Don’t underestimate the power of peace of mind, because devices like this will ensure that the elderly driver focuses on the road instead of worrying about potential dangers.
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