Healthy Living Tips with Nurse Lorrie - April 2016
Is It Time to Give Up Driving?
We all age differently. For this reason, there is no way to set one age when everyone should stop driving. So, how do you know if you should stop? First of all, if someone in your life whom you love and trust points out changes in your behavior, physical or mental status, your response should be “Thanks! Can you come with me to the doctor and share you observations with him or her?”
To help decide when it might be time to be a good citizen and give up your license, ask yourself:
- Do other drivers often honk at me?
- Have I had some accidents, even if they were only “fender benders”?
- Do I get lost, even on roads I know?
- Do cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?
- Do I get distracted while driving?
- Have family, friends, or my doctor said they’re worried about my driving?
- Am I driving less these days because I’m not as sure about my driving as I used to be?
- Do I have trouble staying in my lane?
- Do I have trouble moving my foot between the gas and the brake pedals, or do I sometimes confuse the two?
- Have I been pulled over by a police officer about my driving?
- Do I complain about the speed, sudden lane changes or actions of others?
- Are my reflexes diminished in general as a result of aging?
- Do I have trouble seeing the road or traffic signs?
- Do I have anxiety about driving at night?
- Do I have trouble turning my head or neck to check before I change lanes?
- Am I taking medication that makes me drowsy or sleepy?
- Do I have medical problems that interfere with my vision, hearing or movement?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to talk with your doctor and your family about driving or have a driving assessment.
How Will You Get Around?
Are you worried you won’t be able to do the things you want and need to do if you stop driving? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have this concern, but there may be more ways to get around than you think. For example, some areas provide free or low-cost bus or taxi services for older people. Some communities offer a carpool service or scheduled trips to the grocery store, mall, or other places of interest. Religious and civic groups sometimes have volunteers who will drive you where you want to go. Your local Area Agency on Aging can help you find services in your area. Call 1-800-677-1116, or go to www.eldercare.gov to find your nearest Area Agency on Aging.
You can also think about using a car service. Sound pricey? Don’t forget—it costs a lot to own a car. If you don’t have to make car payments or pay for insurance, maintenance, gas, oil, or other car expenses, then you may be able to afford to take taxis or other public transportation. You can also buy gas for friends or family members who give you rides.
This program is funded (in part) with a grant from BJH Foundation.