Thursday, August 22, 2013

Senior Driving

The other day I was on my way home from the grocery store when I came across a doozy of a fender-bender.

Image via Photo Pin

It had just happened and there were no emergency vehicles yet on the scene. I assumed that no one was injured as the two drivers involved were standing and talking beside their cars. From what I could see, it appeared that one driver probably ran a red light, pulling out and crashing into the driver who had the green light.

One of the drivers was a very frail-looking, white-haired old man who was standing with a cane. He seemed a little frazzled. From the looks of things, it appeared as if he was driving the car that pulled out and caused the wreck. I have a huge soft spot for elderly folks and my heart immediately went out to him.

I could be totally wrong in deducing that he caused the accident. That's just how it looked to me. But, regardless, it got me to thinking about older people and driving.

Image via CanStockPhoto

According to an article on the AARP website, more than 20% of Americans age 65 and older do not drive. That's still a major part of the senior population that is driving. Of course, most of these drivers are probably perfectly capable and safe to drive. But, I have to wonder about those few older men and women who shouldn't be driving, who maybe aren't as sharp or quick to react as they used to be. 

AAA offers some helpful tools for the senior driver. They have an interactive quiz that helps drivers self-rate their driving ability. There are also trained professionals who will assess and come up with a training plan or recommendations to help keep the senior driver safe and driving longer. Check out this page for more helpful resources and brochures relating to senior driving. 

My own mother is 75 and a widow. She no longer drives. If she absolutely had to go someplace locally, she would be okay. But, for the most part, she relies on my sister and I to take her to all the places she needs to go. She has arthritis and macular degeneration, so she just does not trust that her reflexes and eyesight are sharp enough to be driving. While she hates having to rely on someone else to transport her around, she knows it is the right thing to do. But, when she is not able to get out of the house for awhile, she has told me that she feels very lonely and isolated. I'm happy that I'm in a position of being able to help her (I live right down the street from her and I do not work outside the home so I'm almost always available). I'm also glad she was able to come to this decision on her own and is okay with it. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for some who are forced to give up driving. It must be a helpless feeling.

What about you? Do you have any elderly people in your life who may be having difficulty driving? If so, I encourage you to look into some of the kinds of resources I mentioned above. 

Also, if you do know a non-driving senior, make a point to offer your services to them - drive them to their appointment or to the grocery store; take them out for a leisurely ride just to get out; or ask them to ride along with you as you take care of your own errands. By doing this, you can help the senior to feel less of a sense of isolation and helplessness. You just might brighten someone's day, too!

This is not a sponsored post, just me sharing my thoughts on a subject close to my heart. 


Shauna Torres said...

My In-Laws live with us and I always worry about them driving. MY Mother-in-Law seems to still be totally okay behind the wheel, but my FIL tends to miss some things...

Melissa said...

My grandpa doesn't drive anymore - but my mom is able to drive him where he needs to go (and I'm always a back up).

Mariah @ said...

I can remember a family trip with my grandfather driving where we had some close calls. It's definitely something to think about!

Kelsey said...

Oh how scary to see an accident like that. I am glad they are safe.. seems like so many accidents have been happening lately!!

Silvia said...

I think about this every time I see a family member older than 70 getting in a car. I try to be always available when my mother in-law, mother or another family member needs to go somewhere.

Henrietta said...

My Papa used to drive with one "good eye" he had a really hard time giving up his license, ti was a sad thing to see.