For those of us who are concerned about senior home safety, there is one thing that is often overlooked and that is driving. Does your elderly loved one still have a car and valid driver’s license? If so, do you believe that he or she is as safe as possible when they are out on the road, running errands, going to the doctor’s office, or shopping? While we don’t often think about connecting senior home safety with driving, it’s a good idea to make that connection. However, discussing potentially giving up one’s right to drive can be a challenge for any family.
When we are adolescents, there are certain milestone birthdays that we tend to look forward to with impatience. One of them happens to be our 16thbirthday (15 if you live in certain states that allow children of this age to acquire permits). It’s at 16 when we are able to apply for and take a test of receive our driver’s license.
Getting a driver’s license for many young people is a sign of growing up, of moving one step closer to adulthood, to gaining a bit more independence. When you reach an age when you are struggling to be safe behind the wheel, the thought of losing your license can feel like just the opposite: a loss of freedom and independence.
For that reason, many family members are reluctant to try and advise a parent or other elderly loved one to consider giving up their driving privilege. We don’t want to be the person who suggests that our loved one give up one of the most significant symbols of their independence throughout much of their life. For people who live in a major city, who don’t drive anyway, this is not a major concern, but for those that live in rural or suburban neighborhoods, being able to get around is one of the most important things in the world.
If you want your elderly loved one to be as safe as possible while they continue to live at home, then you need to take a serious look at their driving ability. Some states test drivers more regularly when they reach a certain age. Even if your loved one passed his or her last road test, if you have any concerns about them being safe on the road, address these concerns with them.
Senior home safety is about ensuring that they are as safe as possible at home, and this can include driving.