It can be easy to associate aging with an inability to drive, but that doesn’t mean that your loved one automatically loses all driving ability. When planning to vacation or travel with an elderly family member who still drives, it’s essential to make your car as safe as possible. For example, you can modify your car, drive more cautiously and attempt to clear up any medical or physical issues that would interfere with your loved one driving safely. Ask a caregiver for any assistance that might be needed. The following tips can help your peace of mind when an elderly loved one is behind the wheel.
- Get a regular check-up each year. Your loved one may wear prescription glasses or wear contact lenses in order to see well. Before heading out on a trip, make sure seniors are wearing the correct type of lenses. You should also take time to clean the windshield, headlights, mirrors and instrument panel in order to make sure your loved one is able to see properly.
- Have a hearing test performed. If your loved one wears hearing aids, make sure the battery is okay before leaving home. You must insist your love one wears his or her hearing aids while driving. It can be easy for seniors to have accidents when their hearing is impaired. You should also be aware that noises from rolled down car windows can drastically decrease the effectiveness of a hearing aid.
- Discuss medication side effects. Most seniors take some form of medication on a daily basis. You may want to schedule a doctor’s appointment before leaving on a vacation, taking the time to discuss any possible side effects your loved one’s medication may cause while they are trying to drive. No one wants to put a senior behind the wheel of a car if they are unable to drive safely. For example, seniors with glaucoma may experience problems with an intense glare of the sun when they are driving. If this is the case, an ophthalmologist may recommend buying some tinted glasses that can lower the glare.
- Find the best car to drive. Some of the most effective preparation when traveling with a senior includes finding a safe way to reach your destination. Firstly, you should choose to take a car that has an automatic transmission. Anytime you can reduce the amount of work that goes into driving, it has a positive effect. You should also make sure that the car has power steering and power breaks.
- Consult with a pro. If you have gone over your game plan and still have a nagging feeling, you need more help getting ready for a vacation with an elderly loved one, reach out to a professional. Occupational therapists, caregivers, and driving rehab specialists have the ability to prescribe medical equipment that can help seniors drive safely.