No one wants to think about growing older. However, it’s a natural part of living and happens to everyone. Although you might think of your parents as eternal, over time, they might begin showing the effects of their age. Certain activities become difficult or even impossible and dangerous. These are four signs that your senior parent shouldn’t drive anymore.
1- They’re Experiencing Vision Changes
Vision changes rank as one of the top reasons why older adults should stop driving. If your parent is starting to experience issues such as blurred vision, flashing lights in their line of vision, or changes that can’t be addressed with corrective lenses, it’s a sign that they should no longer get behind the wheel. For example, if your parent has cataracts, it can make driving dangerous. Likewise, if they have been diagnosed with glaucoma or macular degeneration, it could potentially lead to blindness. These are clear indications that your elderly parent should immediately stop driving.
2- They Become Easily Disoriented and Show Signs of Cognitive Illness
If your parent has begun showing signs of cognitive illness such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they absolutely should not be driving. Extreme confusion, disorientation, quick to anger, and becoming distracted easily can all lead to a car accident. If you are unsure whether your senior parent has an as-yet undiagnosed condition but they begin to get lost more often in familiar areas, you might want to consult with their doctor and ask questions. They might need testing to determine whether they have a specific condition causing their symptoms. However, make sure that you drive them or arrange for someone else to do the driving.
3- The Quality of Their Driving Has Changed
You might have known your parent to be a safe and responsible driver, but if their driving has changed, it’s a red flag. Violating traffic laws, reckless behaviors, going over curbs, or driving the wrong way down a road are all glaring signs that your parent should stop driving immediately. Helping them understand why this is the case could end up being a lifesaving move and prevent a potential crash.
4- There are Signs of a Car Accident
Your senior parent should probably stop driving if their vehicle shows new signs of damage. Dents, scrapes, scratches or a light or license plate dangling when it should be in place indicate that they have recently been in a car accident. If there are signs of damage to the areas around the outside of their home such as a dent on the mailbox, broken fence, paint marks matching their vehicle on the garage door, or skid marks in the driveway, they can also be taken as signs of an accident.
All of these issues may signify that your parent would be better off no longer driving. It might be time to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with them. Be loving and sympathetic but firm. It might prevent a serious car accident and save the life of your parent or another person on the roadway.