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Essential Safety Tips for Elderly Drivers

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Having the ability to drive makes seniors more self-sufficient and gives them a sense of freedom. To help your aging loved one continue to drive safely, here are a few tips and recommendations.

Avoid Driving at Night

Night vision is one of the first things impaired by aging, often noticeably diminishing after the age of 50. A senior who drives perfectly well during the day may have difficulty at night or even in the early evening. If possible, your loved one should avoid driving after sunset to be safer on the roads. Your loved one may also want to consider investing in good headlights in case he or she is caught out on the road after dark.

If your loved one is no longer able to operate a vehicle safely, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide transportation. Omaha home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Get Regular Vision Checks

Even during the day, vision can be an issue. Your loved one should get regular eye exams and make sure to wear corrective lenses while driving, if they are prescribed. Eye exams are recommended once per year or more often if your loved one notices changes in vision. An up-to-date prescription can be of great help when reading street signs and avoiding hazards that might otherwise be difficult to recognize quickly enough. 

Avoid Driving in Inclement Weather

Speaking of hazards, if possible, your loved one should avoid driving during storms, heavy rain, and snow or ice. These conditions can obscure vision and make driving more difficult and unpredictable. Your loved one may also find his or her reflexes are slower to react to dangers such as hydroplaning or skidding on ice than they were in his or her younger days. It is best to avoid being on the roads in these conditions and to take it slowly if driving is unavoidable. Allowing for more travel time in these circumstances is better than feeling rushed.

Aging adults who need help around the house, transportation to medical appointments and social events, and assistance with exercise can benefit from having an in-home caregiver. Omaha seniors can enjoy greater independence and receive regular mental and social stimulation when relying on a trusted professional who is expertly trained in various aspects of senior care.

Keep an Emergency Kit in the Car

Having a car emergency kit is good advice for all drivers, but especially for seniors. Kits should reflect the individual needs of the owner. However, a few basic items should be included in most car kits, including a warm blanket, drinking water, nonperishable food, a flashlight, batteries, and a first aid kit. Your loved one may also want to consider keeping medical supplies that are unique to him or her, such as two to three days of his or her medications. An extra set of clothing can also be useful in emergencies.

Maintain the Vehicle Properly

Another important aspect of driver safety is regular vehicle maintenance. Your loved one should make sure his or her car is in safe driving condition by getting regular oil changes, tire rotations or replacements, and brake inspections. Maintenance should be scheduled regularly, depending on how often the car is driven, typical driving conditions, and the age of the vehicle. Snow tires are a good investment for seniors who live in snowy areas and cannot avoid driving in adverse conditions.

Being able to drive is an incredible source of independence and self-sufficiency. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Omaha, Nebraska, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. To hire quality-assured in-home care services for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (402) 261-5158 today.