A couple of days ago, I posted an article talking about seniors and driving, stimulated by a very good article in The New Old Age. As a home care company that serves many elders, this is an issue that comes up time and again, for our clients and for their families and loved ones.
In the prior article, we referenced the AMA Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers. That is a very useful and comprehensive, but quite lengthy document. We certainly hope that doctors will read it and use it.
For family caregivers and trustees, however, there is a publication in an appendix called Patient and Caregiver Educational Materials. The entire document is about 15 pages, but it contains an embedded survey that would be great for elders and families to go through. It is important that it be done in a relaxed, non-threatening environment, as there is probably going to be an emotional reaction if the conclusion is not favorable to continued driving.
I get lost while driving.
My friends or family members say they are worried about my driving.
Other cars seem to appear from nowhere. I have trouble finding and reading signs in time to respond to them.
Other drivers drive too fast.
Other drivers often honk at me.
Driving stresses me out.
After driving, I feel tired.
I feel sleepy when I drive.
I have had more “near-misses” lately.
Busy intersections bother me.
Left-hand turns make me nervous.
The glare from oncoming headlights bothers me.
My medication makes me dizzy or drowsy. I have trouble turning the steering wheel.
I have trouble pushing down the foot pedal. I have trouble looking over my shoulder when I back up.
I have been stopped by the police for my driving.
People no longer will accept rides from me. I have difficulty backing up.
I have had accidents that were my fault in the past year.
I am too cautious when driving.
I sometimes forget to use my mirrors or signals.
I sometimes forget to check for oncoming traffic.
I have more trouble parking lately.
Sincere thanks to the AMA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for their work on this extremely important and very difficult topic. For the safety or our seniors and everyone else on the street, this is a subject that simply has to be addressed.
Best wishes, Bert