Remember when you were a teenager and you first got your license? You were so excited with a sense of freedom and independence. Well, as exciting as that time was is exactly how disheartening it is when an elderly person must give up driving for the sake of personal safety and the welfare of others. It’s not easy for family and close friends, either. And there’s always that nagging question—are we doing the right thing? Here, a chiropractor in Richardson discusses how to know when it’s time to take away the keys and how to start the conversation.
Health Concerns that Can Affect Driving
Health concerns that might affect a person’s driving ability can literally stretch from head to toe. If a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, then he or she needs to be closely monitored. They may be able to drive safely at first, but then may eventually forget how to find familiar places.
Changes in vision and hearing ability can also make for an unsafe driver. In particular, driving at night can become particularly difficult as a person ages. Eventually, reading street signs and seeing traffic signals may become difficult. In addition, eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, as well as some medicines, can also cause vision problems.
Hearing loss can make it hard to notice honking cars and sirens. In this circumstance, a driver may not know to pull over and get out of the way, or that there might be something wrong with the car they’re driving.
As the body ages, stiff joints and muscles are a common complaint. Likewise, arthritis plagues many older people. These can lead to several driving problems including difficulty turning your head, braking quickly and turning the steering wheel. Similarly, slower reflexes may slow a person’s reaction time.
How to Have “The Talk”
Talking with your mom, dad or any elderly driver about the need to stop driving is difficult. Here are some tips from a Richardson chiropractor that can help:
- Don’t say, “You can’t drive anymore.” Say, “I’m concerned about your safety behind the wheel.”
- Don’t talk about the person’s age. Stick to facts about changes in the person’s driving skills.
- Reassure the person that you will help him or her remain independent and continue to participate in activities they enjoy.
- Be understanding if the person becomes angry. Don’t argue. Offer support instead.
- Come prepared with information about local services that will help someone who can no longer drive.
If you need more tips on how to have this sensitive conversation, call a chiropractor in Richardson who has dealt with the consequences of car accidents and understands your concerns.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Zinovy Chukhman is a chiropractor in Richardson. If you know someone who has been in a car accident and needs treatment, call the office today. Dr. Z. and his staff are here to help!