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Talking About Driving With Elderly Parents

For older Americans, the ability to drive provides access to shopping, community resources, and gives elderly Americans the ability to largely care for themselves. Yet, as Americans get older, driving may potentially pose a greater risk. While the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine notes that doctors and other medical providers are cautious when urging older adults to give up driving, there are definitely instances where older adults are safer by not getting behind the wheel.

A very old man with a valid driving license drives his car in Boise

For children of elderly parents, discussing driving behavior can be uncomfortable. Children may not know when to intervene and may not know how to start the conversation.

According to the National Institutes on Aging, older drivers may experience changes in their eyesight and hearing that could impede their driving ability. Children can ask to make sure that their parents have up-to-date eyeglass prescriptions and that their hearing has been properly evaluated. Adults with difficulty hearing can be helped by either turning off the radio or by using a hearing aid. Vision difficulties can often be mediated by glasses or by driving only during the daytime.

Medication can also have an impact on driving. Read medication warnings and don’t drive if the medication can cause dizziness or drowsiness. Have a conversation about how medications can impact driving ability. There have been cases where drivers have been found negligent for driving under the influence and have faced criminal penalties and personal injury lawsuits as a result of driving while under the influence of prescription medication.

Older adults may have slower reaction times. Driving more slowly, and leaving more space between cars can protect older drivers and others on the road. Avoid driving at night, while tired, or during poor weather conditions. Familiarize yourself with routes and stick to familiar driving patterns.

In many cases, concerns about older drivers can be addressed with a simple conversation about prescriptions, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. However, in some cases, children may still have concerns about their elderly parents’ driving.

Some warning signs to look for are:

  • Frequent accidents
  • Frequent tickets
  • Family, friends, or neighbors observe unsafe driving habits
  • Doctor recommends that patient stop driving

If you are concerned about your parent’s driving ability, you can have a specialist evaluate your older parent’s driving skills and make recommendations. The specialist may also be able to offer your parent information about transportation options in Charleston. In many cases, older adults may be more open to a professional recommendation.

Some diagnoses can affect a driver’s safety. These include Dementia, Parkinson’s, or a condition that can result in incapacitation of the patient. It is important to note that a diagnosis of Dementia or Parkinson’s doesn’t automatically mean that an older adult is unsafe to drive. Professional evaluations can better determine an older adult’s abilities and safety, though children can monitor their loved one’s driving habits for signs of unsafe practices.

Proper evaluation of older drivers keeps everyone on the road safe and prevents accidents. Personal injury attorneys see countless preventable accidents every year in Charleston, South Carolina. The Drescher Law Firm, L.L.C. works closely with accident victims and their loved ones to ensure that their rights are protected in the unfortunate event of an accident.

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Scott Drescher, Personal Injury Lawyer in Charleston SC. imageMr. Drescher's knowledge and experience in the field of personal injury and wrongful death law have made him an outstanding personal injury and wrongful death attorney in South Carolina. He understands the thinking process of juries, due in part to his educational background in psychology and sociology. He is experienced in trying large civil cases, which has helped him become a very successful trial attorney in Charleston and the surrounding areas.
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