Driving Retirement — Is It For You?

2013 Advocacy Committe Campaign

For Seniors

Driving Retirement — Is It For You?

Did you know?

While statistically seniors have fewer accidents than the general population, drivers over 70 have a much higher fatality rate in high impact collisions.

After the age of 65, each advancing year increases the odds of getting into an accident involving left hand turns by 8%.

As we age, our brains shrink in size. Our reaction times are slower and signals are often mixed up. By approximately age 75, we begin to lose function of the portion of the brain that prevents the probability of confusion. This can cause us to actually step on the accelerator when our intention is to apply the brake.

Weakened eyesight, slower reflexes alternatives such as taxis, county sponsored senior vans, moving to a more centrally located area, possibly even to a senior community.

In addition to these suggestions, you can find many helpful resources atwww.Seniorumbrellanetwork.org

This publication was produced for you by the Advocacy Committee of The Senior Umbrella Network, an organization of professionals who service the senior communities of Long Island and the boroughs.and delayed reaction time create a higher accident risk.

Self evaluating your driving objectively is important for your safety as well as your community.

Warning signs of diminishing driving skills

  • Abrupt lane changes, braking or acceleration.
  • More frequent close calls, dents, scrapes on the car, mailboxes, garage doors,etc.
  • Failing to use turn signals when required or leaving signal on after completing the turn.
  • Drifting into other lanes.
  • Getting lost more often.
  • Having trouble seeing or following traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings.
  • Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps.
  • Other drivers honking at you.
  • Reluctance of friends and relatives to be passengers when you drive.

What are my options?

It may be difficult to recognize that an activity which has been a major part of your adult life and defined your independence may no longer be safe. Encouragingly,there are alternatives. You need not curtail attending social events because they are too far away ortake place at night or arelocated in an unfamiliar location. Maintaining your quality of life should be of utmost importance.

  • Consider the services of a Certified Driving Professional. These individuals can assist with “hands on” evaluations of you and your vehicle.
  • Attend a mature driver workshop or presentation. Many of these are given at community centers, libraries, houses of worship, senior living communities, etc.
  • Consult your family physician.
  • CREATE A PLAN.Find driving

For Care Givers

Is it Time For Your Loved One To Retire From Driving

Loved ones play an important role in the safety and well being of the senior driver in their life. If you have concerns about your loved one’s driving it may be time to discuss driving retirement.

If not handled properly, forcing an older driver to give up the keys involuntarily can trigger depression and isolation. This, in turn, can eventually lead to a more rapid deterioration in physical and mental health. It is important to understand when and how the conversation should begin. Do not wait for the older driver to get into an automobile accident or receive a traffic violation. When observing and assessing your loved one’s driving, try to differentiate between everyday mistakes and more serious safety risks.

Warning Signs:

  • Frequent close calls
  • Finding dents and scrapes on the car
  • Having trouble seeing or following traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings.
  • Slow reactions to unexpected situations, trouble moving foot from gas to brake pedal.
  • Gets easily distracted or nervous while driving.
  • Having difficulty turning around to check over his or her shoulder while backing up or changing lanes.

What now?

 

Now that you are familiar with the warning signs, what is your next step

  • Together with your loved one, consult with their primary car physician to determine health uses and medications that may impair their driving.
  • Start the conversation on a positive note. It is important to maintain the individual’s dignity and self-assurance.
  • Keep conversations brief and over time. Focus on skills, not age. In the course of the conversation, cite specific examples such as, “ I became particularly concerned when you turned left in front of an oncoming car.” NEVER says, “Your driving is poor and your going to get into a bad accident.”

What are your Options?

Once the older driver recognizes that adjustments need to be made, a plan should be established.

  • Exercise has numerous benefits for the senior drivers, which can add time to driving longevity. Make sure your loved one consults with their doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
  • A mature driver workshop may be the right option. These are offered at community centers, libraries, houses of worship, senior living communities or AAA.
  • Consider a consultation with a certified driving professional. They can perform a hands-on assessment of the individual as well as an assessment of their vehicle. Simple adaptations to driving habits may make all the difference.
  • Look for transportation alternatives such as taxis, local government sponsored senior transit busses, senior centers with door-to-door transportation and private agencies that provide drivers.
  • Consider moving you loved one to an area where he or she can walk to stores or possibly move to an independent senior living community.

This information has been brought to you by the advocacy committee of Senior Umbrella Network, an organization of professionals who service the senior communities of Long Island and New York City to New York Area.

Disclaimer: The members of Senior Umbrella Natework of Brooklyn (SUN-B) personally update the content of their individual profiles. SUN-B does not monitor the content of its members, and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the individual member's profiles. SUN-B disclaims any responsibility or liability for the advice, recommendations or services provided by its member individuals, agencies or companies. SUN-B is not an employment service-agency and receives no referral fee or payment from its members, other than the yearly membership dues. This list is for your reference only.
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