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5 Signs Your Elderly Parent Shouldn’t Be Driving

If you have elderly parents, the idea of telling them not to drive anymore can be difficult. After all, it’s hard to see people get older and lose their abilities. Plus, they may not be open to the idea that they can’t drive after they’ve been doing so for a large part of their life. If you’re concerned that your elderly parent shouldn’t be driving anymore, there are some signs that you can look out for. Here are some of the signs that your parent should stop driving.

1. They’re Easily Distracted

If you’ve noticed that your parent gets easily distracted from what they are doing, it may be time for them to stop driving. This can happen whether they’ve been diagnosed with any new conditions or not. 5.7 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s Disease. This number is projected to reach 14 million by 2050. Being distracted, compared with cognitive decline can be a very scary situation. If your parents get distracted as they drive, they could very easily get into a deadly accident. Keep an eye out for distraction, whether behind the wheel or in their everyday life.

2. They Get Lost in Familiar Areas

If your parents have lived in the same place for years, they should be very familiar with the neighborhood and the community. This means that if they start getting lost in familiar areas, it is a cause for concern. Make a note of times when your parent doesn’t seem to know how to get home or needs assistance to figure out where they are. Getting lost in a familiar place can not only impact their ability to get home when they drive, but it can also indicate other cognitive issues that will disrupt their ability to drive.

3. They Get In an Accident

If your elderly parent gets in an accident when driving, you need to seriously consider whether they are still capable of driving safely. This includes minor and major accidents. Even a minor accident can cause a common injury like whiplash. Whiplash can occur at speeds as low as 20 mph. It can take years to recover in some situations. While accidents do happen, they can become more likely if your parent has issues that you and they are unaware of. When an accident does happen, take it as an opportunity to seriously discuss whether or not they should still be driving.

4. They Scare Others

Are others afraid of your parent’s driving? This might include passengers or people around them on the road. If someone tells you that they’re concerned about your parent’s driving, believe them. It may seem like your parent is driving impaired, like the 4,820 DUI arrests in Alameda County, California in 2017. However, even if your parent isn’t drunk, their dangerous driving can still put them and others at risk. Listen to any concerns that come your way. If you have suspicions, you can also ask others for their thoughts. But if people are afraid, there is a good reason for it.

5. Their Vision Is Failing

You need clear vision and eyesight in order to drive a car. If your parent’s vision is failing, they should not be behind the wheel. Impaired vision will make them more likely to hit something, whether it is a stationary object, another car, or a person. All of these can be deadly to them or to someone else. If your parent insists their vision is fine, get them checked by an eye doctor. They may be able to take the decision out of your hands.

At some point in their life, most elderly people have to stop driving for their own safety and that of other people. Use these signs to determine if your parent should stop driving.