Driving and Transportation Safety
By Ryan Mackey

 

Transportation can be an obstacle for many older people, and adjusting to either public transportation or rides from family are not easy.  It is usually up to the family of the loved one who must handle transportation issues, and ensure they stay safe when on the roads.  Here are some points to consider when assessing your loved one’s ability to continue driving safely, or if needed possible alternative modes of transportation.

·        Assess your own feelings about older drivers in general, and see if you need to be a bit more understanding with their abilities when behind the wheel.

·       Get a better idea about the driving skills of your relative by driving with him or her, or  checking to see if they have had any traffic infractions recently.

·         Be very observant to their driving habits and overall handling of the vehicle.

·        Do not critique your loved one’s driving instead provide support and continue to reassure them of their capabilities.

·        If you fear they have lost the ability to properly handle driving all the time, describe some viable alternatives such as driving during the day, and only driving on local streets.

·        Have your loved one’s vehicle checked routinely for general maintenance.

·        If you find they are lacking in a certain area, there are driving programs available that can assist them in creating a better driving approach.

·        Establish some better routines for your relative to follow such as planning the route before going anywhere, or ensuring that the weather will remain “driver friendly.”

If you believe their safety is in jeopardy by their continuing to drive you should

·        Check on local and city transportation available such as buses and community shuttles   that can take them to the store, church, and community centers.

·        See if other family members will help out by giving rides if needed.

·        Look into whether neighbors or friends of your loved one can do an errand if you are    unavailable.

·        Depending on their insurance plan, transportation may be included to make monthly    doctor visits and pick up groceries.

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