Elderly Care for Mercer PA: Companions Help with Driving- Dec. 2-6 is National Older Drivers Awareness Week!

Transportation is something many of us take for granted.  With our busy schedules, and all the errands we need to run, we would be lost if we did not have transportation.   Whether we are using a car, or public transportation, we know the route to and from home, and every stop along the way.   However, for a senior, transportation often is not this easy.

Seniors may have restrictions placed on their licenses, such as no night driving, and others may not be capable of driving at all anymore.   This really limits the amount of independence a senior can have in their “glory days”.   Public transportation might not be a good option either, as it can be confusing to know where and when to get off.   Stops may be a considerable distance away from the desired destination, and a senior might not be able to walk that far.   Seniors living in rural areas may not have public transportation available.   Senior transportation services do not allow seniors a widespread level of independence as they can only use the service within the appointed times and places it is available.  These are just a few of the challenges that seniors face that may tempt them to continue to drive even when their capability level is starting to lower.

Some seniors are still capable of being safe drivers, but should drive with careful supervision from their loved ones who should watch for the signs that they should not drive anymore.   There is no set age as to when you should stop driving, like there is to start driving.   All drivers should know not to drive when they cannot drive safely, for example if their vision is poor.   Sometimes, the obstacles mentioned above and the seniors need for independence, causes seniors to drive when it is no longer safe for them too.  This is when family members and caretakers should be the most vigilant and observant.

Does the senior have new food in the refrigerator that you did not buy?   Are there new items in the house that you do not recognize?   It is important not to be confrontational when approaching a senior about unsafe driving.   For example, you can say in a positive tone, “I see you have gone grocery shopping, that is wonderful, what is the name of the service you are using for transportation”?   While a statement like this does not put the senior on the spot in a negative tone, it also makes them aware you are watching and aware they may still be driving.

If the senior continues to insist on unauthorized driving it is time to take away their car keys, and the vehicle to prevent accidents.  If paid off, you can take the proceeds of selling the car, and add it to the senior’s savings.   These precautionary steps will create safety on the road for not only the senior, but also those who are driving with the senior.   It is important to stay aware, and active about senior transportation.

The caregivers at CareGivers Plus are available to talk with you and your family about all of your home care needs. CareGivers Plus is an elder care agency providing quality and affordable elderly care in Mercer  PA,  and the surrounding areas. Call 724-638-7110 for more information.

About Robert Devine

Robert Devine is Owner and Administrator at Caregivers Plus Home Health Care of Hermitage, PA.

Whether it’s conversation and company, or just eating a meal together, having someone to sit and visit with can help make for a happier, healthier life.

Caregivers Plus has been operating as a locally owned family-operated home care agency in Mercer County since 1994.