While the commitment to this month and the important message it sends generally revolves around drinking and driving, there are numerous ways your senior could possibly drive while impaired. As a loving caregiver, it’s important to keep your aging parent safe as well as others in the community. The season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be one of the most dangerous times to be driving, so let’s look at some good ways to keep your senior safe.
Some needed prescription drugs cause side effects like fatigue, slower reactions or trouble concentrating. All of these side effects can cause impaired driving. If your aging parent has any of these side effects, you’ll want to make sure they do not get behind the wheel. Have an elder care provider lined up to bring your parent to any places he needs to visit so that he can be driven safely.
Holidays often bring celebratory drinks. In the past, your aging parent may not have had a problem having a glass of wine or two during the course of an evening and then driving home. But now, with possible drug interactions or simply a lower food intake, alcohol can impair driving much more quickly than in the past. If away from home and having a drink or two, make sure your parent has a ride home. If you or an elder care provider cannot provide a ride (for example, it’s in the evening), services like Lyft or Uber might be a good way to get your parent from here to there. As the caregiver, you can order the driving service, pay for it, and have them pick up your parent right where they are without your parent having to worry about payment or tipping. Just make sure your parent has a face mask ready while that’s a requirement.
Aging can bring natural physical limitations to your aging parent’s ability to drive safely. Early dementia may cause confusion which can lead to impaired driving by causing frequent stops or distracted driving. Confusion can also cause your parent to get panicky, which is not a healthy time to be trying to drive a vehicle down the freeway at high speeds or even trying to navigate road construction that makes familiar places look unfamiliar. And as winter months come into season, roadways provide even more obstacles that require quick thinking and being fully alert to surroundings to keep everyone on the roads safe.