Older Adults and Driving

By: Heather O’Brien, Eldercare Specialist

St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions

Adults over the age of 75 are at a higher risk of being involved in automobile accidents.  Drivers in this age group also have a much higher risk of injury or death related to an accident, regardless of whose fault the accident was. Many of our clients and family caregivers ask the question “When is it time for an older adult to stop driving?”

The following are driving behaviors that could cause safety problems that older drivers and their family members should be aware of:

  • Decrease in confidence while driving
  • Difficult turning to see when backing up or making turns
  • Easily distracted, confused, or agitated
  • Incorrect signaling or driving at incorrect speeds
  • Failure to notice signs or potentially dangerous situations
  • Increased near misses or actual accidents
  • Getting lost or confused in familiar settings
  • Failing to stop when necessary or stopping for no apparent reason
  • Difficulty staying in lane
  • Hitting curb, mailbox, or garage

There are driver assessment and training programs that can help identify risks and instruct older drives in how to accommodate for age related changes while driving.  You can find one in the St. Louis and surrounding areas by visiting www.alz.org/stl/documents/stlreportassessdriving.pdf or by calling an Eldercare Specialist for information about this and other opportunities in your community.

When the time does come for an older adult to stop driving, there are many community resources available to help meet their needs. There are local volunteer programs that accept donations for services, subsidized programs for seniors that are offered at a reasonable cost, as well as services tailored to fit individual needs available on a private pay basis.  Services range from curb-to-curb services to escort services, through organizations such as St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions, for those who would benefit from hands-on assistance.

If you would like information about resources in your area, contact us today: hobrien@strandrews1.com 314-802-5106 or 1-888-388-1930.

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