When to Take Away the Keys

As we age, health conditions can affect our ability to drive safely.  It can be an issue with vision or hearing, or an inability to react to sudden traffic changes, like with Parkinson’s Disease or dementia.  Some people give up driving on their own while others have to be convinced to.  Here are some things to look for or red flags that may tell you it’s time for your loved one to stop driving:
1.) Frequently seeing new dents and scratches on their vehicle
2.) Inability to maintain a safe speed.  Going too slow or too fast is a danger to themselves and others
3.) Forgetting where they had been or suddenly not knowing where they are; lapses in memory
4.) Weakness in the extremities, or difficulty loosening grip
5.) Often losing keys or forgetting where they parked
6.) General traffic violations
As you begin the process of taking their keys or license, try to have a plan for how to get them where they need or want to go.  A fear many seniors have is that losing their ability to drive means staying home all of the time and not seeing their friends as often as they used to.  Know what social events and appointments they have and see if family members, friends, or caregivers can be available to transport them.
By:  Elizabeth Wooton