Summer is now in full swing and that means one thing—road trips! Last April I blogged about how dementia can impact driving among senior populations. While FirstLight Home Care remains passionate about our client companionship services, which include transportation, we also want to encourage seniors to remain independent, active and alert when enjoying the summer season. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to read a survey released on June 22 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that revealed seniors are actually doing a lot of right things when it comes to their driver awareness.
The survey showed that fatal crashes for licensed drivers above the age of 70 declined from 1997 to 2008, along with the number of serious car accidents reported nationally by police. Among the suspected reasons for decrease include some states shortening the renewal period for older drivers and making it necessary for seniors to be tested more frequently.
Additionally, there may be other factors at play. Given our work at FirstLight Home Care, I would like to think that as the aging population grows, more people are taking steps to better manage their physical and mental wellness when it comes to getting behind the wheel. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to better ensure the safety of the senior in your life.
Staying Physically Active: Engaging in a regular exercise program will ensure that seniors maintain strength and flexibility, which will help actions such as turning the steering wheel or looking over a shoulder.
Scheduling Regular Vision and Hearing Tests: These are two of the most important senses the senior driver in your life needs. Make sure all tests are updated before taking to the roads.
Drive in Optimal Conditions: When possible, it’s best for seniors to avoid night driving or driving in inclement weather, such an afternoon thunderstorm.
Plan Ahead: Make sure your senior driver has his or her route planned out before hand. This will ensure fewer distractions during driving time.
Update All Driving Skills: It never hurts for an older driver to take a refresher course, especially if he or she hasn’t driven in a while. This will also ensure that the driver is capable of handling a vehicle.
Above all else, if a senior driver is not capable of driving, make sure there is someone who is able to get them where they need to be. At FirstLight Home Care, the transportation we provide as part of our client service is a priority because we understand the importance of keeping our seniors safe, active and on the move—especially during the summer, when there has never been a better time to be out and about.