Driving a car allows for lots of independence and exhilaration for drivers. It was pretty handy too when the kids were young with a million appointments, such as soccer practice, school, play dates, shopping, family car trips and more.
Giving up driving will probably be one of the most difficult choices one will have to make. While someone may stubbornly hold on to their driver’s license, safety does need to be paramount for the driver and for others.
So how do you know when it’s time for your senior driver to give up the keys and relegate chauffeuring duties to the adult kids or get a permanent Uber account?
According to research, most people drive from 7-10 years longer than they should. However, there is no set age of when people should stop driving. It is individual, and based on circumstances as well. If a driver lives in a secluded area, and there’s not much traffic to worry about, then driving a little longer might be doable. However, drivers need to consider the physical limitations that ultimately come with aging, such as vision issues, slower reflexes, and hearing loss.
- You are starting to get into more car crashes – even if it’s just a bump
- You’re starting to swerve in your lane
- Other drivers are honking at you more
- You forget your way at times, even on routes you’ve used for years
- Confusing the brake and gas pedals
If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to talk to your doctor. Maybe it’s just a matter of upgrading your prescription, or getting hearing aids, or maybe you need to stop driving at night. Or it’s really time to retire the keys.
You’ve said your farewells to your keys – now what?
This is definitely a family decision because a choice to stop driving means there will be changes in the workings of your routine and inner circle . Who will be your designated driver for your doctor appointments? What if you want to go for a visit with friends? What about groceries? Thankfully, there are quite a few resources available to seniors who give up driving. While you’re giving up the keys, it doesn’t mean you are giving up your freedom or your lifestyle. A little tweaking, and you’ll find that freedom is still there, it just looks different.
Your New Freedom can include:
- Public transportation
- Taxis or Uber drivers
- Grocery deliveries via online shopping
- Carpooling with friends or family – most opportunities to connect again and maybe enjoy the view for once?
- Less stress associated with traffic jams, catching appointments
- Check out your local seniors’ centre – they may provide transportation, along with some great senior trips!
- For residents of Vancouver, BC – https://starcanada.ca/
- For residents of Ontario – https://spectrumhealthcare.com/services/seniors-for-seniors/driver-companions/
Getting off the road can be seen as an act of love for your family and friends. Your safety is paramount, and the safety of those around you. Getting off the road means less worries for your children, a little more money in your pocket from no longer having car payments, insurance, and maintenance fees.
So remember, giving up driving doesn’t mean you’re giving up your independence. You’re giving up the stress, letting go of worries, and adapting to a freer life filled with more moments of your own joy-making.