Driving can be a major concern for caregivers.
Caregivers can be in an uncomfortable position when their loved one insists they are fine to drive when in reality they are not.
The caregiver must step in at some point but how should they know when to draw the line? Caregivers can use the following telltale signs of driving impairment as a guide:
1. Vision check
Is your loved one still able to gauge distances? Read street signs? Are they able to drive without sensitivity to light or darkness?
2. Motor skills
Is your loved one able to react quickly? Can they mindfully drive a car with little physical impairment? Are they able to swiftly and competently brake, accelerate and change lanes?
3. Side effects
Are they currently prescribed any medication that would impair their ability to drive? Do any of their medications cause drowsiness, dizziness or cause them to feel faint?
4. Memory loss, disease, mental fatigue
Does your loved one wander? Forget where they are? Are they in any way compromised cognitively? Can they consistently remember directions? Is their spatial awareness intact?
5. Regular doctor appointments
Always check with the doctor if you feel your loved one may not be able to drive.
Use this checklist as a quick guide, but ultimately the doctor’s orders should be followed. Should your doctor suggest any physical or mental impairment that could potentially compromise the ability to drive, assume, it’s best for them not to drive. The primary doctor should be aware of all current and future health problems and can address specific questions regarding driving ability. When in doubt, ask the doctor first.