Giving up the car keys can be bad for your health. The loss of independence can lead to isolation and depression, which in turn could speed the onset of dementia.
But not giving up the car keys when you can no longer drive safely can be even worse, because it could lead to auto crashes.
So what’s a senior to do?
First, assess and possibly brush up on driving skills. The AAA’s 15-question self-rating form for drivers over 65 can help highlight areas for improvement. And if improvement’s needed, the AARP’s 55 Alive course is a good refresher. You can even take it online, and completing it will earn you a healthy discount on your car insurance.
Then, assess the car you’re driving. Your body has changed over the years, but your car hasn’t. Today’s new cars are not only more ergonomic, but also better at helping drivers avoid potential accidents. Keyless entry, pre-set power seats, push-button starting, power windows and mirrors, thicker and more adjustable steering wheels, auto tailgate, and active parallel park assistance all make driving more comfortable, especially for drivers with arthritis. While a wide range of newer features, including backup cameras, wide-angle mirrors, front and rear sensors, and lane-departure warnings can definitely make driving safer. Not all cars have all the features you might want, so check here to learn which makes and models offer which choices.
Many other workarounds can help you maintain your independence and your health as you age. To learn more about them, contact us for a free consultation. We can help you identify areas where you could use some help and, just as important, areas where you don’t need it.