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Sarah Pearcy, CSA®, CDP® of AccordantCare Senior Advising in Rochester, Michigan, offers the following tips to help gauge your loved-one's driving abilities:
Has your parent fallen in the past year?
Recent research has established a correlation between falls and older driver crash involvement. According to an article published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, older drivers who fell two or more times in the prior year were 1.5 times as likely to be involved in an accident, and twice as likely to be involved in an at-fault accident. The study's bottom line; a history of frequent falling can serve as a valid indicator in identifying older drivers that are at a higher risk for future traffic accidents.
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Is your parent still physically active?
A study by the Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and the M.I.T. Age Lab looked at the drivers who exercised for 15-20 minutes daily. The study participants reported greater ease in turning their heads to look in blind spots when changing lanes or backing up, compared with a similar group that did not exercise. The exercise group could also rotate their bodies easily to scan the road when making right hand turns compared with non-exercisers.
How is your parent's memory holding up?
When we discuss age related diminished driving skills in older adults, we tend to focus on the physical attributes of safe driving (vision, reflexes, strength, flexibility, hearing, etc.), and may overlook the crucial role memory plays in keeping older drivers safe.
Older drivers that get lost may become confused and distracted by their unnerving circumstances. As they find themselves unaware of their surroundings, they are likely to develop a strong case of tunnel vision. The older driver may morph into a state of confusion, frustration and fear. They lose their ability to focus on the task at hand (the physical act of driving) and instead, concentrate on getting themselves back to familiar surroundings. The older driver's ability to focus on driving has been overwhelmed by their desire to re-orient themselves. In many cases, the individual may become scared and often times, tragedy becomes imminent.
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If you are concerned about your aging parent's driving skills, contact AccordantCare Senior Advising at 248-929-5700 or visit their website at www.accordantcaresenioradvising.com.
AccordantCare Senior Advising
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