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Driving and Older Adults: The Keys to Staying Safe

Changes such as hearing loss, vision loss, stiff joints and slower reflexes can affect the way we drive. Dementia-related illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can also affect a person’s ability to drive by changing the capacity in which they can process information.

It is important for older adults and their family members to recognize the signs of unsafe driving and know when it is time to either limit or stop driving. Consulting your physician can also be helpful when deciding whether or not it is still safe to stay on the road. When trying to decide, ask:

  • Do other drivers honk at me often?
  • Have I had some accidents recently, even “fender benders”?
  • Do I get lost, even on roads I know?
  • Do cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?

If your doctor and family members do think that it is safe for you to continue driving, there may be some things that you can do to help stay safe:

  • Plan to drive on streets that you know.
  • Limit your trips to places that are close to home.
  • Give yourself a little extra time if driving conditions are bad.
  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Try to do your driving during the day instead of when it’s dark out.
  • Take a driving refresher class to “tune up” your skills and knowledge of road rules. 

Crozer-Keystone offers monthly AARP Defensive Driver programs, which are driving classes for seniors. The eight-hour driving safety courses are held on two days of the month at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Taylor Hospital, Springfield Hospital or Crozer Medical Plaza at Brinton Lake. Insurance companies offer discounts to those who complete these classes. Cost of the course is $10, with check made payable to AARP. To register, call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258).

For information about Crozer-Keystone’s Senior Health Services, and to access the monthly events calendar, please call the Senior Support Line at 1-800-CKHS-KEY (1-800-254-7539) or visit http://calendar.crozer.org.

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