Winter is a good time to talk about driving with the one you care for. Snow, ice and extreme weather can have an impact on driving conditions—and can be a cause for concern if you worry about declining vision or driving skills. Even if snow and ice aren’t an issue in your area, keep communication open to figure out what works best for everyone’s safety.
Prepare and monitor
Making sure the car is serviced regularly can help keep problems at bay. Also, watching for signs of driving issues is important. If you are finding dents in the car or notice that your loved one is driving too slow or too fast, is getting lost or agitated and is having close calls or even accidents, this could be cause for concern. His or her driving skills could be on the decline.
Make sure that both you and your loved one understand any effects that medications may have on his or her driving. Look for warnings on medicine labels and make a list of every medicine your loved one takes. The , PDF opens new window includes a medication tracker to help keep you organized. That way, you and the one you care for can have a list to reference when talking with a doctor or pharmacist about how different medicines may affect driving.
Have your friend or loved one’s driving evaluated
Taking time to have a conversation about driving is important. This gives your loved one a chance to bring up any concerns he or she has, as well as discuss options you can pursue to maximize safety. You may want to suggest a driving refresher course (organizations like the AARP, AAA and commercial driving schools offer them). When discussing an evaluation or class, it helps to communicate that you trust your loved one’s judgment and just want him or her to be safe. No matter the outcome of the evaluation, you can decide together what works best to ensure your loved one’s safety.
Be consistent with any driving limitations
Bad weather, dawn and dusk can be dangerous for all drivers—so it’s important to know what makes driving harder for your loved one. If you set limits, be consistent. You may ask that your loved one not drive at night or that he or she only drive to and from certain locations. If you truly feel like his or her driving is a safety concern, do not be afraid to take away your loved one’s keys.
Consider alternate transportation
There are many different transportation options to consider. Hospitals and senior centers often offer transportation to appointments, events and more. You’ll want to check your friend or loved one’s health plan to see what is available.” Public transportation and car services may be options for him or her depending on your location.
Stay organized when traveling
Make sure to take steps so no medication for you or your loved one gets overlooked.