Staying Safe on the Road

June 28, 2013 | By Lorenzo Mejia

This is the beginning of a short segment on safety for older drivers.

Many of our home care clients give up activities as they age.  One of these is driving.  While it’s better for everyone to get a dangerous driver off the road, there are many things an older driver can do to stay safe in his senior years.

Elderly Senior Home Care Couple Autumn

Medications

Many older drivers take meds for different ailments.  These can interfere with one’s driving ability.  Decongestants and cold remedies can cause drowsiness.  Tranquilizers, pain pills, antidepressants, cough medicines also affect one’s ability to be alert.

  • If any med you are taking makes you drowsy, DO NOT drive!
  • Discuss with your medical advisors how different meds you are taking may interact with others.  The combined effect may be more dangerous than each one alone.
  • Review all medications with your pharmacist or doctor.
  • Be sure your physician is aware of the non-prescription drugs you are taking.
  • Read the label.  If it says that you should not drive, then don’t!

Physical and Mental Fitness

As with most things in life, the more fit we are, the better prepared we are to do them safely.  It’s no different being behind the wheel of a car.  It takes strength, flexibility and good reaction time.   Older drivers, in particular, should focus on maintaining physical and mental fitness.

  • Walk for at least 20 minutes each day.
  • Light weight training and stretching routines help.
  • Any physical activity – gardening, tennis, golf – helps keep the blood pumping and maintain muscle tone.

Keep your mind strong and flexible!  
It’s a fact that we lose mental agility as we age.  We can keep our edge by exercising our problem solving skills.  Doing jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles and the like all help keep our minds more fit, allowing us to make better decisions when we are driving.

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