Muscle and joint pain affects everything that your senior does, including driving. If she’s trying to hold onto her independence for as long as possible, she may not be interested in talking about how this affects her ability to keep driving. It’s important for you and her senior care aide to understand how each area of driving is impacted by the changes she’s experiencing.
Controlling the Steering Wheel
Controlling the car, mainly via the steering wheel, is crucial. It helps if your senior’s car has power steering, of course, as well as other power and automatic functions. But even with this type of assistance, your senior still needs to be able to hold onto the steering wheel and properly use it to control the movements of the car.
Checking Her Blind Spot
The blind spot is a big problem for a lot of different drivers of all ages. Your senior needs to be able to check all of her mirrors and, ideally, check over her shoulder before she makes a turn. There are some assistive devices that can help with this, like built-in blind spot protections in the car and mirror extensions. But if your senior isn’t able to check her blind spot and is not using these assistive tools, she’s risking an accident.
Reacting Quickly to Changing Conditions
Driving involves reacting quickly to what other drivers are doing. Your senior may need to brake quickly or use evasive action in order to avoid a collision. Pain and stiffness can make quick reactions really difficult for your senior. She may find that her reaction times are a lot slower than they ever used to be.
What Can Your Senior Do and How can Senior Care Help?
Your senior needs to talk to her doctor about what she can do about pain and stiffness in her joints and muscles. There may be more options available than she realizes. She may also want to consider giving up driving, particularly if it’s become especially difficult for her. Senior care providers are an excellent option for aging adults who find driving difficult but who still have an active life they want to lead.
At some point, driving may not be an option for your senior for a variety of reasons, including how uncomfortable she may be as she continues to try to drive herself. Being prepared for that eventuality can help her to be more accepting of that decision. Focusing on her comfort can help her quality of life to improve, too.