Elderly Drivers: When is it Too Unsafe to Drive?
For elderly people, losing independence is a significant concern. Many of them live on their own, and they need to be fit enough to carry out daily chores without needing help from others. What are the solutions for elderly people who become too weak to drive?
The Autonomy Need of Elderly People
We have many elderly people living alone these days. The problem with today’s society is that each one of us has our own family to look after, and we often don’t live with our parents. You may have two or three children, but once they grow up, they mostly will get married and fledge the nest. As parents, we feel accomplished, but at the same time, we suddenly have to adjust to the feeling of emptiness in the house.
Most elderly people living alone have children and grandchildren whom they visit, and who visit them in return every now and then, but unless they are lucky, their immediate family don’t live close enough to help them with their daily chores. This is especially true for individuals living in smaller towns. Most young people leave their small town in pursuit of better employment in big cities, leaving their elderly parents behind.
In smaller towns, access to public transportation is limited, so most older people rely on their own car. Not being able to drive means they will be isolated and confined to their own home. Therefore, many view their vehicle as an indispensable possession which helps them get through their daily life. The problem is that, when they reach a certain age, or when illness strikes, it becomes too dangerous for them to sit behind the wheel.
Social services and charities have done a great job helping elderly people overcome their difficulties. If you are too weak to go grocery shopping, a social worker can do it for you, and even stop by your home to do the cooking, or distribute cooked meals to you, if you don’t feel fit enough to cater for yourself. Social isolation can be a severe problem many elderly people face. That’s why it’s essential to speak up about your issues with a social worker, or better yet, your immediate family, so they know when to drop by or call to make sure you are ok.