On Elders and Automobiles

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Our aging parents/grandparents are not as spritely and agile as they used to be, but for as long as they have good use of their physical and mental faculties, they should still be able to get behind the wheel and drive. Healthy walks are good for them (and us), but there are just some distances that need to be traversed by a vehicle, and sometimes, public transportation just isn’t available.

My folks are of senior level as well, and even if I know that my father is a notoriously careful driver, I just can’t shake the concern that with him nearing seventy years of age, that his body is a little more prone to misfiring in one way or the other. I can’t really stop him from driving, but there are a few precautions that I insist on so as to ensure that he doesn’t go out there unready for an event that might compromise his health or safety:

Towing Service/Auto Club Subscription

Changing a tire may be peanuts to a young one, but it might prove to be more exhausting for someone advanced in years. Make certain that your driving senior citizen has an active subscription to a 24-hour towing service that covers the areas that he usually drives to.

In addition to that, also make certain that the vehicle has the right tools to make rudimentary fixes on the road, just in case the towing service can’t reach his/her vehicle. Given that they can’t exert themselves too much, have easier to use; power tools where applicable. Of course, spare parts and compounds like fan belts, brake/power steering fluid, auto fuses, and of course, spare tires. Yes, it would be ideal that you stuff an extra tire in addition to the default spare. You can never be too prepared.


Technical Aids

There are gadgets you can add to their vehicles to help them drive safely and drive well. Along with your usual GPS (one of the less-technical, easier to read and understand models, with a clear voice), there are devices to keep them from falling asleep when on longer trips, as well as backing sensors to avoid any fender benders when parking. Medical alert systems on smartphones or as stand-alone devices would also be great.

Just make sure the aids are easy enough to use as the elders are not always savvy with current technology. Oh, and just like in the picture above, if they have glasses, make sure they use ‘em.


A Companion

Have a responsible adult tag along. This solution may not always be available, but when it is, insist on it. Having a secondary driver and a conversation mate will certainly make driving easier and safer for your beloved senior.

If you can, be the companion. It’s a great way to spend time with them, after all. Just don’t be too much of a backseat driver; it annoys any driver, senior or not. Still, if they have difficulty negotiating the road or the weather conditions, do not hesitate to offer to drive for the rest of the journey.


I wish you and your beloved elders a safe journey on the roads!


About The Author

Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and still drives her mom to the mall now and then. Stacey and a group of her closest friends have a blog, Word Baristas.

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