Community Blog

What Makes Driving so Difficult for an Aging Adult?

By Ketan Shah

Big changes start to happen for your aging adult as she grows older, especially when it comes to activities like driving that she may have done for decades. These changes and difficulties can mean that your senior needs to stop driving sooner than she expects.

Changes to Vital Senses

Your senior's hearing and her vision are truly vital when it comes to driving. If she can't see or hear well, she may miss crucial cues that let her know something is wrong. It's a good idea to have your elderly family member's vision and hearing tested regularly to spot any changes.

Muscle Pain or Stiffness

Stiffness and pain in muscles, particularly in arms and legs, makes driving much more difficult for your aging adult than it used to be. Your senior may find it difficult to control the car if her arms and shoulders are in pain. Likewise, working the pedals is difficult if her legs, hips, or feet are not functioning well.

Neck and Back Pain

Neck and back pain is similar to pain and stiffness in other areas of her body, but your senior may not realize how vital her neck and back are to driving. With pain and stiffness in these two areas, your elderly family member may not be able to look over her shoulder or sit upright in the vehicle.

Loss of Strength

Besides pain and stiffness, loss of muscle strength is a big problem for your aging adult. She may not have the strength in her muscles to press on the pedals or to grip the steering wheel. Strength can be rebuilt, but it takes time.

Slower Reflexes

Your senior may be experiencing slower reaction times than she's used to from previous years. These slower reflexes may mean that she reacts much more slowly than she should in order to respond to what's happening in front of her on the road.

Cognitive Changes

Changes to how your senior's brain works means that she may not process information the way she did in the past. She may also find it more difficult to remember where she's going, how to get there, or even whey she was going. All of that can make driving extremely difficult and even dangerous.

One solution that can help quite a bit is to hire elderly care providers who can drive for your senior. They may not necessarily drive every time your senior needs to go somewhere, but they're available when driving is just too difficult to do safely.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care in San Jose, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.