As a whole, most seniors are generally safe drivers. But the aging process, along with certain medications and medical conditions, can increase risks for older drivers, especially for those over 75, according to The Hartford Advance 50 Team, which together with the MIT AgeLab, produces information for families to address older driver safety.
The risks, though, vary by individual, so there is no set answer to the question of whether a senior should be driving.
The right time to talk about older driver safety is well before there is a problem, say The Hartford and MIT AgeLab experts. Establish an open dialogue, and approach the issue sensitively.
Observe a senior's driving over time. Seniors in focus groups report they're more willing to listen to people who have ridden with them, according to The Hartford Advance 50 Team.
Be supportive and patient. If driving must be limited, recognize this is a major transition in a senior's life. Finding the right balance between safety and independence is an ongoing process. Finally, plan how the senior can get from place to place so he or she is not housebound if driving no longer is an option.
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