Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day...and When to Give t Up

If you know an aging independent-living senior, most likely his or her greatest concern is maintaining that INDEPENDENCE. In a perfect world, we would all be able to mentally and physically care for ourselves as we age. Unfortunately, especially with all the advances in medicine that prolong our lives, that is too often NOT the case.

Driving is probably the hallmark of independence. As long as we can find our keys to GET to the car, we feel a strong sense of freedom. Getting groceries, heading to a doctor's appointment, visiting a friend or attending church is simple, because we simply get in the car whenever we feel like it. No one wants to give up driving, but here are some issues to consider:
Limited neck mobility
Slowed reflexes/stiff muscles in arms

If you have trouble hearing, you may not hear that siren or warning honk, or even the loud motorcycle approaching.
Decreased vision (think cataracts and macular degeneration)- well, this seems obvious, but you can see cars with pretty poor vision. However, you need to be able to read SIGNS, too, as well as see colors of lights.
Stiff neck? You can't turn your head to check your blind spots.
Slow or stiff muscles- you can't manuever your car quickly enough to react to sudden changes.

Please check out an earlier blog on Driving Safely while Aging Gracefully.
BOTTOM LINE: There are many options to driving yourself that do NOT involve giving up your independence. Please do NOT wait to give up or limit your driving until you've hurt your car, yourself or another person.

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