Solutions to address driving problems that might have different probable causes include:
Sometimes the reasons for driving problems aren't clear. A driver might run through a stop sign because they:
Collect as much information as you can to share with the older adult's health professionals, including:
Only health professionals can determine what's causing the older adult's driving to change.
The health reasons for driving problems might be treatable or reversible. For example, adjusting medications or correcting vision problems can make driving safe. Taking driving courses, changing driving habits or making adjustments to the car also help.
The information you collect can help health professionals identify, treat and manage the health causes of the older adult's driving problems. If you're not sure who to contact, ask the older adult's primary care provider.
Tell health professionals about any driving concerns and ask questions during appointments. Ask if any new medications, diagnoses or treatments might affect driving.
For example, conditions that affect vision, muscle strength, mobility or nerve function can affect driving.
Make sure that the older adult gets thorough physical and eye exams every year.
Ask a pharmacist or other health professional to review all the older adult's medications. Ask if any might affect driving. Sometimes, changing or reducing medications can help make driving safer.
For a thorough medication review:
Confusion or problems with judgment or memory can be caused by medications, lack of sleep, treatable health issues or serious health conditions.
If the older adult has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia, the older adult will need to stop driving at some point. Discuss driving "retirement" with the older adult, as early as possible. Including health professionals, social workers or others who the older adult trusts might make conversations easier.
Ask if the older adult would like to have a professional driving assessment by an occupational therapist. The therapist can help determine if it is safe for the older adult to drive, and if so, suggest ways to make driving safer and more comfortable.
Once the health causes of the older adult's driving problems are identified, you can explore whether changes might improve driving safety.
Changes that can help include: