Taking the Keys… When Driving Becomes a Safety Concern

It’s never an easy discussion when it comes to talking with an older loved one about his or her ability to drive safely. However, it is a very important conversation, which can’t be avoided.  There are resources available to help you address the issue, so you don’t need to take this on alone. 

There are approximately 46 million people age 65 or older in America and this number is expected to nearly double to 98 million by 2060. Most who fall into this age group live in rural areas that require private vehicles for transportation.  As we age, certain ailments start to affect our ability to safely maneuver a vehicle. 

Challenges of aging which may impair someone’s driving include:

  • Muscle Stiffness/Joint Pain – the ability to look both ways, turn the wheel effectively, and apply pressure to the gas or brake pedal may be affected
  • Low Vision – lighting during different parts of the day or night may impact a senior’s vision when driving. Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration play a large role in many senior’s lives after the age of 80. This affects their ability to see objects, both near and far.
  • Neuropathy – loss of sensation in the hands and feet may affect the senior’s ability to grip the wheel correctly or feel the pedal beneath his or her feet. 
  • Dementia/Cognitive Impairment– understanding and interpreting the traffic signs can lead to danger along with forgetting the way home or to a familiar location. Vision is also affected for many diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Remember to tread lightly! For many seniors, driving is more than the physical act itself. It represents their overall independence and the freedom it has brought them for many years.  If a senior has recently faced losses, driving can be one of the last pieces of independence he or she is holding on to. If driving has proven to be a safety issue and your loved one can no longer drive, be sure that other outlets for making choices and expressing independence, are incorporated in day to day life. Click here to learn more about ride sharing for seniors.

Feel like you need additional guidance or individualized support?

Our team of Certified Senior Advisors® and Certified Dementia Practitioners® has helped hundreds of older adults and their families. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call 617-227-1600 or email

Dovetail Companies provides one point of contact for all services seniors may need when transitioning from their longtime home, minimizing stress and providing peace of mind to focus on the transition rather than the logistics. Dovetail Companies is the parent company to three subsidiary companies; Dovetail Support Services, Dovetail Financial and Dovetail Real Estate Group. For more information, visit or call 617-227-1600.

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