Last week we posted a tribute to Margaret Dunning, a 102 year old who not only still drives but still does some of her own vehicle maintenance. Ms. Dunning is an inspiration because, let’s face it, how many of us are changing our own oil today much less planning on being able to drive into our late 90s and early 100s? Maybe you’re noticing you’re not as adept behind the wheel as you used to be. Or perhaps you’ve noticed your parents having close calls on the road. Maybe you’re hoping the near misses, both yours and theirs, are coincidences and not indicators of failing eyesight or waning response time. Maybe you’re avoiding asking the question: Is it time to hand over the keys for good?
While the decision to give up driving is a big one with widespread lifestyle repercussions, there are resources to make it easier. First thing to do is test your/their skills. Triple A dedicates a section of its website to Senior Driving including a questionnaire that can help evaluate driving ability. The site also offers information on the physical and mental changes that occur as we age, the ways medication/medical conditions can affect driving skills, and options for optimizing what you have, physically, mentally, and in terms of vehicle accessories to make driving easier and safer. And, if you’re not quite sure how to get the conversation started, Triple A can help with that, too. It never hurts to be prepared. You can bet Margaret Dunning is.