Driving is often one of the greatest challenges to independent living for senior citizens. The elderly population is often faced with the dilemma of choosing between safety and mobility because of the inherent hazards of the road and the physical limitations associated with aging. Many senior citizens choose to brave the city streets in their own private automobiles, putting themselves and other drivers at risk of serious injury. Others utilize public transportation and find that it is an option which is often ill equipped to accommodate the specialized needs of senior citizens. Some seniors resolve themselves to the confinements of their immediate neighborhood or residence, thus making a compromise in mobility to satisfy the responsibility of ensuring personal safety.
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Community Care offers a solution to the problem of balancing freedom of mobility with safety concerns through companion driving services. This is a function of Community Companions' senior home care which frees the client from a home-bound situation, to enjoy the simple aspects of his/her lifestyle without the stress and worry of the transportation dilemma. Your companion home care provider can chauffeur you or your loved one to: his/her doctor's appointments, run everyday errands such as grocery shopping, attend religious services, pick up prescription medications from the local pharmacy or drug store, social outings, visit family and friends, enjoy public parks and museums, keep hair and nail appointments, or anywhere else he/she might need to go. Put simply it is the freedom of mobility with the peace of mind that the senior in your life will not find himself/herself in a dangerous situation.
Medical conditions that put elderly drivers at greater risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
When evaluating whether such a service is right for you or your loved one, it is important to weigh all of the factors involved. Here are some key of those factors to consider in making a decision regarding this kind of assistance. Medical realities put elderly drivers at higher risk of getting into traffic accidents. As we age eyesight and hearing loss play a larger role in determining what we are able to do unassisted in our daily lives. For senior citizens, these realities of aging make them particularly susceptible to driver-error causes of traffic accidents. Vision loss, specifically, can greatly increase the likelihood of a collision. The loss or reduction of depth perception, or worse yet, the onset of cataracts, glaucoma or uncorrected and acute astigmatisms severely decrease a driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Any or all of these visual problems can be caused and/or exacerbated by the normal aging process. They are all common ailments amongst the elderly population. While some conditions may be correctable, in most situations these effects of aging occur so gradually that the senior may not realize the extent of the problem. In these cases an elderly driver can be an unwitting hazard to oneself and others.
Failing eyesight is not the only compelling medical reason to consider driving assistance from Community Care. Hearing loss can prove to be an equally hazardous condition on the streets and freeways of a city. The ability to hear emergency sirens, screeching tires and car horns can prove to be a necessary skill for defensive driving. The roadways present hazards from numerous directions. In order to operate a vehicle safely and responsibly, an alert driver must be able to hear the dangers he/she cannot immediately see. A fast approaching emergency vehicle is the perfect example. For most drives the sound of a fire engine's siren is the most immediate indication of its location and direction of travel. But for someone with significant hearing loss, as do most senior citizens, this essential warning is lost. A dangerous situation results in which the emergency vehicle may be right on the elderly driver's bumper before he/she see the flash of its lights in the rearview mirror. Another such example is the "blind spot" present in all vehicles. This gap in the visual coverage capability of a car's mirror system means that at times the only indication one might have of an impending sideswipe while changing lanes is the honk of the vehicle in the adjacent lane. Sever hearing loss may prevent such audible cues to avoiding danger and result in traffic accidents.
Finally, the stress of driving on gridlocked city streets and congested freeway systems can put undo strain on older drivers. The stresses inherent in metropolitan driving can aggravate existing physical conditions. Seniors with congestive heart failure, hypertension, who have suffered from a previous heart attack or have a history of heart arrhythmias, and those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma, may be putting themselves though unnecessary strain by insisting on driving. It is a contentious medical decision to seek the assistance of a caring professional driver in these cases.
Diminishing reflexes can increase the likelihood of an elderly driver causing a traffic accident.
The world at highway speeds is a treacherous place for any driver. This is especially true for elder drivers. It is a physiological fact that a person's reflexes slow as one enters his/her golden years. This slowing continues with age which has a naturally adverse affect on his/her driving skills. The effect of arthritis compounds the problem and can make the preciously brief moment that separates accident avoidance from calamity an insurmountable obstacle. Even an arthritic-free senior will struggle to have sharp enough reflexes to avoid many accidents. Common occurrences such as hydroplaning on wet road conditions, the sudden flash of break lights when quickly approaching a breaking vehicle, or a child darting across the street after a stray basketball can become a life-altering event to a senior who cannot react fast enough!
In the event that a senior citizen is involved in a traffic accident, the consequences are often greater. Elderly people are generally frailer than younger people and are less able to heal when they suffer physical injury. The effects of osteoporosis can mean broken or fractured bones from the sudden yank of a taught seatbelt or the jarring of a steering wheel crashing into the driver's body. Furthermore, because older people are generally smaller and have comparably poorer vision, they statistically sit closer to the steering wheel than the average American driver does. This presents a greater risk of serious injury resulting from the deployment of airbags. All of these factors increase the severity of injuries sustained by an elderly driver when involved in a traffic accident.
The dangers of roadside car problems to elderly drivers.
Elderly drivers are ill-equipped to deal with breakdowns. A breakdown such as a tire blow out or running out of gas is typically an inconvenience; but for a senior citizen it can be much worse. Those in their golden years often lack the physical strength or stamina to change a tire or push a car to the shoulder of the road. They likely will not be physically able to walk to a gas station to use a phone or fill a gas can. This means that when an elderly driver is stranded from a breakdown, he or she must wait with the vehicle for help to arrive. Tragically, all too often such an event proves life threatening, especially during the winter months. In the bitterly cold temperatures of New York, an elderly person can quickly suffer hypothermia. If the senior is able to leave the car running, as in the flat tire scenario, there is a definite risk of affixation from carbon dioxide build up in the vehicle's cabin.
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