Improving Skills

As a senior, it is possible for you to improve your skills and extend the number of years you can spend safely behind the wheel. Suggestions include:

Driver refresher courses
Driving classes designed for seniors can refresh your memory and allow you to re-hone your skills. They also provide tips for focusing your concentration while driving.

Talk with your doctor and pharmacist
Many medications, even over-the-counter products, can cause sleepiness or disorientation, and you should be aware of the side effects before you take to the road. And as people age, side effects from medications can become more acute.

If you cannot handle something as basic as turning your head to look behind you, you are a danger to yourself and others on the road. Exercise can strengthen muscles and joints, increasing mobility and reflexes. Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

Seniors who choose to give up driving may examine alternatives that will allow mobility, and the assistance of families and friends is crucial. Suggestions include:

Public transportation
Even before you give up your keys, using a bus or train system can help you restrict your driving to times that are absolutely necessary.

Enlisting younger family members as chauffeurs
This requires a degree of cooperation and communication in families. Conflicting schedules should be adjusted to spread the responsibility to as many people as possible.

Senior shuttle vans
Some communities offer transportation services for seniors at little or no cost. Check with your local senior center or Area Agency on Aging to find out if your community offers these services and what restrictions might apply.
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