Top 10 Hazards Of Elderly Driving

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Tens of thousands of senior citizens will die in traffic accidents this year. Many of those car accidents will happen after loved ones try and fail to keep that elderly driver from getting behind the wheel and could easily be averted.

So many seniors see losing driving privileges as losing freedom and independence. It is very, very difficult for elders to admit that they cannot drive. For children, it seems uncomprehending  because they go from seeing their parent as independent to individuals who can’t do things for themselves.

This article looks at top 10 hazards that put elders at risk when driving.

 

1. Cataract:

Cataract can be defined as the clouding of the les of the eye. This affects someone’s vision to varying degrees. First of all clumps of protein can reduce the sharpness of an image reaching the retina. When that happens, it not only clouds the lens, but reduces the light that reaches the retina. Cataracts are very common in elderly people. By the age of 80 at least half of Americans have had cataract or have gone through cataract surgery.

 

2. Heart & Stroke:

Heart & Stroke are the major forces that cause impaired driving. I have a friend who was crushed by a 20 wheeler whose driver suddenly died of a heart attack. He lost 3 months of his life, lying in a coma. In May of 2011, 2 pedestrians were killed in Toronto when the driver suffered a fatal heart attack. This may happen to anyone, but at least we can do our part to do something about it.

 

3. Lyme Disease:

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorferi. Ticks are the most common causes of Lyme Disease. They receive the bacteria when feeding on mice, squirrels, birds and other small animals that carry the bacteria. Individuals with Lyme Disease have difficulty with cognitive functions. They may become lost in familiar locations when driving. They may also have difficulty following directions while behind the wheel. Losing track in the middle of a task also is a common problem individual with Lyme Disease face.

 

4. Glaucoma:

This is a form of an eye disease which affects the optic nerve in the eye. It is often associated with elevated pressure in the eye. The pressure leads to damage in the eye, which may cause blindness. 6 million people in the United States suffer from the disease and are blind as a result. There are no specific symptoms. Many people are thus unaware that they have it.

 

5. Dementia:

Increasingly people with dementia and Alzheimer’s are getting into repeated fender benders and accidents. 4 million Americans suffer from this, especially those over the age of 65. Many cities now require a Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) Test to be done. This is helpful in identifying unsafe drivers.

 

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