Helping a loved one navigate the decision of when to limit or stop driving is difficult. There is not a “one size fits all” solution. Each driver and family must consider someone’s total health, mobility and safety when searching for solutions.
See also: Brain health and driving
A considerable amount of research shows that individuals who stop driving suffer a decline in health and general well-being from being isolated at home.
One of the early questions many caregivers ask is, “How do I know if my loved one can still drive?” Determining someone’s fitness to drive is a complex process and should be done based on the driver’s health and driving skills.
Start by getting the facts
Observe their driving as a passenger and make an effort to ride with them over a period of time. Have they expressed concerns about difficult situations or stress about driving? Do they have difficulty with driving tasks? It is important to do your best to stay objective and evaluate what you know.
A new tool from the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation may help caregivers with this fact-gathering exercise. The Fitness-to-Drive Screening Measure Online guides a caregiver through 54 driving skills and produces a rating profile. The profile classifies the skills identified into one of three categories:
1. At-risk driver
2. Routine driver
3. Accomplished driver
This detailed review of skills may help identify risks and provide next steps to help the driver stay safe and healthy. While this tool evaluates skills, the driver’s health care professional is a critical partner in determining a solution.