While some car manufacturers are adding senior-friendly features on new vehicles the fact remains that there will be a huge influx of drivers over age 70 on the roads in the next several years. Slowing reflexes and fading eyesight can affect reading signs and depth perception skills even if senior citizens don’t want to admit it.
Retirement communities like Galloway Ridge in the triangle region of North Carolina provide parking for resident-owned vehicles but they also provide transportation. It happens that many end up joining friends on the community transporter rather than drive on their own, so the car sits unused for a long time.
When seniors do venture out in the driver’s seat, there are some safe ways to be cautious while driving:
• Avoid high-traffic roads and highways and reduce speed
• Arrange to drive only in the daylight
• Plan routes to avoid left turns across traffic if possible
• Make certain lens prescriptions are correct
As a passenger there are warning signs that it might be time for the driver to re-assess transportation and automobile ownership. If the driver:
• Is struggling to see clearly and read the dashboard
• Cannot read street and traffic signs
• Is squinting and discomfort from the glare of on-coming traffic
• Exhibits reduced peripheral vision
• Reacts with slow reflexes and over-brakes or over-accelerates
• Drives too slowly in traffic
Few people want to consider the possibility that they should no longer drive. But senior citizens who reside in a retirement community like Galloway Ridge, transportation is not a problem. In fact, many say they can get everywhere they need to get – or want to get – through the planned activities and community vehicles.
With exercise facilities, group activities, salons, barbershops and even the library on the North Carolina campus, most everything is within a few steps around the corner. That’s why it’s called a community!