Safe Driving Is Possible For Older People If They Are Prepared

by Medindia Content Team on  September 4, 2005 at 11:29 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
Safe Driving Is Possible For Older People If They Are Prepared
In spite of health problems afflicting the older population its possible to drive safely if they take the correct precautions and preparations.

According to the latest edition of Harvard Men's Health Watch, chronic illnesses and the use of various medications increase the risk for auto accidents. Even normal, healthy aging can take a toll on a man's reflexes, reaction time, and sensory abilities. But simple preparations and precautions can help keep older men safely on the road.

For example:
· Vision: A checkup may find problems that can be corrected in time to prevent a crash. An Alabama study of cataract patients found that corrective surgery cut the risk of car crashes in half.
· Heart disease: If your heart disease is important enough to require medication, it could be significant enough to affect your driving. Ask your doctor. In nearly all cases, you'll get a green light. Even so, don't drive if you don't feel well.
· Cognitive impairment: Minor memory lapses that occur with normal aging should not pose any problem, but the forgetfulness, impaired judgment, and loss of directional skills that suggest dementia are very troublesome. The danger is compounded because many people with cognitive impairment don't know they have a problem. A man concerned about memory problems (or his spouse) should seek an evaluation with a doctor.

Researchers also offer some advice for safe driving for the elderly people. Some of their recommendations are the following:

· You must work with your doctor to reduce your risk of falling ill and to detect and treat problems early.
· Stay mentally and physically active to keep your mind and body sharp.
· Consider a driving evaluation for seniors, and don't be too proud—or stubborn—to adjust your driving patterns to fit new realities, even if they are unpleasant.

Source: Newswise

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