Aging drivers: When is it time to take away the keys?

Special Reports
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GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – With an aging population, there are more elderly drivers on the road than ever before.

Organizations are working to get the word out about safety measures to put in place or how to have the conversation about when it’s time as a family member to take the keys.

While Prince Philip decided to give up driving a few weeks after the 97-year-old British Royal was involved in a car crash, 92 year old Yvonne Roebuck Weber still drives everyday.

Weber’s traveled around the world and keeps an active calendar, so losing her driver’s license would change her life.

“As long as you’re able to travel and to speak to friends and have concerts and things, and go to the theater and so forth, it’s just as if your whole head is being cut off,” Weber said. “I can no longer think of myself as I am going. I am now reliant on other people. That is the problem.”

Andrea Smith, with Senior Action, said it’s important to think about what happens after you take the keys away from a loved one.

“Just not driving is not the end of the conversation, so when you sit down and have that conversation with a loved one, make sure you have a plan,” Smith said.

Senior Action is an organization that provides programs and services for seniors. The organization’s goal is to keep seniors active for as long as possible.

“Statistics are showing us though that people are often will give up driving in their 70’s and people are living into their 100s, so they’re looking at a 30-year time period where they may be at the mercy of other people and able to drive, so that’s really something to think about,” Smith said.

AAA suggests making simple changes like installing seat cushions to improve line of sight or steering wheel covers to help those with arthritis grip the wheel.

Tiffany Wright, with AAA Carolina, said they try to arm seniors with information to help them. 

“We try to make sure we have tools online,” Wright said. “We try to educate and create awareness and a big part of that is that we put out publications and we’re trying to raise awareness about the importance of keeping seniors behind the wheel.”

For Weber, traveling to the grocery store is just as significant as traveling to another country. She’s still able to do both and wants to continue to drive as long as possible.

Experts say living 20 or 30 years without a license can leave your loved one feeling isolated, and they suggest connecting them with organizations that provide transportation or hiring a caregiver who can help with transportation.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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