Driving is something that most of us take for granted when we’re young, but as we get older, it can be an important way of keeping your independence.

The subject of a loved one needing to stop driving can be a difficult conversation to bring up, you don’t want to embarrass them or hurt their feelings; but at the same time there is nothing more important than your relative’s safety and the safety of those around them. 

What are the legal requirements for an older person to carry on driving?
Once a person is over 70, they will need to renew their driving licence every three years. There are legal health requirements that your loved one must meet and the DVLA have strict rules about driving with certain medical conditions, such as eye problems, dementia, diabetes, epilepsy and Parkinson’s, to name a few.

What if I’m worried about my loved one driving?
Our bodies change when we get older, and those changes may affect your loved one’s ability to drive, for example eyesight may be weaker and reaction times can be slower. It’s important to remember if someone has been driving for a number of years, they will pick up a variety of driving habits, which could put the driver and others at risk.

There is currently no legal requirement to stop driving, so the decision to carry on behind the wheel is down to the driver. If your loved one is still driving in their golden years, keep an eye out for warning signs that may lead to unsafe driving, such as problems with memory or problems with reflexes. If you are worried about their driving, you can get in touch with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, who can offer independent advice and guidance about driving and staying safe. 

How can I help my loved one adjust to life after driving?
In some circumstances, the DVLA may revoke a person’s driving licence. This can be an upsetting time for the driver as they may feel like they are losing their freedom, but there are still ways to ensure that they can lead an independent life. It’s important to do your research and fins a solution that they will be comfortable with. Many public transport companies offer discounted, or even free travel for senior citizens, so your loved one can still go out and about on their own.

At Blenheim House we know how important it is to still be able to get out and about, which is why we have a chauffeur driven car as well as a minibus for our residents to use, giving them a chance to explore our local area.