Could the Loss of Driving Ability be Impacting Your Parent's Health?
July 26, 2016
Senior Care in Santa Cruz CAAugust is National Traffic Awareness Month. This is the perfect time to be thinking about how to help your parent stay safer when traveling or encountering traffic. If your parent is no longer driving, now is also a fantastic time to think about how this could also be impacting them. As you think about what you can do to help keep your parent safer and healthier related to traffic, it is important to also consider that their loss of driving ability could be impacting their health and safer as well. Addressing that can help them to live a better lifestyle as they age in place. Some of the ways that loss of driving ability could be impacting your parent's health include:
- Depression. In many situations, not driving any longer can be a tremendous emotional blow for your parent. Independence is a valuable concept for all people and driving often represents independence and freedom. When they are dealing with challenges or limitations that keep them from being able to drive, they can feel as though they have lost this control and autonomy. This can lead to depression and withdrawal that impacts not only their mental and emotional health, but their physical health and wellbeing as well. This is worsened if they were once accustomed to participating in a variety of activities and now do not because of not driving.
- Loss of motivation. Depression can also lead to loss of motivation. This means that they are not going to be as compelled to follow through with treatment or care guidelines to keep themselves healthy or to find ways to stay active and engaged. This can mean that their rate of physical decline is dramatically increased.
- Disconnection. Unless you live very close to many different entertainment opportunities, driving is often required for living a life that is engaged with the world around you. Not having this connection can leave your parent feeling disconnected. Not only is this hard on their mental and emotional health, but it also means less social interaction. This furthers the negative mental and emotional impact, and can also mean that your parent is not engaged with others who may be able to detect when they are suffering health complications and issues.
- Inactivity. Inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for a wide variety of health issues. Inactivity allows the body to start to break down and suffer from health issues, and can cause your parent to gain weight, which puts then at further risk. Unfortunately, no longer driving can mean that your parent is not living as active a lifestyle as they once did, putting them at this risk.