Seniors: Be Aware of Driving & Medication Side Effects

Most people equate driving with freedom. This freedom – in the form of a driver’s license – is usually obtained in the late teen years with no real specific end. Driving is a complicated task that requires extreme focus and agility and sometimes various medications that seniors are taking can interfere with their ability to drive safely.

Seniors between the ages of 65 and 79 take over 27 prescriptions every single year, and taking just five prescriptions in a day can have a huge negative impact on driving ability. Over the counter medications often come with warning labels, and prescriptions do as well. Keep an open dialogue going with your pharmacist so that they can clearly tell you about any side effects that might hinder your driving ability.

How is driving impacted by daily medications?

  • Seniors may experience a slower than normal reaction time when they take certain medications.
  • Seniors may experience an increase in drowsiness
  • Seniors might have trouble with becoming easily distracted or trouble with concentrating
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Excitability – making reactions unpredictable

Medications that can impair driving ability

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Allergy medications (the ones that cause drowsiness)
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-anxiety meds
  • Anti-depressants
  • Pain relievers
  • Certain OTC drugs
  • Certain herbal supplements
  • Diet pills
  • Stimulants

Consider Alternatives to Driving Yourself

While it’s nice to be able to get in your own car and drive yourself to wherever you need to go, if you must take certain medications that are causing you to have troublesome side effects, there are other options available for you. Consider:

  • Getting rides from family and friends
  • Use the public transportation system
  • Look into senior care services that are available to you
  • Ubers and other taxi services

The best first step is to list all of the medications (including vitamins and OTC products) so that you can share the list with your pharmacist or doctor. From there, they will be able to help you decide on possible alternate medications and any other options you might have.

Do you live in the Raleigh area? Are you curious about elder care in Cary or about how to get free referrals for assisted living in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Garner or Johnston County? Call the Always Best Care Raleigh location today at 919-724-4297 to set up a free consultation. They look forward to hearing from you.

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