Driving Your Elder

Dear Doctor Marion,
I don’t want to treat my great Aunt like a child when I drive with her. How can I buckle her up so I know she’s safe? After all, she is an adult.
Hunter in Washington

Dear Hunter,

As caregivers, we often have to drive an elder relative to the doctor’s office, a social outing, or to the movies. Although you are helping an adult, you need to use common sense and caution. It is most important to make sure that she is strapped in securely using a seat belt. If she doesn’t like to be strapped in, explain the benefits and safety features to her. The seat belt could save her life in case of an accident. Make sure she is comfortable and that the strap isn’t too tight around her waist and/or chest.

The car doors also need to be locked, and if she requires any medication, it must be in hand in case any kind of unforeseen delay occurs. With an older person, it’s always better to anticipate potential problems and plan ahead, so I also recommend that you have emergency items like food, water, and sanitary supplies along for the ride.

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