Holiday gatherings are the key reason National Drunk and Drugged Driving Month takes place each December. When your parents are older, there’s another reason to stop and take a closer look at impaired driving. Prescription medications can impair reaction times and sharp focus.
Are your parents taking prescription medications each day? Do you know what the side effects are? How do you know if driving is safe when they’re on medications for their different health issues? Rely on these tips to get a better understanding of how to check and what steps to take if they shouldn’t drive.
Go Over Their Prescriptions and OTC Medications
Go online and pull up a list of medications your parents are taking. If they don’t have online medical records, ask if you can go through their prescription bottles with them.
You do need to have HIPAA permissions to access online records if you call the doctor or pharmacist. If you don’t have permission to act as a medical spokesperson for your parents, it’s important to look into that. If something happens to your parents, it’s best to be able to make medical decisions on their behalf.
Once you have a list, go to a site like Drugs.com and enter all of the different medications to check for contraindications and side effects. Any medicine that says “Do not operate machinery…” is a good indicator that they shouldn’t drive. If the medication is short-term, they will be able to drive once they’re done taking it. If it’s a permanent medication, find alternative transportation options.
If there are any over-the-counter (OTC) medications, check the side effects on those. Cold medicines may cause drowsiness. They shouldn’t drive while using them.
Talk to Their Doctors
You may be able to get the doctor to switch a medication to one that has fewer side effects. If your dad can drive and doesn’t want to lose that ability because of one medication, there may be another option. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Would Transportation Services Help?
One handy alternative to driving is home care. Schedule regular visits from professional caregivers to stop by and take your parents shopping, drive them to appointments, or make sure they get to area businesses like hairdressers or banks.
Caregivers can drive your parents to their pharmacy for prescription refills. They can drop them off at a senior center for social activities or take them for a drive. Call to learn more.
If you or an aging loved one are considering a Caregiver in Concord, NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail
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