How old is too old when it comes to driving? When is it time for seniors to give up their driving privileges?
My 83 year-old grandfather was driving nearly until he died. Had it not been for a sudden head injury caused by a fall he took at a convenient store that led to a stroke, he might still be driving today. Pop-Pop as I affectionately called him was a retired Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Army. He was wonderful with people, loved and was loved by everybody.
Unfortunately my tender-hearted grandfather suffered from degenerative maculation, which adversely effected his ability to see on and off the road. I recall watching him open a safety deposit box at his local church, where he was the head financial secretary. Pop-Pop wearing glasses also used a magnifying glass to be able to see the numbers on the lock he would turn to access the box.
One afternoon Pop-Pop came home with a sizeable ding in his car, which he later told me was caused by a huge bright pink trash dumpster in our neighborhood street. He claimed it happened while he was fiddling with his radio. Some months later Pop-Pop was brought home by paramedics in an ambulance following an accident that occurred just outside our subdivision. He totaled his car and nearly killed himself in the process when he pulled out in front of an oncoming vehicle.
To further illustrate my point, consider an April fools joke I played on my grandfather. Pop-Pop was born on April 2, 1919. It just happened that I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles on April 1st about a year before Pop-Pop died. I had gone to renew my license. Upon coming home (as I was living with my grandparents at the time), I slipped into the wash room where Pop-Pop was shaving.
I told him, “I went to the DMV and renewed my driver’s license today.” Pop-Pop replied, “Yeah.” I said, “Yes, they saw my address and realized I lived with you and therefore want you to come down and take an eye exam.”
Pop-Pop got real quiet and suddenly froze on me. I then happily relieved him by saying, “April fool’s day!”: He caught his breath and said, “You stinker.”
My beloved grandfather died in December of 2001 just before Christmas. He had been driving up until two-and-a-half months before his death. Funny (or frightening for some) his driver’s license, which I later found in his wallet after he died, was dated to expire in 1996.
I wonder how many more senior citizens are driving on expired licenses?
Pop-Pop drove by faith not by sight as I often jokingly said. My prayers seemed to have covered him real well.
I love the elderly deeply. I really do. Yet I love the rest of humanity adversely effected by their bad poor-sighted driving too!
Paul Davis is an expert in dealing with the elderly as he was raised by his grandparents. Paul also cared for his grandparents in their old age preceding their death.
Paul is a mediator, master communicator, negotiator, minister and heart warming keynote speaker.
Paul is the author of several books including Breakthrough for a Broken Heart. He is a life coach (relational & professional), creative consultant, humor being, liberator and dream-maker.
Paul’s compassion for people & passion to travel has taken him to over 50 countries of the world where he has had a tremendous impact. Paul has also brought revival to many in war-torn, impoverished and tsunami stricken regions of the earth. His organization Dream-Maker Ministries is building dreams, breaking limitations and reviving nations!