Aging gracefully and enjoying the Golden Years can be a wonderful time in any person’s life. The wisdom that is gained through decades of living is priceless, allowing our senior citizens to become resources for insight and advice. While the experience and memories of a well-lived life are important, there are still risks involved with growing older. With an aging body can come several factors that interfere with regular habits, such as driving a car, and unfortunately, adding alcohol into the equation can very quickly spell out disaster, especially when considering the risks for senior citizens and drunk driving.
It is well known that younger drivers must be cautious about drinking and driving in light of careless choices, bad habits and/or peer pressure. The other side of the age spectrum shows that as we grow older, our bodies change, creating a different set of circumstances to take into consideration when drinking. Because of these changes, senior citizens are at a higher risk for DUI/DWI when the physical and mental aspects of aging are ignored.
Vision: Age can cause vision to decrease, creating difficulties while driving sober. With the addition of a drink, this decrease in vision can be much more pronounced.
Reaction time: As we age, our bodies tend to react slower. Alcohol naturally reduces reaction time and a senior citizen may not be able to respond to a dangerous driving situation.
Metabolism: The body’s metabolism naturally slows as we age, and that is true for metabolizing alcohol. What a senior citizen could tolerate drinking at age 25 will be less at age 65 or older, making that .08% BAC much easier to achieve.
Medications: Medicines and prescription drugs can and will interfere with alcohol, creating a dangerous situation. Many senior citizens are on medications that are counter-indicated by alcohol, and can cause negative health and judgment reactions.
Attitude: With the wisdom of age can come a feeling of pride. This pride can lead a senior citizen to make the choice to drink and drive, rather than ask for help or rely on others.
It can be difficult to remind a senior citizen about the dangers of alcohol or drinking and driving, but it can be another of those necessary discussions when it comes to the safety of a loved one. Senior citizens are at risk for DUI/DWI behaviors just like everyone else, and monitoring their consumption of alcohol and driving habits can help to save lives.