Having the ability to drive ourselves places represents our freedom and power. How do you then determine when your parents should stop driving?
It wouldn’t be simple to stop. We also recognize how challenging it can be to bring up the subject of giving up driving with aging parents or other loved ones.
In fact, research has shown that talking about sensitive subjects like final desires, finances, or selling the property is easier than requesting that an elderly parent or loved one give up driving. Here are tell-tale signs that your parent should stop driving and how to gently convey what’s best for them.
Common Signs That it is Dangerous to Continue Driving
Go on a ride with them and observe their abilities. While you’re doing so, keep a mental list of any problematic habits, and once you’re alone, note them down. Talking about specific issues rather than using generalizations can be a crucial and effective way of conveying the need to give up driving in your conversation with them later on.
Here are some signs to look out for that could signal that it’s too dangerous for your parent to continue being behind the wheel:
- Too fast or too slow a speed for the road’s requirements
- Frequently occurring scuffs, dents, and scratches on the car
- Delayed reaction to unexpected circumstances
- Getting lost, especially in places they should know well
- Being easily distracted or having trouble focusing
- Trouble entering or and keeping within the proper traffic lane
- When backing up or making right turns, they hit or mount curbs
- Having several near misses
If you observe one or more of these signs, you may want to start thinking about having a conversation with them to persuade them to stop driving, in the interest of their safety. Here’s how to go about doing so
Demonstrate Empathy and Understanding
A significant adjustment in lifestyle is the loss of their independence by giving up driving. Put yourself in their position and maintain a casual tone when bringing up the matter. Be respectful and acknowledge that it’s not a simple lifestyle adjustment to make.
For instance, you could say, “Mom, I know this may be difficult for you, but we need to talk about your driving.” Then, without passing judgment, describe any instances you have observed that have resulted in your bringing about this dialogue. Getting their opinions is crucial as well, so don’t forget to let them speak.
If you encounter annoyance, aggression, or denial, remain composed and keep your emotions in check.
Offer Transportation Alternatives
- Look into local train, bus, and subway routes. Some senior assisted living communities even provide senior citizens with a reduced fare.
- Although it can be expensive, hiring a driver or taxi service is a possible alternative you can consider. However, some aging parents may be wary about using such services.
- Many retirement communities provide easy and scheduled transportation to doctor’s appointments, shopping malls, and neighborhood events and programs.
No matter the solution, just remember that it’s best to convey your concerns to your parents as soon as you start observing the signs that tell you they could be unsafe behind the wheel!