Talking with a parent about giving up driving can be difficult. Because of this, adult children might avoid having this discussion. Then an accident occurs and the senior may be injured or cause someone else to be.
A few reasons to start talking to your parents about driving:
- Older bodies have a tougher time withstanding physical trauma.
- Elderly drivers have a greater risk of injury or death as a result of an accident.
- Senior drivers have a harder time recovering from an accident.
If you are struggling to initiate a conversation about driving to a senior, these tips will help.
4 Tips for Talking with a Parent about Giving up Driving
- Be understanding.
When talking about a sensitive topic like driving, it’s important to consider the emotional toll not driving can have on seniors. Driving provides them with a sense of independence and is usually their only mode of transportation.
Giving up driving can mean:
- Increasing reliance on friends and family members.
- Feeling like a burden to their loved ones.
- Limiting their ability to leave the house.
When talking to a parent about giving up driving, it’s important to be considerate of these things.
- Do your research.
Before starting a conversation about your parent’s driving, do your research. Not only will this allow you to understand their concerns, but it will also prepare you to offer solutions to seniors driving.
For example, if senior drivers are concerned that their ability to leave the home will be limited if they give up driving, you can provide them with a list of alternative modes of transportation available in their area.
- Explore modifications before taking away their keys.
There are many age-related physical changes that can make it difficult to drive. Increased difficulty doesn’t necessarily mean they need to stop driving altogether.
There are often modifications that can create a safer driving experience for seniors, allowing them to extend their driving years.
Here are two modifications to explore:
- Only drive during the day. If night vision is an issue, suggest that they limit their driving to the daytime.
- Explore add-ons designed for seniors. For example, many seniors can benefit greatly by using a larger rear-view mirror.
You might also consider attending a CarFit event. CarFit events give seniors the opportunity to see how well their car fits them. They also provide resources to help them enhance their safety on the road.
- Know your place.
A common misconception is that there is a certain age when older adults should stop driving. That is simply not the case. Whether a senior should drive is determined by ability, not age.
Approach the conversation like a partner, not a parent. You are there to help them and guide them to make decisions that are best for their health and abilities.
Start the Conversation about Driving Today
If you suspect that your senior loved one is no longer safe to drive, the best thing you can do is talk to them before an accident occurs.
If you are still unsure how to start a conversation about driving, please feel free to contact us for additional guidance. Call us at 800-304-8061 to speak with one of our senior care advisors for free.
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