Should Your Aging Parent Be Behind the Wheel?

Elder care is often thought of in relation to the decision of whether to put an aging parent into a nursing home, or even the need for living wills to execute or bypass potentially life-saving treatments. These are crucially important topics, of course, but many aspects of organizing care for a senior citizen are a lot more mundane.

For instance, one thing you may struggle with is the idea that your loved one is driving when they shouldn’t be. Perhaps their vision and reflexes have deteriorated to the point that you feel they could pose a significant danger to themselves or others. How do you make the determination of whether an elderly person should be driving? And how do you bring up that conversation when you know you are bound to meet with resistance?

Here are a few tips to help you get started…

Assess Their Driving Abilities and Risk

The first step is to understand what you’re working with. There is a big difference between a slow driver and a dangerous one. If your parent is simply cautious, they are probably unlikely to cause too much trouble. On the other hand, if they are running red lights, bumping into cars and buildings, or forgetting routes and traffic laws, then you have a more serious issue to deal with.

Not sure how serious the situation is? That leads us to the next point.

Do Your Research on Seniors and Driving

Organizations like the AARP have lots of information on seniors and driving. You can visit their website to read about risk factors and statistics. You might even convince your aging loved one to have a look with you. That way, the two of you can research together. They will get a better understanding of your concern, and you might be able to better tell whether the situation is a dangerous one or not.

There are rarely cut-and-dry decisions and solutions to be found when it comes to seniors and driving, but it’s easier to move forward when you have more information from an impartial third party.

Take Their Keys, Not Their Independence

If it is time for Mom or Dad to stop driving, make sure they understand that you aren’t trying to cut them off from the world. As with teenagers, many senior citizens see their keys as a ticket to freedom and independence. Take that away and they can feel like they are being locked away in the house to be isolated forever. Show them that isn’t the case by hooking them up with public transportation, rideshare options, or even relatives who can give them a lift now and again.

Also remember that your senior might need to travel for meals, medical appointments, trips to the pharmacy, and other normal activities. You’ll need a plan in place to help them get what they need in the event that they won’t be driving themselves.

Want Help Making Sense of Elder Care Solutions?

The process of organizing care for my elderly mother and father made me realize just how much there is for most of us to learn and do. So, I put together a book that shares my experiences, lessons, and tips for simplifying the process. ORDER my new book on Amazon today!

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