For most adults, driving represents freedom and mobility.
However, too many elderly people reach the point where they are no longer safe drivers, due to a number of physical or mental factors. When family caregivers worry that their aging loved one should not be driving anymore, they may avoid the difficult discussion because they don’t want conflict. However, for the senior’s own safety and the health and safety of others on the road, family caregivers need to convince their aging relatives to stop driving.
Start With Compassion
Family caregivers need to know that losing driving privileges can be embarrassing, humiliating and even frightening for elderly adults. Aging affects the body in numerous ways, and many seniors are already depressed and anxious about their lives and abilities. They may be suffering from chronic illnesses and depend on senior care assistance in some form or another. Seniors are slowly losing any number of duties and responsibilities—grown children, retirement, losing loved ones, declining health and more. Losing the ability to drive just adds to their list of challenges they face with growing older.
Bring Up Evidence
Senior drivers need to understand that they are dangerous behind the wheel, so family caregivers need to show them via evidence. If the elderly person has had several accidents, even fender benders, that’s a good start. Other warning signs include ignoring traffic signs, drifting in and out of lanes, experiencing many close calls and getting honked at a lot. Many seniors will be in denial, saying they aren’t that bad. Family caregivers need to convince their aging relative otherwise using examples.
Use Third Party Assessments
Many municipalities have driving assessment tests at their motor vehicle divisions where seniors can go to be evaluated. If their driving skills are declining, the testing center will break the bad news. Doctors can also weigh in on whether their patients should continue to drive or if their physical limitations mean they need to stop. While it can be hard for elderly people to accept the fact that they should no longer be driving, having input from neutral third parties may help convince them.
Provide Transportation Alternatives
Seniors are more apt to consider giving up their keys when they are presented with alternative transportation options. Some alternatives they need to be introduced to include paratransit services, public transportation, private car services, taxis, rideshare companies, senior care assistance, volunteer senior organizations and friends and family help. With coordination and advanced planning, there’s no need for elderly adults to skip out on social events, shopping, appointments and more.
Family caregivers are faced with all kinds of difficult decisions when it comes to caring for their elderly relatives. Convincing them to stop driving may be among the most challenging. However, when family caregivers use compassion, evidence, third-party assessments and transportation alternatives, they have the best chance of getting their loved one on board.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in King City, OR, please contact the caring staff at Integrity In-Home Care.
Call today (503) 660-3755