Often times, for aging adults one of the hardest things to deal with is the feeling of losing their independence. The ability to drive and transport themselves is often something they want to hold on to for as long as possible, even when it is not always safe.
If you are concerned about the ability for an aging loved one in your life to drive, you should address your concerns promptly and honestly. Delaying the inevitable conversation could result in an accident that could otherwise be avoided.
How to talk to them
Plan ahead. Be prepared for the conversation to be met with opposition and frustration. Driving is a privilege that many older adults are not willing to give up, even when they know they should.
Be ready to listen. You should also keep an open mind and be willing to listen to the objections and concerns that your aging loved one has. You need to be able to offer solutions to their questions as well as words of encouragement during the transition.
Chances are, your loved one is not going to voluntarily surrender their ticket to mobility and independence. And by law, you can not force them to stop driving unless they have dementia or other serious ailment. Ultimately, it is their choice whether or not to stop driving.
Try a plan where they just drive less
Develop a regular schedule to stop by your loved one’s home with supplies such as groceries household items, medicines and just for a visit. Offering in-home companionship and running errands for your loved one will reduce the likelihood they will need to leave the home.
Keep driving times for your aging loved ones as safe as possible by reducing the amount they drive in bad weather or at night time. If it is snowing and they have a doctor’s visit or some other need to get out of the house, find an alternative to them driving themselves as the safety risks are heighten during bad weather.
How to stop them from driving
If your loved one is still legally able to drive, but you are convinced it is hazardous and unsafe, it may be time to force the issue.
To better help your loved one understand the situation, call a family meeting and get as many people as possible on board. Seeing the concern from multiple family members may help your aging loved one better understand the seriousness of the situation.
Consult a doctor or expert that your loved one feels comfortable with and trusts. Hearing the opinion and recommendation from a professional may make the transition easier.
The most important thing to remember when beginning the discussion regarding driving is to remain objective. Consider the impact and sense of a loss of independence the decision will have on your loved one. It is not going to be easy and opening up a fair and honest discussion rather than strictly enforcing a mandate will help the transition go as smooth as possible.
Does your aging loved one need help with transportation?
My Choice Home Care understands you have a busy schedule. If at anytime you are unable to transport your elderly friend or family member please contact us about our solutions. Fill out the contact form at bottom of this page or give us a call at 1.828.200.9000