As we age and our cognitive and physical coordination become less sharp, driving can become more dangerous. Giving up driving is something that all drivers have to discuss and/or think about eventually. If your senior loved one is displaying worrying habits while driving, such as driving too slow or too fast, hitting curbs, or failing to notice objects in their periphery, it might be time to start a discussion with them about finding alternative transportation. Careage Senior Living has detailed some ways to help you navigate this difficult conversation.
A conversation about giving up driving shouldn’t be something you casually bring up during a regular visit. Before you broach the subject, make sure to do your research and prepare yourself. If you think it’ll help your case with your loved one, bring statistics or articles with you, or print up these self-assessment questions from the Department of Transportation. Prepare yourself emotionally for a negative reaction from your loved one. Anticipating that will help you stay calm in the moment.
Stay Patient & Sympathize
While you want to make your concerns known, this isn’t a situation where you want to make your loved one feel as though you’re pushing them into something. Emphasize that you’re worried about their safety and the safety of other drivers, as well as your own emotional well-being. If your loved one becomes frustrated or combative, give them some time to cool down and make sure to address their feelings and concerns.
You’ll want to have answers prepared for the questions your loved one will likely ask, especially regarding how they’ll get around without a car or where they’ll be storing their unused vehicle. Arm yourself with information about local transportation services, bus routes, and explanations of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.
Plan to Continue the Conversation
Giving up driving is an important but often emotionally fraught discussion, and you’re unlikely to be able to work through all the nuances in just one conversation. Go into the talk knowing that this won’t be the end of it. Allowing your loved one time to process their thoughts around the idea will make subsequent talks a little easier.
Conversations like these can be challenging to navigate. We hope we were able to give you a good idea of how to approach this topic with your senior loved one. For more information and advice about helping your loved ones as they age, visit Careage’s blog.