5 Tips for Discussing Unsafe Driving with Your Senior Parent
By Nick Paciello 9 am on
The ability to drive is a significant source of independence, self-sufficiency, and freedom, so talking to your elderly parent about giving up the car keys is a conversation you and your family are probably not looking forward to. Physical and cognitive impairment caused by the aging process can make driving a car dangerous for your loved one, his or her passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. Independence is important, but safety must come first when the two cannot be effectively balanced. When talking to your loved one about this issue, keep the following tips in mind.
1. Be Respectful
Recognize this is an incredibly difficult transition. Be polite but firm. Remind your parent of your love for him or her and your concern for the safety and wellbeing of others on the road.Driving may not be the only safety concern you have about your parent, so you may find extra peace of mind by hiring a professional caregiver. Families looking for top-rated at-home care providerscan reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
2. Provide Specific Examples
Cite particular instances that illustrate how your loved one’s diminished abilities are affecting his or her ability to drive safely. Sharing specific examples, such as your parent causing a fender bender or running a stop sign, will help you explain your concerns for your loved one’s safety as well as the safety of others.
3. Don’t Have the Conversation Alone
Encourage family members and friends who have witnessed a decrease in your parent’s driving skills to join you when discussing your collective concern for his or her safety and the safety of others on the road. Make sure the conversation isn’t confrontational, which could cause your loved one to react defensively. If the discussion is approached with kindness and understanding, it’s much more likely to result in a better outcome.
4. Identify Alternatives to Driving
Fear of isolation and the loss of independence is very real for many elderly drivers who give up their keys. Alleviate your loved one’s anxiety by pointing out the various transportation alternatives he or she will still have available, such as taking public transportation, sharing rides with family, friends, or neighbors, utilizing community shuttles and senior transit services, getting assistance from a home caregiver, or using a motorized wheelchair if local streets and sidewalks are safe.Even if your loved one has to give up driving, he or she can still enjoy a high level of independence.Henderson elder careexperts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
5. Understand the Difficulty of the Transition
Don’t minimize your loved one’s feelings about losing his or her ability to drive. If it’s reasonably safe to do so, consider encouraging your loved one to make a gradual transition from driving to using alternative forms of transportation. An occupational therapist or certified driving rehabilitation specialist can assess your loved one’s driving abilities and recommend steps to ensure his or her safety while he or she makes the transition. The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists and The American Occupational Therapy Association are great places to begin the search for qualified experts. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Henderson seniors can depend on. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (702) 527-7723 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.