One of the most difficult parts of getting older is being forced to give up some of the activities that you enjoy. Many older people find it particularly difficult to give up driving. It’s no wonder — driving is seen as an important part of becoming an adult and helps an older person maintain their independence.
Seniors love driving so much that they are very reluctant to give up their keys. If they are no longer capable of driving safely, this can lead to some very dangerous situations for both them and other road users.
This article will provide some useful tips on how to convince a senior relative to give up their keys. These tips can help you convince even the most obstinate driver to get off the road.
Are you sure they are struggling to drive?
Before asking an elderly parent to stop driving, it is important to confirm they are having trouble. Don’t assume that your 75-year-old parent is struggling to drive. In many cases, people have been able to safely drive into their 80’s or 90’s.
Ask your elderly relative to drive you somewhere and pay attention to their driving technique. Are they confident behind the wheel? Are they paying attention to other cars on the road and traffic signs? If you notice any serious issues with their driving, make a mental note of the incident. You may have to mention it later on.
Some of the most common signs that your parent is struggling with driving include:
Strategies for getting an elderly adult to stop driving
Once you have ascertained that your elderly relative is struggling to drive, you can take action. Use the following strategies:
Start a conversation about their driving
Start off by asking your loved one if they still feel comfortable when driving — perhaps they already understand that their driving skills are deteriorating. If they don’t realize their driving is worsening, explain the reasons why you think it is.
Be careful how you voice your concerns. Don’t aggressively accuse them of driving poorly, because they will immediately become defensive. Let them know you are worried about their safety. It might take multiple conversations before they admit they are struggling behind the wheel.
Always listen to their concerns. They might be worried about their ability to get to doctor’s appointments or to visit their friends. After they have voiced some concerns, don’t immediately rush to the solutions you have prepared. Listen to all of their concerns, and then find the right time to offer the solutions.
Identify problems affecting their driving
Ask them if a medical problem is affecting their driving. Their poor driving may be caused by an issue with their eyesight or medication. Keep yourself open to the possibility that they might still be able to drive after correcting any problems they are experiencing.
Explain the alternatives to driving
Let your senior relative know that they can still maintain their independence and freedom without a car. Explain some of the other transportation options they will have available to them. Explain how their life might actually get easier without a car!
What if they still refuse to stop driving?
If a loved one refuses to give up their keys after you have pleaded with them, consider contacting third parties. This should only be done if you believe your loved one is a serious danger to themselves or others. This approach can damage your relationship with them and should only be a last resort.
Some of the people you can contact include:
The ramifications of not driving
You should be aware that losing the ability to drive can have serious effects on your elderly relative. For example:
Address these issues by ensuring your relative has plenty of transportation options available. These options may include family members, volunteer organizations who provide free rides, ride sharing companies like Uber or Lyft, taxis, and public transport. Home care staff can also be used to provide your relative with transportation.
How Adult Home Care can help
Adult Home Care provides trained caregivers to help seniors in the comfort of their own home. Our caregivers can provide transport for your loved one — helping them maintain an active social life, get to doctor’s appointments on time, perform their grocery shopping and much more. Your relative will be happy to hand over their keys if they know they will still have their independence and can lead an active life. Some of the other services provided by Adult Home Care include:
If you are interested in learning more about home care, contact us today at 619-940-6561 for a free in-home consultation. We will discuss your parent’s capabilities and determine which services they may require.