Tag Archives: ability to drive

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

Posted by on December 10, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

This second week in December marks Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. That’s a great reason to broach the subject with your senior about what their future plans are for when their driving becomes less than reliable.

Bringing it up early – well before you think there’s a problem – can help plant the seed in their mind and yours. Be sure that when you discuss the issue, it’s a dialogue, not a lecture. Ask them about their thoughts: How would they get around? How would it make them feel? Would they need to be living elsewhere? What kind of family and friend support would they need?

Getting started early means that it’s not a threat, so it’s easier to talk about it. And then the ideas and the contingency plans are there for later. And you can settle on times to discuss the idea again: in six months or a year, after a traffic ticket, after a minor accident.

But what if you’re already concerned about their driving, and they’re simply not willing to discuss the issue? There are still things you can do. If you have power of attorney for your parent, or your parent has said its okay for you to talk to the doctor, you can bring up the issue with their physician. State your concerns and then listen to what they think are the next best steps. The doctor may be willing to speak to them about the issue, or give them some tests that may answer questions about how they’re doing with their sight, hearing and more. You can also request that your senior take a driving refresher course from AAA or AARP. This way, the senior can be given an opportunity to show you that they’re fine. Try taking the “blame” for the idea: say you’re worried and they could make you feel better if they’re willing to take the course for you.

Open communication is best, so even if it may be awkward, give it a shot. And keep in mind that self-driving cars are probably just around the corner!

When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

Posted by on February 19, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Elder car keys

Just yesterday, a news story broke about a 92-year-old man who hit nine cars during his attempt to leave a parking lot. In Wisconsin, where this event took place, the DMV renews driver’s licenses every eight years. The difference between someone who is 84 and 92 is fairly significant, so it’s up to the family and the caregivers to help keep an eye on those seniors who are still driving, not only in Wisconsin, but everywhere.

If you are concerned that your senior is a danger to themselves or to others, that is enough to at least start talking to them about the issue. If they are willing to listen, great! First thing to talk about is if there is a reason for the changes in their driving. Age alone is not an indicator; it’s all about how they are doing. Are they on a medication that makes them drowsy or otherwise impaired? Are they currently ill and sickness may be affecting their driving? Are they seeing okay? Has their depth-perception changed? Are their driving issues caused by slower reaction times? Is that just because of aging or is there a different reason?

If you’re only just starting to be concerned, you can look into other areas to see if your concerns are valid. Is the auto insurance rate for your senior going up? Have they received any traffic tickets? Are there any new nicks or dents on the car?

If none of these issues have come up yet, now is still a great time to have a discussion. Talk to them about what their plan would be if they did stop driving in the next few months or year. Get them thinking about the idea and the alternative plans it would involve. The future is less threatening than the present.

Look for another article next week about what you can do if your senior is not willing to talk about the idea of stopping driving. And be sure to leave a comment if you have any experience with this issue!