As the baby boomers get older, there is a growing number of senior drivers on the road. With today’s busy life and ever-expanding cities, driving has become a necessity. With it, there is a growing concern from family members for their senior loved one’s driving. The ability to drive, and having a license, represents independence – so having that taken away can be devastating for anyone. It can be very difficult to begin having conversations with your parents about whether they can stay safe on the road or it may be time to give up their license. It is important to initiate the conversation and let it flow naturally. Here are a few tips to help the conversation go smoother and determine whether it is the right time to bring it up.
What to do if you are concerned about the safety of your senior loved one’s driving?
If you have friends and family members who interact with your loved one, you could have an honest conversation with them to see if they share the same concerns. This will help you better understand the potential concerns and make sure that everyone is on board. Having some issues with driving does not mean that the loved one has to stop driving. With modern technologies, such as backup warning systems and rear-view cameras, there are options available to help your loved one be a safer driver. Either way, starting a conversation about driving safety is an essential first step to start identifying the options.
What if your loved one has been advised by a doctor not to drive and still does?
Your loved one may have been advised by a medical practitioner or their family physician to stop driving. But, your loved one might not have mentioned it, and if their license has not been suspended, they may still be driving. It is important to maintain a strong relationship with your loved one to stay informed of any changes in their health and daily life. Losing a license can leave your loved one feeling anxious and alone. Your loved one knowing that they have your support will help them accept the news easier and be more compliant. Try to have an open conversation with your loved one about their driving, and encourage them to stop driving on their own for their safety and the safety of others. If they still continue to drive, you may need to talk to their medical team to figure out the next steps.
If your loved one stops driving, can they still get around?
The short answer, for most seniors, is yes. Most cities have a form of public transit which is typically accessible to people who have mobility issues or need assistance. Additionally, there are often options for community transit geared toward seniors to help them run errands or get to medical appointments. Home care is also an option as many home care companions will take your senior loved one on outings.
What to look for if you are concerned about a senior family member driving
Many of us cannot be with our parents all the time, so it may be difficult to really know whether they are having trouble with driving. The three biggest areas that may result in concerns are hearing cognitive and vision issues. Issues in these areas can affect reaction time or make them less aware of other cars and even pedestrians.
There are many people who notice these changes in themselves and may stop driving on their own because they do not feel safe behind the wheel. If your loved one has mentioned some driving concerns to you or asked for more help with taking them to appointments or picking up groceries, this could be their way of admitting they no longer feel they can drive safely. If your loved one is having a hard time with driving, sitting down and listening could open the door to an honest conversation.
Contact VERA Home Care today
Losing the ability to drive can dramatically affect a person’s independence, but home care can help preserve some of that independence by giving your loved one a companion that can help them run errands, go to appointments and help with daily tasks.
Contact VERA Home Care today to learn how we can help!